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Is Overwatch 2 PvE Free-to-Play? No, But Here‘s Why It‘s Worth the Cost

Hey friend! If you‘re an Overwatch fan like me, you may have been wondering whether the PvE co-op missions in the upcoming Overwatch 2 will be free to play.

The short answer is: Unfortunately, no. Blizzard has confirmed that while the core PvP multiplayer will be free for all players, access to PvE will require purchasing an additional "PvE Pack."

I know, I know – it stinks to have to pay extra when we expected a full sequel. But as a long-time Overwatch enthusiast, I think the PvE content will still be worth the price for true fans of the franchise.

In this guide, we‘ll cover all the details on what parts of Overwatch 2 will be free, what you‘ll need to buy, and whether it‘s worth paying up as an OW lover. Let‘s dive in!

A Quick Overview of Overwatch 2‘s Game Modes

Before we talk payment details, let‘s quickly distinguish the different modes that‘ll be included in OW2:

  • PvP (Player vs. Player): This is the classic team vs. team multiplayer Overwatch is known for. Two teams of 5 battle against each other in various objective-based game modes. This includes Quick Play, Competitive, Custom Matches, and more.

  • PvE (Player vs. Environment): A brand new mode not in the original Overwatch. PvE features co-op story missions where teams of players battle against computer controlled enemies. These story-driven co-op modes come in both Hero Missions and highly challenging Raid Missions.

So in summary:

  • PvP = Competitive multiplayer
  • PvE = Co-op missions against AI enemies

Clear as mud? Great, let‘s talk money!

Overwatch 2‘s PvP Multiplayer Will Be Free!

Let‘s start with some good financial news first. Blizzard has stated that Overwatch 2‘s PvP multiplayer will be completely free-to-play across all platforms for all players!

As a quick refresher, this means you‘ll have free access to:

  • All PvP Maps & Modes
    • New 5v5 Format
    • Quick Play
    • Competitive
    • Custom Games
    • Arcade
  • Core Multiplayer Progression System
  • Original Overwatch Heroes + New Heroes
  • The Ability to Unlock Cosmetics

So everything related to playing against other real people will be 100% free. No strings attached. This is awesome for new players looking to try Overwatch without a cost barrier, and great for veterans who already owned OW1.

According to Blizzard, the PvP portion will be treated as a standalone free game called "Overwatch 2 PvP." But enough good news – time for the bad…

You‘ll Need to Buy the "Overwatch 2: PvE Pack" for Co-op Missions

While the competitive PvP side will be free, Blizzard has confirmed that access to Overwatch 2‘s PvE co-op story missions will require purchasing the Overwatch 2: PvE Pack (tentative name).

This PvE Pack will likely cost $39.99 based on leaks and includes:

  • Access to All PvE Story Missions
    • Play through narrative-driven missions
    • Level up heroes through PvE-specific progression
  • Hero Missions
    • Multi-part missions focused on individual heroes
  • Premium Battle Pass w/ Over 100+ Cosmetic Items
    • Seasonal cosmetics like skins, emotes, highlight intros
    • Provides revenue for ongoing development & live events

So if you want to play the cooperative, story-based content against AI enemies, you‘ll unfortunately need to buy the PvE pack separately.

I know, I know, this stings. Especially if you‘re an OG Overwatch player who rightfully expected a full sequel. But in Blizzard‘s defense, continuous development and live service games cost big money these days.

And speaking from hundreds of hours of experience – the passion that goes into Overwatch is real. So let‘s talk about why the paid PvE content is still worth it.

3 Reasons Why Overwatch 2‘s PvE Pack is Worth Buying

Even with a $40 price tag, I believe the PvE expansion is still a smart buy for true fans of the Overwatch universe. Here are 3 key reasons why:

1. There‘s Tons of Content

Early previews indicate there will be a hearty amount of story content across various connected missions, not just a one-and-done side mode.

Between the Hero Missions, Raid Missions, weekly challenges, and special events, it seems like the PvE side alone could keep you busy for months.

2. The Hero Progression System Looks Awesome

The new Hero Missions allow you to level up individual characters, unlock new abilities and talents, and customize your builds.

As someone who loves RPG mechanics, this unlocks a whole new way to experience the roster in PvE that you just can‘t get in competitive PvP matches.

3. It Supports Ongoing Development

Games as services need ongoing revenue to justify continued support. The PvE purchase helps fund future heroes, maps, events, and technical improvements for both PvP and PvE.

I‘m happy to chip in $40 if it means Overwatch 2 can stick around for the long haul with ample new content instead of fading away.

So while not ideal, I think the value is there – especially if you plan to play OW2 for more than just a month or two. You‘ll want the full experience.

