Blizzard’s Overwatch 2 has introduced some significant updates to their previous title. From removing the much-hated two-tank meta to abolishing crowd CCs, a lot has changed in the 2022 refresh. However, this begs the question, with the game now being free to play, is Overwatch 2 also pay to win?
Yes, Overwatch 2 is slightly pay-to-win. While spending money doesn’t pose an inherent advantage in the core gameplay, you will need to grind quite a fair bit to be able to unlock heroes. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay for them instead. So, since the game is heavily pick-dependent, the game can be considered pay-to-win but to a very low degree.
In this article, we will discuss whether Overwatch 2 is pay-to-win. And what monetization methods Blizzard uses instead to compensate for their revenue loss.
Switching To Free To Play
Let’s face it; Overwatch 1 wasn’t doing well in terms of its reception. The game was priced at 35$, which simply wasn’t worth it given the state of the servers and overall player retention. So, Overwatch 2, to the surprise of many, switched to a free-to-play model for its PvP game modes, with a paid PvE model incoming soon.
So, now that the game’s free to play, how is Blizzard coping with their losses?
The “Slightly” Pay To Win Model
Overwatch 2 players will need to unlock heroes or purchase them to play them. If you are migrating your account from Overwatch 1, you’ll have all your older heroes (alongside their skins) unlocked.
However, if you are a newer player or want to play a newly released hero like Kiriko, you’ll have to either grind through the Battle Pass or purchase the hero outright. According to Blizzard, some heroes will be released as part of the Battle Pass, while others will be purchasable.
Unlocking Previous Heroes
To unlock previous heroes, you’ll need to play a set of matches if you aren’t an OG Overwatch player. You’ll need to play a total of 150 matches to unlock all of the previous heroes in the game. This is completely free, and no purchase is necessary. So, before you play Ranked, we at least recommend grinding through the initial 150 matches, so you are able to have some level of counterplay.
While Blizzard hasn’t really been clear on their motives behind newer heroes that aren’t a part of the Battle Pass but are still new such as Junker Queen and Sojourn, it’d be quite convenient to assume they’ll be a part of the Overwatch Store.
Just like League of Legends, you should be able to either unlock these heroes through premium currency much faster or use free currency instead to be able to unlock them at a slower pace. In any case, some level of grind will be involved in unlocking these heroes.
Seasonal Battle Pass
The Seasonal Battle Pass seems to be introducing one hero every season. The first season brings us Kiriko, a hero that’s either unlocked by grinding to level 55 of the Battle Pass or instantly if you purchase the Premium Battle Pass for 10$. Besides Kiriko, you also get additional cosmetics and rewards for your troubles.
Verdict: Is Overwatch 2 Pay To Win?
Yes, Overwatch 2 is pay to win until you unlock all the heroes or purchase them. You see, in ranked play, counterplay is extremely important. You can’t expect to be winning matches if you are stuck playing the same hero. For instance, there may be some matches where playing Widowmaker might be the winning play (get that headshot, baby!) And, you not having access to that hero can be game-losing.
But, while the pay to win element does indeed exist, it is only visible for the first 100-200 hours of your game. As soon as you unlock all the heroes and are up-to-speed, there is no difference between a player who has paid for the game and one who hasn’t. So, essentially, it’d be dishonest for us to pit the game into the same category as Genshin Impact or Clash of Clans.
So, yes, paying does give you an inherent early-comer’s advantage. But it quickly dies down as soon as you get about 200-300 hours into the game. Otherwise, you can always pay up and get all your heroes unlocked quickly.