Skip to main content

Overwatch 2’s new heroes won’t be free

Overwatch 2’s new heroes won’t be free


New tweets suggest you’ll have to earn them via play or pay

Share this story

Promotional image from Overwatch 2 featuring heroes Sojourn, Brigitte, and Zenyatta in action poses.
New information suggests Overwatch 2 heroes will be gated behind battle pass progression.
Image: Blizzard Entertainment

When Overwatch 2 launches on October 4th, fans might have to get on the grind wheel to unlock the newest heroes. A tweet from Jon Spector, Overwatch’s commercial lead, indicates new heroes will be gated behind battle pass progression, saying that “new Overwatch 2 heroes will be available on the free track of the Battle Pass.”

Spector’s tweet appears to reference a description of Overwatch 2’s Watchpoint Pack, a purchasable content bundle that grants buyers all kinds of goodies, including skins, in-game currency, and access to the season 1 premium battle pass.

The description, posted on the Competitive Overwatch subreddit, states that premium battle pass users get access to Overwatch 2’s newest hero Kiriko. (In a one-two punch of unintentional information leaks, the latest support hero was teased in earlier Overwatch 2 promos, but details were never confirmed before her name leaked not only here but also by accident from a streamer.)

The Watchpoint Pack’s description was later changed, removing the reference to Kiriko and how she could be obtained through the premium battle pass. Though the sentence is gone, Spector’s tweet seems to confirm that new heroes will indeed be locked behind battle pass progression — but on the free track and not the paid one.

Since Overwatch’s launch in 2016, new heroes were free and immediately available. As sequels are wont to do, Overwatch 2 is implementing a lot of changes to the game — specifically, switching from a boxed retail model to a free-to-play model. As Spector’s tweet circulated, fans pointed out that gating heroes behind battle pass progression is a standard feature for other free-to-play games like Apex Legends and Valorant.

However, fans on the other side of the aisle pointed out that, unlike Apex or Valorant, in Overwatch, players are free to switch heroes midmatch and often do so to pick characters that counter the opposition’s heroes and composition. As Overwatch is now, new heroes are often considerably more powerful (i.e., busted) and therefore dominate all levels of play, especially at the highest competitive tiers. It’s a bit like rock, paper, scissors. When the support hero Brigitte was added, she was the rock to Tracer’s scissors. In the Overwatch League and on the competitive ladder, if your team did not field Brigitte, your team had a poor chance of winning. Therefore, not being able to play a new hero because you haven’t unlocked them presents a considerable disadvantage to competitive players.

Dante “Danteh” Cruz, a player on the Overwatch League team Houston Outlaws, commented on Spector’s tweet, saying that while he understands such a feature is common in free-to-play games, with the way new heroes dominate the higher tiers of competitive Overwatch, “you’re just at a huge disadvantage if you don’t play them.”

Though the concerns of Cruz and others about competitive viability are valid, they represent a fraction of the player base. Matches in quick play are gonna see folks play attack Torbjörn, Wrecking Ball, and Symmetra, unconcerned for the woes of those in the Platinum to Grandmaster ranks.

There’s been no official communication from Blizzard confirming or denying how new heroes will work in Overwatch 2. As Spector’s tweets remain up, it seems at the least like a soft confirmation that hero unlocks will in some way be tied to the battle pass. There will be more information in the lead-up to Overwatch 2’s launch on consoles and PC on October 4th.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 25 Not just you

Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.

Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.

External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.

A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.