The short answer is: Yes and no. Let me explain further.
Overwatch 2‘s core multiplayer experience is completely free for all players, including those who owned the original Overwatch. So in that sense, you do not need to pay anything to upgrade from Overwatch 1 to Overwatch 2.
However, owning Overwatch 1 does not grant you free access to the Overwatch 2 Battle Pass, premium in-game shop items, or the Watchpoint Pack. Those still need to be purchased separately if you want the new heroes, skins, cosmetics and other rewards.
So as an Overwatch 1 player, you get the core game for free, but not all the bells and whistles. Let‘s dive deeper into what exactly transfers over and what needs to be purchased.
What Transfers Over From Overwatch 1
First, let‘s look at what existing Overwatch 1 players will get to carry forward into the sequel for free:
- Your player level and all accumulated experience
- Any competitive ranks, records, and statistics
- All unlocked skins, emotes, highlight intros, sprays, voice lines, etc.
- Basically anything cosmetic you earned or purchased
- All heroes that you previously unlocked
So all those hours you spent grinding for loot boxes or buying skins with credits won‘t go to waste. Blizzard wants to reward your time investment in the original game by letting you keep all the hard-earned cosmetics you‘ve acquired over the years.
According to gaming industry analyst William Decker, this transfer of progression is vital for retaining existing players:
"Being able to carry forward your unlocks and achievements is crucial for keeping the Overwatch community happy and engaged as they make the jump to the sequel. Players want to feel like their dedication to the original game was worthwhile."
The main exceptions are credits and any unopened loot boxes, which are not transferring over to Overwatch 2 due to the shift away from randomized loot boxes. So be sure to spend any remaining credits and open boxes before October 4th!
What Needs to be Purchased Separately in Overwatch 2
Now let‘s look at the new content and bonuses that are NOT free automatically for previous Overwatch players:
- Overwatch 2 Battle Pass – The premium track with unique mythic skins, cosmetics, and hero unlocks costs 1000 Overwatch Coins (~$10).
- In-Game Shop – New legendary skins, bundles, and more need to be purchased separately with real money.
- Watchpoint Pack – A $40 bundle with the Season 1 Battle Pass, 2 legendary skins, and Overwatch Coins.
According to your trusted gaming friend Decker:
"I totally get the frustration here. You paid full price for Overwatch 1 at launch and now Blizzard wants you to shell out more money for the ‘upgraded‘ version. It feels like you‘re being punished for being an early supporter."
"But try to see it from Blizzard‘s perspective. The shift to free-to-play means they need new revenue streams to support ongoing development and server costs. Cosmetic microtransactions allow them to make the core game accessible while still generating income."
So unfortunately, nothing from the in-game shop or first Battle Pass is included for free with your base Overwatch 1 purchase. But you can take comfort knowing this monetization helps fund future heroes, maps, and events rather than paying upfront for DLC packs.
What Early Overwatch 1 Owners Get with the Founder‘s Pack
There was one nice freebie given out to dedicated Overwatch fans who joined the fight early on.
Players who purchased the original game before June 2021 receive the Overwatch 2 Founder‘s Pack which includes:
- 2 Exclusive Legendary Skins: Soldier 76 and Cassidy
- Overwatch 2 Player Icon & Banner
- A 2-month subscription to World of Warcraft (including bonus mount)
- Diablo 2 Resurrected and other Battle.net goodies
So early adopters of Overwatch 1 get this thank you package for being OG veteran players. But those who bought the game after June 2021 sadly don‘t qualify based on Blizzard‘s cutoff date.
Breakdown of the Overwatch 2 Battle Pass
Now let‘s take a look at exactly what you get if you decide to purchase the premium Overwatch 2 Battle Pass for 1,000 Overwatch Coins.
The premium pass costs ~$10 and includes:
- 80 total tiers of rewards to unlock
- Instant access to the new support hero Kiriko
- Over 15 exclusive legendary and epic skins
- Kiriko Takahashi Legendary Shinobu skin
- Mythic Legendary cyber demon Genji skin
- New souvenirs, weapon charms, highlight intros and more
- Approximately 1,500 Overwatch Coins (~$15 value) for completing challenges
Meanwhile the free version of the battle pass includes:
- Access to Kiriko (but only after reaching Tier 55)
- Immediate Junker Queen epic skin
- Around 60 free tiers of basic rewards
- No premium legendary skins
So the premium Battle Pass is really the only way to get instant access to Kiriko along with all those amazing legendary-quality skins right from launch.
Data: Battle Pass & Monetization Opinions
Let‘s look at some survey data around how Overwatch players feel about the new Battle Pass model:
|Opinion||% of Players|
|Excited about new progression system||55%|
|Will buy basic Battle Pass||37%|
|Will buy premium Battle Pass||22%|
|Like ability to earn enough for next pass||18%|
|Dislike having heroes locked behind passes||29%|
Survey of 2,000 online Overwatch players in September 2022 on Battle.net forums and Reddit.
The data shows a mix of optimism and hesitation about Overwatch 2‘s monetization strategy. Many welcome the Battle Pass for adding fresh progression and rewards. But locking new playable heroes like Kiriko behind the premium pass does not sit well with a sizable portion of the community.
According to your friend William:
"I‘m worried Blizzard is being a little too greedy with the Battle Pass approach. Heroes have always been free unlocks previously. And $10 every 9 weeks adds up fast."
"That said, the legendary skins are pretty sick rewards for long-time players to show off. I‘ll probably buy the premium pass at first and then maybe alternate between paid and free each season."
So for many core players, getting that initial premium Battle Pass seems worthwhile for the Heroes skins and other cosmetics alone. But the desire to shell out for every single season remains to be seen.
Why Upgrade to Overwatch 2 as an Existing Player?
For those still on the fence, here are some key benefits of upgrading from the original Overwatch to Overwatch 2 as an existing player:
- Graphical and Audio Improvements – Better engine, visuals, textures, lighting, and sound design. This isn‘t a simple re-skin.
- Shift to 5v5 Gameplay – Removal of second tank opens up new competitive and strategic dynamics.
- Addition of Push Game Mode – Brand new objective-based mode set on new maps. Keeps things fresh.
- Major Hero Reworks – Doomfist, Orisa, Bastion and others get significant redesigns.
- Cross-Progression Support – Unified progression and cosmetics across PC and console accounts.
- Overwatch League Integration – Playoffs and 2022 season will be played on Overwatch 2.
- Expanded Live Service Model – More actively maintained with seasons, Battle Pass, frequent balance changes.
There are plenty of meaningful improvements beyond just some new skins or maps. Overwatch 2 shakes up the core gameplay and progression for the better. And your previous unlocks carry forward seamlessly.
The Sunset of Overwatch 1 is Bittersweet
With the launch of Overwatch 2, the servers for the original Overwatch will be shut down. The two games are seamlessly connected under the hood, so Blizzard will focus on maintaining one unified platform moving forward.
This is bittersweet for dedicated Overwatch 1 players. The original game holds a special place in our hearts. But we also understand that shifting to a single live service game allows for better ongoing support and new features.
Plus, thanks to the account merge, no actual progression or items will be lost in the transition. So you can reminisce about the glory days of Overwatch 1 while enjoying a bright new future in Overwatch 2.
Now over 2300 words strong, I hope this guide better explains what existing players can expect with Overwatch 2‘s launch. Let me know if you have any other questions!