Overwatch 2 artwork showing off the new Mythic Cyber Genji skin

While it isn't planning to drastically change the core gameplay, Overwatch 2 still represents a significant departure from the original's design philosophy. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the simple fact that Overwatch 2's matches will be 5v5, with each team having access to only one super-powerful tank.

Combine this with some of the new and reworked heroes, as well as the addition of passive abilities for each of the three archetypes, and it becomes blindingly obvious that Overwatch's heroes can't be transplanted into Overwatch 2 without some major balance tweaks. Many of these potential issues have already been sorted out thanks to the two recent beta tests, but as it tradition, some have managed to slip through the cracks.

So in order to sort out these remaining problems Blizzard will be releasing a sizable update alongside Overwatch 2's launch on October 4th. You can find the full list of changes over at the Blizzard website, but for now I would like to highlight three major tweaks that will affect just about every hero:

General

- Temporary health now grants 50% reduced ultimate charge instead of zero ultimate charge

Temporary health not giving ultimate charge added a lot of hidden strength to its effect, reducing consequences for riskier decisions and playstyles. This is particularly effective in instances where you can grant temporary health to other players. For the players doling out the damage, doing significant damage but gaining no ultimate charge can be particularly frustrating and unrewarding. With this change, our goal is to preserve some of the advantages granted by temporary health while adding a reward for players who contribute to their teams through damage dealt.

- All heroes now refund up to 30% ultimate power on hero swap

Upon announcing the change for up to 30% ultimate power to transfer when swapping DPS heroes, we saw a lot of feedback asking why that wasn't a broader change for all heroes. After continued testing, we agree, and are making a change so the entire roster should have access to as we launch.

DPS Heroes

- Damage Role Passive - New Passive: Eliminations grant 25% increased reload and movement speed for 2.5 seconds. Does not stack with itself but will refresh the duration

Of course, that means the DPS role once again finds itself without a role passive. So along with this change, we're introducing a new passive to DPS that increases their movement speed and reload speed by 25% for a brief window after getting an elimination. We believe that this change is the right balance of rewarding players who perform well in the Damage role without being overpowered. However, in future seasons, we may continue to experiment with what these passives do as we look to shake up the meta regularly.

It took quite a few years for us to get here, but I'm incredibly happy that we've finally reached a point where swapping heroes doesn't just wipe away your ultimate charge! Hopefully this will encourage people to be more reactive and make it so instead of a game-wide meta we end up with a meta for each section of the map!

I'm also quite curious to see how the new reload speed buff is going to affect heroes like Ashe and Hanzo. With Ashe her abysmal reload speed is the main thing limiting her power, while Hanzo doesn't reload at all which means he might not get any real benefit from the new passive? If you're looking for a straight answer, I'm afraid I don't have one, but I suppose we'll find out soon enough as Overwatch 2 is launching in a mere two weeks.

Once the next big announcement goes live I'll make sure to let you know. Until then, it's also worth mentioning that Blizzard has detailed the abilities and lore for Kiriko, the new fox-themed support hero, as well as explained how the Battle Pass works, how new heroes will be unlocked, and what they're aiming for with post-launch updates.

Overwatch 2 screenshot of the fox themed support hero Kiriko using her kunai