Overwatch 2 ditching loot boxes for battle passes – PvE coming next year

Blizzard is trading loot boxes for a traditional battle pass and in-game shop, to make acquiring cosmetics in Overwatch 2 less random.

One of the big announcements at the Xbox showcase last weekend was that Overwatch 2 will be launching on October 4 across all major platforms, albeit as an early access title.

Blizzard Entertainment has since explained a bit more about what fans can expect, namely how it will work now that it’s a free-to-play experience.

One major difference compared to the original Overwatch is that the sequel will offer seasonal battle passes, similar to other games of its ilk, which means no more loot boxes.

‘There will be no loot boxes in Overwatch 2,’ Blizzard says bluntly. ‘Instead, the modernised live service will give our players the power to shape their own experiences. Players can acquire the items they want directly through the battle pass and an all-new and consistently updated in-game shop.’

The first Overwatch’s loot box system meant it wasn’t rare to constantly unlock random cosmetics for characters you didn’t play as. Overwatch 2’s free-to-play model should hopefully mean those elusive skins for your personal favourites won’t be as hard to obtain.

The plan is to have a new season of content every nine weeks. Season One is already slated to bring more than 30 new skins, six new maps, and three new characters.

We know two of them – Sojourn and the recently revealed Junker Queen – but the third remains a mystery. Season 2 is slated for December 6 and will introduce another additional hero, map, and more skins.

‘Making Overwatch 2 free-to play is a natural step forward for our game and our players,’ reads a blog post on the official website.

‘Overwatch, even since its debut, has always been a social game, and our community has always has the most fun when we come together. Free-to-play removes the barrier to entry, allowing anyone, anywhere to jump into the game, group up with friends, or find people to play with online.’

As for Overwatch 2’s new PvE story mode, that won’t arrive until 2023. In an interview with GameSpot, director Aaron Keller explained this is being done in order to get the game and its PvP content out sooner.

‘When we initially announced Overwatch 2, we presented a vision of a PvP game that had a big PvE component to it at the same time. And as we developed that game, what it meant was that the PvP side of the game was coupled or was joined with the PvE side of the game,’ he said.

‘And so the release of any PvP content was now being gated by the amount of time it took for us to build the PvE side of the game. And as that took longer, it meant that there was less focus going into the live side of the game.

‘I feel like this went against one of the core values that the Overwatch team has always had, which is to be able to deliver content regularly for our players. I think we realized that we had to change something.’

Publisher Activision is also likely eager to have Overwatch 2 out as soon as it can, so it can get some good publicity. It has continued to face scrutiny and criticism regarding the sexual harassment lawsuit that broke last year as well as other controversies like anti-union practices.

A recent investigation states that no such harassment ever took place within the company… except Activision was the one doing the investigating.

Overwatch 2 releases on October 4 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and PC.

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