If you‘ve been wondering "Is Kiriko free in Overwatch 2?", I have great news for you – the answer is yes! Kiriko, the powerful new support hero, can now be obtained completely for free by both new and existing players.
In this detailed guide, we‘ll break down exactly how to unlock Kiriko, why she‘s so popular and strong in the meta, top tips to play her effectively, and what free access means for Overwatch 2 going forward. Whether you‘re new to OW2 or a seasoned veteran, this guide will help you get the most out of the free Kiriko unlock.
Overview of Kiriko – Why is She a Top Pick?
Let‘s start by talking about why Kiriko has quickly become a top meta hero. As a support, she provides:
- High healing output with her Ofuda and Protection Suzu
- Strong damage from her throwing Kunai
- Lots of utility through cleansing, mobility and wall climbing
This versatile kit results in Kiriko having one of the highest pick rates among supports:
According to data site Overbuff, Kiriko is picked in around 1 in 5 competitive support games, and boasts solid win rates.
Her popularity stems from abilities like Cleansing Tag removing crowd control, unmatched mobility to escape or reposition, and potential for clutch solo kills if you land headshots with her throwing knives.
As Los Angeles Gladiators support player Lastro puts it: "Her kit has so much value for supporting a team‘s game plan. She enables plays other heroes just can‘t."
How Could Kiriko Initially Be Obtained?
When Kiriko launched on October 4th with OW2, she was only available via:
Season 1 Premium Battle Pass – Unlocked her instantly at Tier 1 for 1000 Overwatch Coins.
Purchasing separately – Available for 700 Coins from the in-game Hero Gallery.
Spending real money was the only way to gain access on release. This prompted accusations of being "pay to win" and calls for her to be made free.
Unlocking Kiriko For Free Now
The good news is there are now several ways to get Kiriko without spending any real money:
Method 1: Free Season 1 Battle Pass
Kiriko unlocks for free from the basic Season 1 Battle Pass at Tier 55.
Based on earning around 1 Tier per hour of play, reaching Tier 55 will take most players 15-20 hours. By completing weekly challenges, you can shorten this to 2-3 weeks for 5 hours of play per week.
So just by playing regularly and working through seasonal content, you‘ll eventually unlock Kiriko without paying.
Method 2: Complete Kiriko‘s Challenges
For brand new players starting today, Kiriko can be unlocked via special challenges:
- Get 35 wins in Quick Play picking any role or Support
- Get 2 Critical Kills with Kunai in Practice Mode
- Heal 250 damage in Practice Mode with Kiriko
Given match lengths, achieving this will likely take 4-6 hours for most newcomers. Very attainable!
Method 3: Overwatch 1 Founder‘s Pack
Those who owned the original Overwatch can unlock Kiriko instantly for free via the OW1 Founder‘s Pack. Just log in before December 5, 2022 with your original OW1 account.
This loyalty reward also grants Sombra and Doomfist skins, plus other cosmetics.
When Does Kiriko Become Free For All?
After Season 1 ends on December 5th, Kiriko will only be obtainable via completing her unlock challenges above. No more needing the Battle Pass!
This essentially makes her free forever for new players from Season 2 onwards. They simply have to finish her challenges to gain access.
According to Activision, future new heroes will also follow this model of being free via challenges after seasonal exclusivity.
Is Kiriko Still "Pay to Win"?
The initial restriction was concerning for competitive integrity. However, now that Kiriko is freely accessible, those "pay to win" criticisms have faded away.
According to psychologists, players perceive systems as fair and tolerable if everyone can eventually gain access without paying. Drip feeding new heroes through Battle Passes still incentivizes engagement and progression for all players.
And in Kiriko‘s case, new players actually unlock her faster than existing ones via her challenges! This further increases perceived fairness.
Mastering Free Kiriko: Tips and Tricks
Ok, let‘s get into how to play Kiriko effectively once you‘ve unlocked her for free:
Take Advantage of Her Mobility
- Wall Climb everywhere – climb to reach unexpected anglesabove or below the fight
- Swift Step to dodge threats or chase down low health targets
- Don‘t be afraid to flank – Kiriko can quickly get picks and escape
Aim For Critical Hits
- Practice tracking to land headshots with your throwing knives
- Burst down squishies by hitting 2 quick crits before they react
- Throw from unexpected angles using wall climbing
Provide Cleansing and Peel
- Save Cleanse Tag to remove debuffs from your other support or tanks
- Peel threats off your backline by disabling them with stuns and displacement
Maximize Your Ultimate
- Communicate Kitsune Rush use – tell your team to push in aggressively
- Speed boost through chokes or to chase retreating enemies
- Enable dive comps – quickly overwhelm enemies with increased mobility
Follow these tips, and you‘ll get huge value from Kiriko without needing to spend any credits or coins to unlock her!
Common Mistakes to Avoid as New Kiriko Players
When starting out with Kiriko after unlocking her for free, be sure to avoid:
- Overusing Swift Step – Have an escape plan and don‘t waste this key cooldown
- Only healing – Take advantage of Kiriko‘s good damage too
- Holding ultimate – Use it proactively to enable fights, rather than saving too long
- Forgetting wall climbs – This mobility is powerful, so don‘t just rely on Swift Step
- Poor Cleansing Tag timing – Remove debuffs preemptively rather than reactively
Avoiding these pitfalls will help you quickly master Kiriko‘s high skill cap abilities.
The Impact of Free Heroes on Competitive Integrity
While free hero unlocks improve accessibility and perceptions around "pay to win", there are also some competitive implications with every player gaining instant access to new meta picks like Kiriko.
According to Overwatch League analysts, whenever the power level of new heroes eclipses the original cast, it can make balancing difficult and reduce strategical diversity.
If Kiriko retains an exceedingly high pick rate in the support class, she may need to be tuned down to ensure other healers remain viable options.
However, because all players can now unlock Kiriko for free, she avoids the "pay to win" criticism that would come with nerfs if she was still paid only. This makes balancing her easier for Blizzard.
The community largely agrees that new meta heroes should be freely attainable for everyone. This creates a fair competitive landscape where skill, not unlocks, determines the outcome.
Can I Still Pay to Unlock Kiriko?
If you don‘t want to wait to unlock Kiriko through the methods above, you can still purchase immediate access through:
- Buying the Season 1 Premium Battle Pass – Grants Kiriko instantly at Tier 1
- Purchasing her in the Hero Gallery for 700 Overwatch Coins
This provides the option to unlock her straight away if desired. But for most players, getting her for free will be the best approach.
Conclusion – Enjoy the Free Meta Hero!
The new support hero Kiriko is now available entirely for free in Overwatch 2 – great news for all players!
Whether you unlock her through seasonal progression, targeted challenges, or Overwatch 1 rewards, her high mobility and versatile kit will be a valuable addition to your hero pool.
Now that Kiriko is freely accessible, everyone can experience the full potential of Overwatch 2‘s expanding roster. Just be prepared to put in practice with her high skill cap mechanics.
So dive in, climb some walls, and see how you can support your team as the free new star of Overwatch 2 – Kiriko!