Want to dive into Blizzard‘s hit team-based shooter sequel Overwatch 2 completely free on your gaming PC? This guide will walk you through everything you need to know as a new player getting started with Overwatch 2. Follow these steps and you‘ll be pulling off clutch plays on your PC in no time!
What is Overwatch 2?
For those unfamiliar, Overwatch 2 is the free-to-play sequel to 2016‘s popular Overwatch. It takes the formula of hero-based 5v5 competitive multiplayer and revamps it with new heroes, maps, modes and a shift to free-to-play.
According to gaming industry veteran Will Decker, Overwatch 2 builds on what made the original special – strategic hero switching mid-match creates dynamic team-based combat. The sequel aims to expand the Overwatch universe for years to come as a live service multiplayer experience.
Overwatch 2 launches on October 4th, 2022 as a free download on PC and across Xbox and PlayStation consoles with full cross-play and progression sharing. This means you and your friends can squad up together regardless of platform.
Now let‘s get into how you can start playing Overwatch 2 on PC!
Step 1: Download Battle.net and Create an Account
Since Overwatch 2 is published by Blizzard Entertainment, you will need the Battle.net desktop app to install and play it on PC.
First, head over to the Battle.net website and download the desktop app for either Windows or Mac. The download and installation process only takes a couple minutes.
Once Battle.net is installed, open it up and create a free Blizzard account if you don‘t already have one. You can log-in using an existing Facebook, Google, Apple ID or create brand new Blizzard credentials.
Step 2: Install Overwatch 2 Through Battle.net
With Battle.net open, you should see the Overwatch 2 logo and game page right on the front page. If not, browse the catalog or use search to find it.
Click the Overwatch 2 icon and hit "Install" on the game page, as shown below:
The install size is between 30-50GB so make sure you have enough free disk space! The download speed will vary based on your internet connection.
Once finished, Overwatch 2 will appear in your Battle.net games library ready to play. Launch it any time directly through the app. Easy!
Step 3: Check Your PC Meets Minimum Requirements
Before jumping into matches, you‘ll want to make sure your PC meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for a smooth Overwatch 2 experience:
- OS: Windows 10 64-bit
- CPU: Intel Core i3 or AMD Phenom X3 8650
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 series or AMD Radeon HD 7000 series
- RAM: 6GB
- Storage: 50GB available space
If your PC has a Core i3 processor, GTX 600 series graphics card, and 6GB RAM, you should be able to run the game. Having an SSD is also recommended for faster loading.
For the best performance at 1080p resolution, aim for at least a GTX 1060 or RX 5500 XT graphics card. This will allow you to play on high settings at 60+ fps.
Don‘t meet the requirements? Consider upgrading your PC or lowering graphics settings. Otherwise, console is a great alternative!
Step 4: Get Your Game Settings Dialed In
Once in the game, head into the settings menu to tweak things for the optimal experience.
Here are some key settings to adjust:
Resolution – Match this to your monitor‘s native res like 1920×1080.
Graphics Quality – Start on Medium or High and adjust as needed.
Render Scale – 100% is standard. Lower to reduce workload on weaker GPUs.
Display Mode – Choose Fullscreen or Borderless Windowed.
Field of View – Increase for a wider perspective. Try values between 90-110.
Take a few minutes to fine tune these and other visual settings until you‘re satisfied with the framerate and visual fidelity.
Competitive esports players will want to disable Vertical Sync and aim for the highest framerates possible on a high refresh rate monitor. But for most, focusing on smooth stable gameplay is ideal.
Step 5: Get Comfortable with Key Bindings
One often overlooked area for new players is getting the keyboard and mouse controls configured comfortably.
Take time to browse the Controls section and rebind any abilities or actions you want to different keys. Popular choices include:
- Movement keys like WASD or ESDF
- Mouse thumb buttons for abilities
- Easily reachable keys like Shift/E/Q for common actions
There are no "best" keybinds, only what feels best for your personal style, hands and gear. So don‘t be afraid to experiment and customize!
For those with gaming mice, binding weapons fire or secondary abilities to thumb buttons can be very intuitive. This allows your left hand to focus on movement and primary skills.
Step 6: Pick Your First Heroes & Get Playing!
