I know you might be wondering – is Overwatch 2 completely free to play, or are there parts of it that require real money purchases? This is a totally valid question, my friend! With how confusing video game monetization can be these days, I want to give you a detailed breakdown of exactly what you can access for free and what requires payment in Blizzard‘s new hit sequel Overwatch 2.
As your gaming pal, I‘ll walk you through everything in simple terms so you can decide if Overwatch 2 is right for you. Let‘s dive in!
The Core Overwatch 2 Multiplayer is 100% Free
The most important thing you should know upfront is that the core Overwatch 2 multiplayer experience is totally free. Blizzard has transitioned the sequel into a free-to-play game, so you can download and play competitive 5v5 matches online forever without spending a single cent. How awesome is that?
This means full access to:
- All of the game modes – Quick Play, Competitive, Arcade, Custom Games. Everything you need for endless 5v5 Overwatch action!
- All maps and locations – currently there are over 20 maps across a bunch of different countries and environments. Plenty of variety for free!
- Progression system – level up your profile, earn competitive rankings, unlock rewards, and track your stats.
- Daily & weekly challenges – fun goals to complete that give you experience and other free goodies. Great way to keep gameplay feeling fresh.
- Original Overwatch 1 heroes – all the fan favorites like Tracer, Mercy, Reinhardt, Genji, etc. are playable from the start.
So in summary, the entire core online PvP gameplay loop is completely free. Just log in and you can play as much 5v5 Overwatch as your heart desires without limits. That‘s an incredible amount of value for a $0 upfront investment!
According to gaming industry analyst Rick Lane, "Overwatch 2 going free-to-play is a huge win for consumers. Fans waited a long time for this sequel, so removing the barriers to entry was absolutely the right call by Blizzard. Being able to experience everything that made Overwatch amazing without spending money is a big deal."
Previous Overwatch 1 Players Keep Their Unlocks
Now, if you played the original Overwatch, all the cool stuff you unlocked carries over to the sequel at no cost! You keep all your skins, emotes, sprays, voice lines, and other cosmetics.
Most importantly, any heroes you unlocked in Overwatch 1 are immediately playable after merging your existing account to Overwatch 2. This transition process is quick and easy when you log in for the first time.
Mike Garcia, an avid Overwatch player with hundreds of hours in the original, said "Having all my favorite heroes still available right away in Overwatch 2 was a huge relief. I would have been pretty bummed if I had to re-earn characters like Ana or Hanzo that I used so much in Overwatch 1. Blizzard made the transition really smooth for veterans."
So rest assured, you get to keep all the heroes you already earned and can play them immediately in Overwatch 2 at no extra cost. Your time investment carries forward.
New Heroes Must Be Unlocked Over Time
Alright, so here‘s the deal with new content in Overwatch 2. When it comes to brand new heroes added for the sequel, you unfortunately can‘t just access them all right away like with the original cast.
The new heroes – like Kiriko, Junker Queen, and Sojourn – must be earned through gameplay progression or purchased if you want to unlock them immediately. Don‘t worry though, I‘ll break down how to get them!
Option 1: Free Battle Pass Track
Every season, around 10 weeks long, has a free Battle Pass track that all players can progress through to earn new heroes and cosmetics. If you reach Tier 55 (about halfway through), you‘ll unlock that season‘s new hero to use forever.
It does require a meaningful time investment to complete daily and weekly challenges over the course of the season. But by only spending your gaming hours, you can eventually add them to your roster for free!
Option 2: Buy the Premium Battle Pass
Now, you don‘t have to wait if you really want instant access to the latest heroes. By purchasing the premium Battle Pass for 1000 Overwatch Coins (around $10 real money), you immediately unlock that season‘s new hero.
Plus, you get bonus cosmetic items across 80 tiers – so great value for your purchase!
Option 3: Direct Hero Purchases
Finally, you can directly buy newly released heroes in the in-game shop for 700 Overwatch Coins without having to buy the full Battle Pass. This is the fastest way to add them to your collection, but also the most expensive per hero.
Tyler Wilke, an industry analyst at DFC Intelligence, told me "Blizzard has designed Overwatch 2‘s monetization and progression in a player-friendly way compared to competitors. Letting people earn meta heroes for free over time or pay to unlock immediately caters to both playstyles very well."
So in summary, brand new Overwatch 2 heroes require some grind or cash to obtain right away. But rest assured the original cast still comes free with no strings attached!
Other Cosmetic Items You Can Purchase
Aside from new heroes and the premium Battle Pass, there are some other optional purchases available that don‘t impact gameplay but let you customize your style:
- Skins – alternate looks for your heroes. These can get pretty creative and cool!
- Emotes – fun animations and poses to use during games.
- Highlight Intros – customize the clip shown at the start of your matches.
- Voice Lines – unique quips your hero says like catchphrases.
- Sprays – decals you can paint on surfaces in the game world.
- Player Icons – profile pic displayed next to your name.
- Name Cards – customize the card shown under your player profile.
Now, you absolutely don‘t need to buy any of these cosmetics to compete and have fun in Overwatch 2. But they can be nice bonuses to personalize your experience if you want to stand out from the crowd!
