The Overwatch 2 Multiplayer reveal took place on Thursday. We already have seen some Overwatch 2 multiplayer reveals over the past year, including the reveal of Sojourn, the push game mode, and role passives. During Thursday's event, game director Aaron Keller, Lead Hero Designer Geoff Goodman, and Associate Art Director Dion Rogers dropped a number of new bombshells about the huge changes we can expect in Overwatch 2's PvP modes.
Overwatch 2 will be 5v5
Overwatch 2 will feature five players on each team: two support, two dps, and one tank. According to Aaron Keller, they made this decision after extensive testing. He said that two main tanks can be oppressive to another team, and with five players it will be a little easier to carry and follow the flow of the battle for players.
"We've tried a lot of different versions of this, 4v4 format, we tried 3 DPS, 2 support, one tank format. We even, early on in development, tried a 7v7," Keller explained. "We always ran into problems with them."
If there is only one tank allowed, it cascades into a lot of questions and problems that needs answers." Explained Geoff Goodman "How does Roadhog work, when I can have Reinhardt instead. . . We have to solve a lot of problems if we go this way. That is why it is leading to a larger set of changes. It definitely cascades. Healing, you can focus on just one tank now. We are thinking, is it too good to run two main supports?"
He continued: "But this is the time to do it, this is the time to look at core things like this."
"The game will continued to evolve and shift . . . now people will look at all the roles a little differently, and that is a natural result of something like this," Keller pointed out near the end of the stream. "I get that there is strategy there and synergy between [off-tanks and main tanks], but if you are an off-tank player, you can still be a D.Va and a Zarya. When you feel what its like to play [those heroes] you will come away enjoying your experience."
Overwatch 2 will feature more aggressive "hybrid" tanks
The developers also talked about how tanks are going to be adjusted to be more aggressive in the new game. They announced this already at Blizzcon 2021, but Thursday's PvP reveal was the first time we got to see some of the changes in action.
Winston, for example, now has an alternative fire that is a condensed blast of lighting. You can charge the new alternative fire while jumping, so it's clear that Winston will be able to deal more damage in Overwatch 2. Other notable changes included Reinhardt being able to cancel his charge at will and Zayra having the added flexibility of using both bubbles on herself, or use both bubbles on a teammate if she wants. All of these changes help make the tanks more versatile and aggressive.
"We asked, do we want Roadhog's and D.Va's to be more defensive now? "Or do we want to give Reinhardt and Sigma more aggression? " The developers said on the stream. "We opted for that latter route after play testing. When the metas get too full of barriers and shields, people had comments like "it feels like I am shooting shields all the time." . . . We saw this as an opportunity to reduce a lot of these effects."
During the livestream, we saw Zarya, Reinhardt, Winston, and D.Va as solo tanks.
Overwatch 2 developers reveal new Monte Carlo payload map
The developers revealed a brand new map set in the luxurious party city of Monte Carlo. The map is colorful and highly detailed, bringing the Monte Carlo aesthetic into the near-future Overwatch universe. Here are some screenshots from the brand new map.
New York Hybrid map gameplay
We got to see the new 5v5 format in action on the brand new New York Hybrid map that will release with Overwatch 2. The New York map features a NY Fire Department cart, and takes players through the iconic stylings of New York City, including Midtown tunnel and Central Station!
The developers talked about how 5v5 affected their map design philosophy.
"When you go for a flank, you aren't leaving 5 players behind, you are leaving 4 behind." explained Keller. "the game is just as strategic as it was before, even more so since individual players can have a larger impact. In map design, we work hard to make spaces that are really good for one hero. . . if we make a space that feels good for reaper, or good for Pharah, we think the 5v5 format will work well on the original maps as well."
New sound design system
The sound system in Overwatch 2 has been upgraded. A number of characters have new sounds for their weapons, including a much more satisfying sound for the weapons of Soldier 76, Doomfist, Ashe, and more. Additionally, the sounds will play differently in different environments. The dynamic audio will actually give players more information about the location of enemies on the battlefield, so it has a strategic advantage as well as an aesthetic one.
Global movement acceleration rate reduction
"We have slowed the movement acceleration rate of everyone in the game, just very slightly," Geoff Goodman said on stream. "the reason for that was to try to create a little more prediction element to shooting and enemy. You can kind of ADAD spam and change directions so fast, its hard to lead a shot. Sometimes it felt like you are guessing a little bit on which direction they will go."
Keller said "Its very controversial from the design team, it's very back and forth from the design team. Whether or not we keep it, it speaks to the level of depth we are looking at when it comes to the systems of PvP in the game."
Push mode continues to develop
"From the outside, Push looks like a play on payload," Keller said. "But there is something about pushing this robot back and forth on the map that makes this special. I almost think of this game mode as closer to a moving control point than a match of payload. . . The mode can be really flanky, and there are a lot of heroes you can get in here and play in Push."
The Push mode was first revealed at Blizzcon 2019. The mode pits teams against one another to escort robots that can push a payload. Whoever pushes the payload farther in the back and forth battle wins the match. Push mode played out in a very different way when played in 5v5 format instead of 6v6, since a full less tank on the field makes the mode significantly more fast paced.
Role passive update
Geoff Goodman briefly discussed the status of the role passive abilities that have been previously announced for Overwatch 2.
In the current build of the game, Tanks will be less affected by knockback abilities, in a similar fashion to how Reinhardt is right now on live servers. Tanks will also generate less ult charge for enemies when they take damage, which goes with the concept of the more aggressive tanks. DPS will receive a movement speed bonus across the board. It's not massive, but it is definitely significant. Support players will get automatic health regen, like a weaker version of Mercy's passive.
Big DPS and support hero reworks coming
While the tanks are getting the most notable changes as a role, many of the DPS and support heroes will also be getting some balance changes. According to Goodman, Mei's endothermic primary attack will deal more damage in Overwatch 2, and McCree may be losing his stun pretty soon. Very few of the current testing changes are set in stone, but we can expect some major reworks for some heroes with the release of the sequel.
Goodman said that while they haven't made any changes to sniping yet, they are keeping a close eye on it since the lack of a second tank could make them too powerful.
Colosseum Push map gameplay
We got to see some gameplay on the brand new Colosseum map set in Rome. In addition to featuring beautiful visuals, the new map is exemplary of the newer map design philosophy which emphasizes more routes and choices, and has a wider open layout.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.