With everything set up, it‘s time to pick some heroes and start your journey in Overwatch 2!
When first starting out, I recommend trying these effective and straightforward heroes in each role:
- Soldier: 76 – Versatile rifleman with self-healing
- Reaper – Short range brawler with life steal
- Reinhardt – Strong melee tank with a giant shield
- Roadhog – Bruising tank with a hook to pick off enemies
- Mercy – Beginner-friendly healer that can fly to allies
- Lucio – Focused on speed and AoE healing auras
Playing Medic or Engineer classes in other FPS games? Then try out Mercy or Symmetra.
Feel out each hero‘s skills in the Practice Range first before hopping into matches. As the old adage goes – walk before you run.
Once ready, jump into Quick Play matches to get familiar with real teamwork dynamics. Stay with your group, play objectives, and focus on learning above all else.
Overwatch is easy to pick up, but takes serious time to master. Have fun and don‘t get discouraged! There‘s always room for improvement and that‘s part of the journey.
That covers the basics of getting into Overwatch 2 on PC as a total beginner. Next let‘s get into more tips for excelling as a new player.
7 Tips for Overwatch 2 Beginners from a FPS Veteran
As someone who‘s played shooters for decades, here are 7 tips I have for fast-tracking your skills as an Overwatch newcomer:
1. Find a main role, then 2-3 main heroes. Resist the urge to play a different hero every match. Sticking to a couple in your preferred role is best for quickly improving.
2. Focus on staying alive. Don‘t take unnecessary risks and get picked off alone. Stick with teammates and use cover to avoid damage when possible.
3. Use your ultimate at key moments. Big ultimates like Genji‘s Dragonblade win teamfights. Don‘t waste them! Communicate with your team and combo ults together.
4. Remain positive and never toxic. Having a growth mindset and not tilting in the face of mistakes or toxicity is essential for continuous improvement. Stay cool.
5. Watch kill cam replays. Viewing how the enemy defeated you gives valuable intel to learn from. Don‘t look away or skip kill cams!
6. Review your deaths. After each death, think how you could have played it better. Avoid auto-piloting. Apply lessons to future lives.
7. Change heroes to counter enemies. If an enemy Pharah is dominating your team as Soldier 76, consider switching to a hitscan like Widowmaker.
Stick to these tips consistently and you‘ll be in the top 10% of new players in no time!
Overwatch 2 Game Modes Explained
Once you‘ve gotten the basics down and are feeling comfortable with a few heroes, it‘s time to jump into Overwatch 2‘s various multiplayer game modes:
This popular casual mode places you into matches without any skill-based matchmaking factored in. It‘s the fastest way to simply play Overwatch just for fun.
The more you win, the better your hidden Quick Play MMR rating becomes for closer matches. But losses don‘t really matter here. It‘s all about practicing heroes, maps and glimpsing teamwork dynamics.
I recommend playing quite a bit of Quick Play as a newer player to hone skills before touching Competitive.
Competitive mode is Overwatch 2‘s ranked ladder with seasonal placements and skill-based ratings. This is for players who want serious matches where performance matters.
Rather than hidden MMR, you have a visible Skill Rating (SR) that increases or decreases with each win or loss based on various factors. At the end of each season, unlocks exclusive competitive rewards.
I‘d advise having at least 100 hours in Quick Play under your belt before trying Competitive. Learn heroes, maps and teamplay fundamentals first so you can excel.
If you need a change of pace from Quick Play and Competitive, check out the Arcade. These are casual modes with fun rule modifiers like "Mystery Heroes" where your hero automatically changes on each death.
Arcade is purely for entertainment and blowing off steam in less serious ways. Though you can complete weekly challenges here too for bonus XP.
Want to create custom Overwatch modes with wacky rules like low gravity, 500% damage or hide and seek? That‘s what Custom Games are for!
Set variables like max health, damage dealt, cooldowns, and other aspects to design your own Overwatch variants to play privately with friends or make public.
Create everything from Overwatch racing modes to insane 10v10 team battles with 5 Winstons per side. The possibilities are endless to goof off.
Getting Into Competitive Overwatch on PC
Once you‘ve built up skill and game sense after extensive Quick Play, it‘s time to dive into the competitive ranked side of Overwatch 2.