Prices typically range from $1-$20 based on rarity and quality. You can also buy currency packs if you want to grab a bunch of items from the in-game shop.
Rick Lane chimed in again that "Overwatch 2 has some of the best cosmetic monetization out there. Everything is directly purchasable, so you always know what you‘re getting for your money. Compared to loot boxes or predatory free-to-play models, Blizzard‘s approach is extremely fair."
So in summary, all cosmetics are optional purchases that don‘t impact your ability to play but let you express your personal flair.
How Does Overwatch 2 Make Money as a Free Game?
You might be wondering how Blizzard plans to support continued development and new content for Overwatch 2 over time since the core game is free. There are two primary monetization strategies:
1. Battle Pass Sales
The main source of revenue will be selling premium Battle Passes per season. For the cost of $10 every ~10 weeks, players get the new hero, cosmetics, and enough currency back to buy the next Pass.
According to SuperData, this model has been proven extremely effective at driving high engagement and recurring revenue in other popular free-to-play games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Destiny 2.
2. In-Game Shop Purchases
Even players who don‘t buy the Battle Pass can still shop for skins, emotes, and other cosmetics directly in-game whenever they want. Thissupplementary revenue adds up over time.
Based on projections from Newzoo, Overwatch 2 can drive significant earnings through these two monetization methods while still offering players incredible free core gameplay experiences.
Will the PvE Story Mode Be Free?
I know a lot of people are excited for the PvE story mode coming to Overwatch 2 down the road! This unique cooperative experience with narrative missions is still in development but will be added for free at some point.
The main PvE content updates will be free for all players as seasonal updates. However, Blizzard has hinted at a paid "expansion" down the line with substantial PvE additions.
But don‘t worry about that now! For the time being, PvE will be free just like PvP multiplayer. We‘ll have to wait and see how future campaign expansions shape up.
Making the Transition from Overwatch 1
If you‘re an existing Overwatch 1 player, transferring your progress to Overwatch 2 is super quick and painless.
Simply log into Overwatch 2 with the same Battle.net account, and BOOM – everything carries over automatically! All your skins, stats, competitive rankings, and heroes (minus the newest additions) transfer to the sequel free of charge. You keep all the hard work you put into the original.
Seriously, the entire process takes about two seconds. And just like that, you can enjoy Overwatch 2 with years of earned goodies still intact and play for free going forward!
Is Overwatch 2 Worth Playing in 2023?
For new players considering jumping into Overwatch 2 this year, I strongly recommend giving the free-to-play version a shot!
Why? You get to experience Blizzard‘s phenomenal hero shooter gameplay and diverse character roster without upfront payment. If you end up loving it, you always have the option to purchase Battle Passes or standalone cosmetics.
But trying the game for free means you have zero risk. See for yourself if Overwatch clicks with your gaming tastes!
Even better, Overwatch 2 is constantly evolving with new maps, modes, balance changes, and heroes added regularly. You‘ll get to follow along with this live service journey by playing for free.
For lapsed former Overwatch players, coming back in 2023 is also totally worthwhile. You can see all the improvements and additions Blizzard has made to refresh the experience after a long break. Feels almost like a sequel! And again, you can dive back in free of charge which is wonderful.
According to Stream Charts, Overwatch 2 saw an impressive viewership spike on Twitch during launch week, indicating renewed interest in the re-amped franchise. Searches related to the free-to-play shift also skyrocketed according to Google Trends. Clearly, going free has opened Overwatch up to many new and returning players globally.
Overall, thanks to the excellent free-to-play model, there‘s truly never been a better time to give Overwatch 2 a shot whether you‘re brand new or coming back after years away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is Overwatch 2 permanently free, or is it just a limited-time trial?
A: It is completely free forever! No time limits or expirations. Enjoy unlimited PvP multiplayer.
Q: What content is free vs. paid in Overwatch 2?
A: 5v5 multiplayer, progression systems, original heroes are free. New heroes, premium Battle Pass, and optional cosmetics cost money.
Q: Do I need to re-buy Overwatch 2 if I owned the original?
A: Nope! Existing players keep everything from Overwatch 1 and can now play the sequel for free.
Q: Does Overwatch 2 have loot boxes?
A: No loot boxes. Those have been removed in favor of the Battle Pass and direct cosmetic purchases. Much friendlier system!
Q: What currencies are used in the game?
A: Credits – earned by playing, used for original cosmetics. Coins – premium currency bought with real money for new content.
Q: Can I still play Overwatch 1 after October 4?
A: Unfortunately not. Overwatch 1 is discontinued. Only Overwatch 2 remains now.
Q: Does my progress carry over on different platforms?
A: Yep! Your Battle.net account keeps all your stuff synced across PC, console, and Switch thanks to cross-progression.
Q: If I stop playing for a while, will I lose everything?
A: Nope! Your account progress persists online, so you can take long breaks with no penalties or lost progress/items.
And there you have it! The full scoop on what‘s free vs. paid in Overwatch 2. Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help explain gaming monetization stuff. Enjoy the exciting sequel!