Ever since the launch of Overwatch 2, Blizzard has been in a constant battle with its own community to justify why Overwatch was ever given a sequel in the first place. To the average player, the two games looked almost indistinguishable at first glance. And even when you look under the hood, it didn’t make sense why the changes that were made to the game couldn’t have simply been ported back to the original game.
To make matters worse, the big feature that was claimed to have been the reason behind the sequel – the PVE campaign – got canceled. While Blizzard does still provide the occasional set of paid PVE missions, the epic campaigns with their own built-in progression and character leveling trees have entirely been scrapped. That already served as a huge blow to Overwatch 2.
But now, it looks like what little changes Blizzard made to help Overwatch 2 stand out from its predecessor, are being reverted. Mostly because these changes were done arbitrarily, and have not been a hit with the community. In fact, some folks are even praising the devs for listening, when all they’re really doing is hitting the undo button on a sequel no one asked for. Here’s what you need to know.
Where There’s Fire There’s Smoke
A much-loved system in the original Overwatch was its “On Fire system”. Essentially, if you were performing really well during a match, your character would have a glowing blue fire around their portrait. This would usually be accompanied by a voice line of the character stating they’re doing really well. While this didn’t really impact your gameplay, it was a good way for the game to acknowledge when you’re playing like a pro.
Of course, when Overwatch 2 rolled around, Blizzard removed this system in its entirety. No fire, no feedback, no nothing. And why exactly did the devs do this? Well, according to Blizzard, the new scoreboard gives you enough performance-related data, which makes the fire system a bit unnecessary. Fans didn’t appreciate this, though. And many called out for the system to be brought back to the sequel.
After enough fans talked about it, Blizzard finally caved and re-added the On Fire System to Overwatch 2. However, the developers completely broke it when it got added back. Now, just merely existing on a map managed to get you burning. While a developer eventually confirmed that this was because of a bug, fans still didn’t take too kindly to it.
That said, they did eventually fix this bug. But Blizzard praising it as some big feature when all they did was re-add something they needlessly took away, hasn’t sat well with the Overwatch fanbase. One fan even rightly called them out on it:
Are they so desperate for players that they’re haphazardly re-implimenting features that never should have been removed in the first place? It’s one thing to walk back a stupid decision, but it’s a whole another thing to end up butchering a mechanic beyond human comprehension when it used to be intuitive without even knowing anything about it.”
Competitively Messing Up
Among the changes made to Overwatch 2 was how the competitive mode worked in the game. Previously, players were given a set amount of SR for winning or losing a game. This meant that you would always know exactly how much your Competitive Rating has changed after a match. Blizzard devs, in their infinite wisdom, decided to change this system.
And in OW2, they made it so, you didn’t have your rank revealed to you. That was until you either won 5 games or lost 15 of them. The goal behind this was simple. The developers didn’t want players suffering from performance anxiety after every game. And essentially being forced to see their SR go down, after coming out of a loss, which already feels pretty frustrating.
But that’s the point of a competitive game. The lows define the highs. And feeling like you’ve lost your rating might just push players to play better in the next match and earn it back. But that’s not all. Most players felt like the new system simply took away too much of the transparency. Some folks would complete the 5-win or 15-loss requirement. Only to find out their rating hasn’t budged at all.
If your goal is to rank up, that can really make you feel like you’ve wasted your time trying to play. As a result, when Overwatch 2 launched, there was a significant outcry from fans. Many of them wanted to see the new system get changed or outright reverted. Blizzard likely hesitated, as it’d be yet another rework of theirs that utterly failed.
But recently at Blizzcon, it seems they’ve finally admitted that like most of their other decisions, this too, blew up in their face. They’re now planning to bring back the Overwatch 1 system. Which basically tells you your progress with each win and loss. While some adjustments are being made to it, it’s still fundamentally the same experience that they changed for no reason.
Again, fans can’t help but notice that with every single update, Overwatch 2 is losing more and more reason to be called a sequel. Not only did the devs fail to deliver on the promised big features, but what little changes they made to the game aren’t even sticking to it anymore. It’s tough to see OW 2 being anything more than a marketing gimmick and a cash grab.
No Phone, No Overwatch 2
Another ill-advised decision Blizzard implemented while releasing Overwatch 2 was locking it behind a phone number requirement. Unless folks verified they had a proper number, they couldn’t even play the sequel. This, was, of course, met with widespread backlash for a number of reasons. The most notable of which was that Blizzard didn’t reveal this until after some fans had already bought the Watchpoint Pack pre-purchase.
On paper, it was meant to reduce bots and smurfing. But the problem is that it created a ton of issues, with some phone numbers not being accepted by Blizzard’s system. Some players, who made their accounts in other countries, were unable to register their numbers because the country codes didn’t match. Players also didn’t like having this changed suddenly be brought up, without being informed of it prior to pre-purchasing.
However, again, as with all the other changes listed here, it was eventually reverted. It’s pretty clear that Blizzard has failed to make any substantial changes to OW 2. And even in the places they have tried, they’ve been met with backlash and have had to revert back to the game’s original state. It goes to show the level of competence and understanding of the playerbase that the current team has got.
Going Back Is Unironically A Good Choice
The sad part in all this is that even with these reverts, the game isn’t much better off than it was in Overwatch 1. By far, the biggest change made to the game in the sequel was its monetization. Going from the lootboxes to the battle pass and daily shop model has allowed Blizzard to pump tons more skins at ridiculous prices. The end result is simply that the game is making more money. Even if it’s worse than how it used to be.
Even the big changes made to the gameplay, like the 5v5 team compositions, have led to some controversy among fans. Players miss the synergy between tanks. And generally, the role is just as unpopular today as it was back in Overwatch 1. So it doesn’t quite make sense why Blizzard decided to remove the role of the second Tank in teams. If anything, the solo Tanker is now under more stress than ever before.
Similarly, the new mode, Push, isn’t exactly loved by fans either. Most people find it to be overly drawn-out and boring. Sure, the 2CP maps Push replaced weren’t exactly beloved. But it’s clear Blizzard didn’t do fans any favors by adding this mode instead. Overall, it seems like they’ve missed the mark countless times, and will likely continue to do so in the future.
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