Here are my top tips for excelling in competitive play as a PC player:
Use voice chat – Effective comms are almost mandatory for coordination in ranked. Don‘t be shy, make essential callouts!
Group up – Solo queue can be rough. Duo or triple queueing gives better chances through teamwork.
Limit hero pool – Have 2-4 heroes per role you feel extremely confident on. Avoid trying to "flex" too much.
Analyze losses – Review your deaths and teamfights gone wrong. Focus on improving decision making above mechanics.
Watch top players – Study how high SR players position, combo abilities and push objectives on streams.
Take breaks – Don‘t go on autopilot grind sessions for hours. Stay mentally sharp by taking regular short breaks.
Keep positive – Brush off toxicity or harassment from rude players. It‘s sadly inevitable but your mindset is key.
Review settings – Ensure your PC‘s FPS, mouse DPI/sensitivity, keybinds etc are still optimal as you elevate your play.
Reaching Grandmaster or Top 500 is insanely difficult and takes hundreds if not thousands of hours. But if you stick to the above tips, hitting Platinum or Diamond rank is very achievable.
Is Overwatch 2 Worth Playing in 2022?
Overwatch 2 enters a competitive landscape in 2022. Popular free FPS titles like Valorant, CS:GO, Apex Legends and Call of Duty compete for players‘ time. So is Overwatch 2 worth jumping into as a new player right now?
In my opinion, yes absolutely:
Diverse Hero Roster – With 35+ distinctly unique heroes that enable team composition creativity, no FPS compares to Overwatch‘s diversity.
High Skill Ceiling – Mastery over hero mechanics, game sense and teamplay dynamics provides endless room for competitive growth.
Engaging Abilities – The sheer variety and impact of hero abilities creates skill expression well beyond just precise aiming and shooting.
Fun Factor – Despite toxicity in high ranks, Overwatch delivers satisfying teamfights and "Battlefield moments" that few shooters can match when everything clicks.
Active Development – Blizzard is investing heavily into Overwatch 2 as an evolving live service game with frequent new seasons, heroes, maps and modes.
Lower Specs – Can run well on a wide range of PCs versus demanding shooters like Valorant or CoD. Accessibility matters.
If you enjoy expressive hero shooters, crave high skill team-based gameplay, and want a competitive vector to improve at, Overwatch 2 absolutely delivers a compelling experience.
And now with the shift to free-to-play, it‘s easier than ever to give it try and see if the colorful world, heroes and gameplay click with you.
There will always be toxicity found in any team-based competitive game, as well as criticisms about balance. But in my decades of FPS experience, nothing has captured my imagination quite like Overwatch. It‘s truly one of a kind.
Is Overwatch 2 Pay to Win? Breakdown of Monetization
Let‘s break down how Overwatch 2 is monetized now with the shift to free-to-play. This is a common concern for new players – will they have to spend money to compete?
The short answer is no: the core Overwatch 2 experience and all gameplay affecting content is completely free. No purchases grant any damage, health or power advantages.
There are two optional paid elements:
Overwatch 2 Battle Pass
Paid Premium track grants cosmetics only by playing
Free track available to all players
Heroes instantly unlocked on free track
- Rotate cosmetic skins, sprays, emotes for purchase
- Purely visual customization
Every map, every mode, and every current and future hero is free. The optional Battle Pass and shop offer ways to acquire cosmetic items faster for those who wish to customize more.
But spending money gives zero in-game advantages. Skill, teamwork and mastery over heroes‘ base kits determines victory – not skins.
Diablo Immortal‘s pay-to-win monetization caused justifiable backlash. Overwatch 2 rightly avoids any pay-for-power systems. You can compete at the absolute highest tiers without spending a dime.
That covers everything you need to get started fragging in Overwatch 2 on PC today. Download it for free, get your settings dialed in, pick some beginner heroes, and start having fun in Quick Play!
Once you feel comfortable with the basics, consider dipping your toes into the competitive waters. Analyze your losses, fine tune your skills and game sense, and see how high you can climb each season.
With regular content updates on the way, vibrant visuals and a one-of-a-kind roster, it‘s an exciting time to join the ever-growing community of this stellar team-based shooter.
See you on the objective! Let me know if you have any other OW2 questions.