Blizzard Pulled Off One Of Gaming’s Biggest Scams, And We Let It Get Away With It

The studio overpromised aspects of Overwatch's PVE, and failed to deliver, despite charging money.

Story Highlights

  • Blizzard made huge promises regarding Overwatch 2’s PVE content.
  • After endlessly delaying it, and then charging money for it, it ended up being scrapped.
  • This makes Overwatch 2’s very existence pointless since the PVE was its biggest draw.

Let’s go back to back when Overwatch 2 was first revealed. It’s 2019, and Blizzard has just announced the sequel to their acclaimed GOTY hero shooter. The crowd of fans, who while hesitant, are still excited to see what this new chapter of Overwatch brings. Especially because this time, Overwatch is promising to delve deeper into a territory that had previously been somewhat untapped: PVE content.

Jeff Kaplan At The Overwatch 2 Showcase Panel.
Jeff Kaplan At The Overwatch 2 Showcase Panel (Source: Blizzard Entertainment).

At the showcase panel, Blizzard teases tons of exciting new PVE features. From complete story campaigns that will highlight the intricate lore of the Overwatch universe. To hero talents and abilities that will add tons of replayability to these missions. It really looks like the company is focused on providing the best possible experience for PVE fans. And this would be the next big step for the franchise.

Fast forward to today. And almost none of the features that were promised back in 2019 ever made it to the live game. Blizzard, after charging money for three measly missions, pulled the plug on the whole concept of PVE. This wouldn’t be bad by itself. But it’s made worse by the fact that development on Overwatch 1 was stopped to make way for the sequel and its PVE content.

By and large, the whole point of making a sequel in the first place was to upgrade the engine. So developers could tackle more interesting scenarios and PVE encounters. With PVE completely scrapped, all Overwatch 2 really provides is the same game. Except with more watered-down gameplay. Coupled with a terrible monetization system that makes lootbox seem more appealing. Here’s how Blizzard pulled this scam.

Overpromise, Never Deliver

While companies like FromSoftware aim to underpromise and overdeliver, Blizzard opted to simply never deliver on the promises it set for Overwatch 2. Much of this has to do with the very inclusion of PVE in the sequel. Which was meant to completely alter the face of the franchise. It was going to add tons of replayability and customizability to the game.

In a way, it would be a complete standalone experience for the game’s PVP side. With more features being added as time went on. It was a massive undertaking and one that players were definitely willing to wait. Of course, this meant that development on Overwatch 1 came to a screeching halt. But in the end, it could all be worth it. That’s if the devs’ vision for Overwatch 2 truly came to life.

Overwatch 2 Talent Trees That Never Made It To The Live Game.
Overwatch 2 Talent Trees That Never Made It To The Live Game (Source: Blizzard Entertainment).

But after the announcement, years began to pass. And the situation surrounding Blizzard, as well as the world at large, began to change. Internally, Blizzard had to deal with tons of allegations of harassment and assault emerging. This shook the company in its entirety. And even outside the company, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a lot of issues for video game companies.

Eventually, with enough time passing, Blizzard decided to rip off the bandage. It stated that it would release Overwatch 2’s PVP content as a standalone product. While PVE was not yet abandoned, it was being worked on separately. This would give the title the time and polish it needed to be perfect at launch. So, Overwatch 2 launched in October 2022, with half of the modes that were initially promised.

From Bad To Worse

At this point, players were growing increasingly skeptical about the state of Overwatch’s PVE. It was no secret that Jeff Kaplan, who was previously the director of the game and was a big supporter of player vs. environment content, had unceremoniously left Blizzard in 2021. Details regarding his leaving are still mostly a mystery, but it was bound to have an impact on the development of the PVE side of Overwatch.

Campaign being priced at $15 for 3 missions is a big slap to the face for OW1 players
byu/HantizX inOverwatch

Eventually, Blizzard finally revealed their plan for the mode. And it was far more disappointing than players had anticipated. Gone were the character talents and progressive missions that were once promised. Instead, players were given a collection of three missions to chew on, each that lasted no more than about 15 minutes. These missions were no different from the free Archives events that players got once a year back in Overwatch 1.

Except now, as with many other things in Overwatch 2, players had to pay 15 dollars to be able to access this morsel of content. Blizzard also mentioned that missions would be drip-fed to players once every couple of months, making the pace of the story’s progression painfully slow. This was met with a lot of outrage on forums, with players discussing how it goes against the vision of the mode that Blizzard showcased back in 2019.

And Then It All Died

As a final act of completing the scam, Blizzard outright pulled the plug on PVE. It’s not surprising to think that the sales for the initial set of missions must have been terrible. After all, they basically offered no content and charged money for it. So, with the main man behind PVE leaving, and no one at the current team capable or willing to invest time into it, PVE was announced as being completely scrapped in March 2024.

The only problem was that since PVE was one of the defining features of Overwatch 2, what you’re left with now is just a husk of the former game. Blizzard has constantly been putting out fires, and reverting the title back to how it used to be in Overwatch 1. But the one thing that has remained consistent is the more predatory monetization practices that were implemented in it, which honestly make it feel like that was the main goal of the sequel.

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Danish is an opinion piece writer at eXputer who loves sharing his takes on the industry. He is a long-time PC gamer with a passion for delving into the discussion and discourse surrounding the titles that he plays. Often eager to jump right into the fold and formulate his take on the latest topics, his noteworthy presence on gaming forums, and keen insight help him understand the gaming community in a thorough manner. This helps him provide a more nuanced look into any topic or discussion.

Writes Opinion Pieces at eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Mass Communication.

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