It’s been almost a year since Blizzard first unveiled Overwatch 2, and it appears unlikely we’ll hear anything further about the game before Blizzon’s digital event in early 2021, and certainly not a release date.
Nonetheless, it’s pretty evident that Blizzard is holding out for the release of next generation consoles in the PS5 and Xbox Series X, and while the game will have a definitive home on PC as lead platform, there’s no denying the franchise’s popularity on console. Even today, some four years since release, it takes mere seconds before you can find a match on Xbox One (although Arcade matches can take a little longer).
While we find new ways to enjoy Overwatch, we can also fantasise and chat about Overwatch 2, a game that stands to expand and evolve the core experience, namely through the added campaign and PvE modes.
With that said, let’s take a look at some hopes and dreams I have for Overwatch 2.
Early 2021 Release date
As much as I still thoroughly enjoy playing Overwatch, I’m not sure I can really handle another round of Lucioball. We’ve had the same annual events for year’s running now, and whilst they’re a new, refreshing twist on core Overwatch offerings, a lot of it feels redundant given Custom Game modes and the Workshop let you create most of these experiences yourself anyway.
The PS5 and Xbox Series X are both set to launch later this year, and it would make sense for Overwatch 2 to launch in early 2021 just as both consoles are starting to pick up steam.
It would also come on the five-year anniversary of Overwatch, and also a time of year that historically isn’t that busy. So we’d at least have something new and fresh to play on our new consoles.
It’s reached a point now where Blizzard absolutely must consider cross-play for consoles. Overwatch on PC wouldn’t be compatible with console given the clear advantage to PC players — this is especially evident in Call of Duty cross-play — but including the option would allow friends across platforms to engage in Custom and Arcade shenanigans.
Console and PC cross-play could perhaps be banned across Quick Play and Competitive, but all bets would be off for Arcade, Workshop and Custom.
This seems like an absolute given but is something a lot of developers simply skim over. It may be due to logistical and infrastructure challenges but it’s still something I feel Blizzard should consider.
As an example, if I unlock something on my console account, I should have the same content on any other platform I play on, provided I’ve linked it all via my Blizzard account.
Additionally, there should be some sort of cross-generation connectivity here: allowing players to bring over their potentially hundreds of skins, sprays and voicelines from Overwatch to Overwatch 2 would be very awesome.
Pretty much every major multiplayer game hosts live events of some sort. It’s rather astonishing that this new trend has been ignored at Overwatch HQ. That said, it’s something that absolutely must be included in Overwatch 2.
I’d look at hosting special story-based events, celebrity concerts and streams, and maybe even single-day events to celebrate particular real-day events (say, July 4th weekend).
I’d like to see it tie into the inevitable story-based inclusions in Overwatch 2, and hopefully it’s something Blizzard incorporates into the broader experience.
Jeff Kaplan said earlier this month on the Overwatch forums that “more player agency” was being considered for Overwatch 2. They absolutely must continue down this path. It would at least allow the lobby to dictate which modes and maps are played.
The proposed map veto system would obviously dictate game mode, given maps are tied to specific types of mode (Paris with 2CP, or Nepal with Control, for example). There’s an element of uncertainty prior to joining a lobby, and there’s the occasional sense of dread when the load screen brings up “Now entering, Horizon Lunar Colony” (*shudder*). At least players and the lobby could vote on preferred maps, which could afford Blizzard an endless amount of useful data: based on which maps/modes are voted for, this could in turn dictate matchmaking preferences, therefore minimising the need for lobby voting in future with improved accuracy for player preferred maps.
Logical hero caps
I don’t even know where to start with this but the current caps, bans and the like seem dictated by the pro scene, and often seem completely out of touch with the reality of the general game playing public.
The current meta for example has nerfed shields to oblivion, completely eradicating any sensible sort of tank-driven meta, morphing the game into a weird sort of first-person shooter RPG. Or something. Roadhog is dominating, most Support heroes are useless aside from a select few, and shielded heroes are useful for about two seconds before their shields are shredded from a distance by a sporadic Roadhog spray.
The better option here instead of totalling ruining the likes of Orisa, Sigma, Rein, and Brig would be to limit the number of shield-based heroes in each lobby. That’s it.
It seems logical, right? But it’s not always that simple. Hero bans tend to fixate on DPS heroes, whilst the game tends to balance the game and prioritise on those heroes anyway. There’s an unbalanced prioritisation there that just seems … off.
Open loot boxes in bulk
I won’t elaborate on this much. But seriously, I don’t open up a lootbox as soon as I get it. I’ve now reached 200+ and it’s going to take me a decade to unlock them all. I shouldn’t have to dive into the game’s files to open them all up for me.
Please, for the love of God, add a bulk open option. No one cares about the animations. Yes, I know, the animations and sensation of the “wait” feeds into the need for more, thus pushing people to spend more money, but for those of us that have invested so much over so long anyway, I think we can do with a little added efficiency to improve the experience.
Improved focus on Workshop and Community
I didn’t think the Workshop would take off as much as it has but boy is this a fantastic addition. The Custom Game section is just pure insanity at the moment, but I find myself diving into a match of DVa Egg or McCree 1 Shot more than than I do Competitive.
With that said, more focus on Workshop creations would go a long way to encouraging this feature even more. It’s fairly well hidden in Custom Game modes, and really good creations don’t get the recognition they deserve in-game, especially on console without a client to highlight those creations.
There’s a community here crying out to be celebrated. Overwatch 2 can really put those creative juices front and centre.
Invite-only Experimental Mode
Much like Halo‘s insider program, in which planned betas and the like are scheduled relative to the Insider’s time zone and preferences, an Experimental Mode that actually focuses on an engaged section of the community would be far more useful than the current offering.
On console, you have to wait upwards of 10+ minutes to find a match across any of the heroes. Wouldn’t it make more sense to actually create designated sessions for select members of the Overwatch community? That way, I know when I can login to play and check out new experiments, without risking my entire evening in the process.
I also think the development team would stand to get more out of it. Currently, you have people playing Experimental Mode just for the sake of it, without really understand or comprehending why it exists in the first place. I’ve entered lobbies where not a single player is actually EXPERIMENTING with the heroes for which the mode was opened for in the first place. Just yesterday I fell into a match and not one person had selected Moira, despite recent changes. What’s the point?
Wait times across all modes
As a Tank and Support main this is less an issue for me, because I know I’m going to be waiting around 30 seconds for a match anyway, across game modes. But for DPS mains, wait time is obviously important as it sets a realistic expectation.
Additionally, I love playing Total Mayhem when it pops into the Arcade Mode, but wait times can vary drastically. Sometimes during the day, I’ll find a match almost immediately. Other times, I could find myself playing a full DVa Egg match, a whole 30+ minutes. At night it’s typically a lot quicker, but still, there is an element of uncertainty that turns me off a bit. A rough estimate would at least help in setting an expectation.
What improvements, additions and features would you like to see in Overwatch 2? Sound off in the comments below!