By the Numbers: Key Overwatch 2 PvE Stats

To provide a bit more context around what you can expect in terms of scope, here are some key statistics Blizzard has shared on Overwatch 2‘s PvE component so far:

  • 30+ Story Missions at Launch
    • PvE story spans multiple regions
  • 15 Playable Hero Missions
    • Starring favorites like Tracer, Genji, Mei
  • 4 Highly Challenging Raid Maps
    • Require true teamwork and coordination
  • 100+ Cosmetic Items
    • In the premium Battle Pass
  • 10+ PvE Enemy Units
    • New foes like robots, aliens, beasts
  • 5+ Customizable Abilities per Hero
    • Deep build options for Hero Missions

So there appears to be quite a healthy amount of PvE content prepared at release, with more no doubt planned post-launch.

For perspective, even big single-player games rarely exceed 15-20 hours of playtime these days. But between PvP and PvE, OW2 should offer hundreds of hours of play for $40. A pretty solid value by modern standards if you really enjoy the game!

What Do Existing Overwatch Players Get?

If you‘re a longtime Overwatch veteran wondering what perks you get, here‘s a quick breakdown:

  • Overwatch 2 PvP: Full free access, no purchase required
  • Overwatch Founder‘s Pack: Free cosmetic pack with skins, icon, etc.
  • Overwatch 2 PvE: Must purchase PvE pack separately

So you don‘t get the PvE for free, but you do get some freebies to reward loyalty and smooth the transition to OW2. Plus you can immediately dive into the F2P PvP portion on day one.

And any progression or unlocks will carry over from OW1 – you won‘t lose anything you earned previously.

Can I Just Play Overwatch 2 PvE Without Buying OW1?

Yup! If you‘re totally new to the world of Overwatch, you can just buy Overwatch 2‘s PvE Pack as a standalone purchase and jump right in.

No prior experience or ownership of Overwatch 1 is required. The story and characters are self-contained, so new players should have no problem picking things up.

Clearing Up Some Common Overwatch 2 PvE Questions

Let‘s quickly tackle some other common PvE-related questions:

Will there be a free trial?

So far Blizzard hasn‘t mentioned any limited free trial of the PvE content. It seems like you‘ll need to buy in if you want to play.

Can I unlock it for free somehow?

No, there will be no way to earn or unlock the PvE pack for free just by playing Overwatch 2. You‘ve gotta pony up!

Is it a one-time purchase or ongoing?

The PvE purchase seems to be a one-time fee rather than a subscription. You pay once for all current and future PvE content.

Are microtransactions or battle pass required?

While possible down the road, Blizzard has implied no FOMO microtransactions will be needed to enjoy the core PvE experience after purchasing.

Will Overwatch 1 players get PvE for free?

Nope, even veterans will need to buy the PvE Pack. Some bonuses are included, but PvE isn‘t free.

So in summary – they are keeping the PvE content purchase separate rather than bundled free for all.

Evaluating If Overwatch 2 PvE Is Worth It for You

At the end of the day, whether Overwatch 2‘s PvE expansion is "worth it" or not comes down to your personal interests and budget:

If you‘re a huge PvE fan, the co-op missions will probably be right up your alley and justify the $40 price tag, even as a longtime player. There seems to be enough content to keep you busy for a good while.

If you mostly just enjoy PvP, you may want to wait for a sale before buying into the PvE side. The free-to-play competitive multiplayer will likely be enough to hold you over for a few months at least.

If money is tight, definitely wait for a discount before considering PvE. The free PvP should still provide hundreds of hours of fun even without the co-op add-on.

So weigh your options carefully and consider what you want to get out of Overwatch 2 before pulling the trigger. FOMO can be dangerous! Don‘t let it win.

The Bright Side: A Wider Audience & Continued Support

While I wish Overwatch 2‘s entire PvE portion was free like some expected, focusing just on the negative fails to paint the full picture.

The shift to a free-to-play model for PvP multiplayer opens Overwatch up to millions of new players who may have been hesitant in the past.

As an OW lover since day one, getting to share this world with more people is incredibly exciting!

Plus, significant content like new heroes and maps takes time and money to develop. So I‘m happy to contribute $40 if it helps ensure Overwatch 2 receives ample resources and TLC over the long term.

The Story Continues October 4th… See You Then!

And that‘s a wrap on my full breakdown of Overwatch 2‘s PvE content pricing! While requiring an additional purchase isn‘t ideal, I believe the co-op expansion will still deliver tons of value – especially for PvE lovers like myself.

Let me know which game modes you plan to play when Overwatch 2 launches on October 4th! I‘ll be grinding plenty of PvP wins, but can‘t wait to squad up in PvE as well. See you ingame, friend!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.