Brand new players won’t immediately be able to play as classic heroes when Overwatch 2 releases in early access on October 4. According to a new blog post on their official Overwatch website, Blizzard has announced that first-time players will have to unlock the old characters one by one. After approximately 100 matches, the entire original roster should be available.
First Time User Experience
This is part of what Blizzard has termed the “First time user experience”, or “FTUE” for short. It serves as an introduction to the world of Overwatch for those who are unfamiliar with it, and has been put in place to prevent players from feeling overwhelmed. It is specifically designed for players who join post-launch.
FTUE works by limiting the number of game modes and heroes a new player can access, as well as a handful of other restrictions. New players will rapidly unlock all available game modes after playing a few matches and getting to grips how the game works. They will then be able to unlock the old heroes through continued play. Similarly, Competitive mode will be locked until players have completed 50 Quick Play matches. In theory, this gives players the chance to practise and prepare, as well as allow behind-the-scenes matchmaking to more accurately analyse skill levels.
As each Overwatch hero is unique, with bespoke movesets and abilities to learn, this move could certainly turn out to be a smart one on Blizzard’s part. It should give inexperienced players a clear and structured way into game they might otherwise write off as too complex or too much of a timesink.
Existing players will have access to the characters and modes they love instantly. And for those who cannot wait to try out everything Overwatch 2 has to offer right off the bat, playing as a group with friends will grant players access to all modes and heroes, as long as they remain in a group.
While this news might come as a disappointment to some fans who want everything unlocked right out the gate, others don’t see it as too big of a deal. Posters on Reddit have come to the consensus that 100 games aren’t all that many to play to unlock the entirety of Overwatch’s expansive roster, with roughly one hero unlocked for every 3 or 4 games. While others agree that it feels like a competent take on a tutorial mode for an online shooter.
Similarly, all players (both new and old) will have to grind to unlock the new heroes that will only be available in Overwatch 2. This will all be done through a new Battle Pass system, with the first new Support hero, Kiriko, having already been announced. This again has drawn some ire from fans, but Blizzard has promised that no heroes will be locked behind a pay-wall.
Whichever side of the fence you land on, it certainly seems like Blizzard is doing everything it can to get new players on board and ensure they stick around for the long haul.
#Overwatch2 is almost here. 🎉 ️
Prepare yourselves for the action-packed, free-to-play experience launching October 4! pic.twitter.com/eK1On4ZsiZ
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) September 27, 2022
Overwatch 2 will be free-to-play when it launches on October 4.