Blizzard explains how Overwatch 2 battle pass hero unlocks will work

Overwatch 2 battle pass kiriko

Overwatch players get the first one free

Blizzard is stepping in to clarify exactly how battle pass unlocks will work for the heroes of Overwatch 2.

After leaks of its model for the upcoming free-to-play multiplayer evolution of Overwatch got out, the studio is now detailing exactly how players will unlock heroes in the new game.

Overwatch 2 heads into free-to-play multiplayer on October 4. And as the game shifts into a seasonal content model, hero unlocks will also be part of the Battle Pass.

Loot boxes are going away, being replaced by an in-game shop and a virtual currency, Overwatch Coins. The shop will offer “featured cosmetic items every week” for all players. Season one will follow a cyberpunk theme, and other seasons will have their own themes as well.

Access to the Battle Pass will be free for everyone. And like other seasonal pass models, Overwatch 2 will offer a premium track as well.

Heroes will debut in new seasons, as part of the Battle Pass, starting in Season 1 with newcomer support Kiriko. In general, heroes will debut at Tier 55 of the 80-tier Battle Pass for free users. Premium Pass purchasers, meanwhile, unlock that season’s hero immediately upon purchase. The premium pass will go for $10, or 1000 Overwatch Coins.

In the case of Kiriko, specifically, Overwatch 1 owners will get access to her automatically, as Blizzard is giving a free premium pass for Season 1 to Overwatch 1 owners. A new hero will arrive in Season 2, and after that, Blizzard plans to launch a new hero in Season 4 and Season 6.

There will be ways to earn heroes introduced in earlier seasons, if players miss the season they’re included in or don’t reach the level they need. Special challenges will be made available, or they can be directly purchased from the shop with Overwatch Coins.

A new design focus

In the Blizzard blog shared today detailing all these changes, the studio says that with the launch of Overwatch 2 and 5-on-5 multiplayer, the team is shifting its hero design approach. Specifically, it’s looking to reduce the presence of specific hard counters.

Using Cassidy and Tracer as an example, a core part of Overwatch has often been hero match-ups and, sometimes, the need to swap depending on what the other team is running. That’s changing with Overwatch 2.

“While Overwatch 2 heroes will each have their own clear strengths and weaknesses, and some heroes will be more effective against others, we believe our game plays better and is more fun with fewer hard counters and a broader range of effective hero picks. A further benefit is having your personal favorite heroes be viable more often. That philosophy will be guiding us moving forward.”

Blizzard says it believes launching heroes through the battle pass system is fair to its players due to this shift, alongside the goal of supporting Overwatch 2 service as a live service.

New maps are also in the pipeline of Overwatch 2, and will be available to everyone. A new mode is also planned for sometime later in 2023.

Eric Van Allen