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Overwatch 2’s PvE component just got nerfed hard

Blizzard’s new plan for Overwatch 2 PvE story missions isn’t what it promised

Tracer battles a group of Omnic enemies in an early screenshot from Overwatch 2’s PvE campaign component Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Overwatch 2’s next three seasons of content will include the arrival of PvE story missions, a brand-new support hero, and a limited time event called Questwatch, Blizzard announced Tuesday. Story missions have been part of the game’s plans since 2019, when Blizzard announced Overwatch 2, but they’ll ultimately arrive in a very different form from what the developer originally promised.

Game director Aaron Keller and executive producer Jared Neuss said during a Twitch stream that season 6 will include Overwatch 2’s “first major story-based event [...] with a new set of missions that will kick off a new story arc for Overwatch.” Neuss announced that that story-driven PvE content won’t include the long-term power progression and hero-specific talent trees that Blizzard originally promised, with Keller explaining that rather than doing “a big one-time PvE release,” Blizzard is planning to make co-op gameplay and experiences part of its ongoing live game roadmap. Some of those co-op experiences will be canon to Overwatch’s story, while others won’t, Keller said.

“Development on the PvE experience really hasn’t made the progress we would have hoped,” Neuss explained. “The team has created a bunch of amazing content so there’s awesome missions that are really exciting, there’s brand-new enemies that are super fun to fight, and some truly great and ridiculous hero talents. But unfortunately all the effort required to pull all of that together in a Blizzard-quality experience that we can ship to you is huge and there really is not end in sight […] So we’re left with another difficult choice: Do we continue to pour all of that effort into PvE, hoping that we can land it at some point in the future, or do we […] focus on the live game?

“With everything we’ve learned about what it takes to operate this game at the level you deserve, it’s clear that we can’t deliver on that original vision for PvE that was shown in 2019. We won’t be delivering that dedicated hero mode with talent trees, that long-term power progression, those things just aren’t in our plans anymore.”

Added Keller, “We want you to be able to experience it more often and with more variety than originally announced.”

Blizzard’s announcement will surely be a major blow to Overwatch fans who were enticed by the player progression and variety of hero talents that Blizzard promised at BlizzConline 2021. For now, it appears that players who stuck with Overwatch will, as is tradition, get story content in bits and pieces in the coming months and years.

Here’s a look at Blizzard’s current roadmap for Overwatch 2:

A graphic detailing Overwatch 2’s development roadmap for seasons 5, 6, 7, and beyond, showing off new events like Questwatch, the Mischief and Magic game mode, story missions, and a new support hero. Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Season 5

  • Questwatch, a new limited time event mode
  • Mischief & Magic
  • A cinematic reveal for an unspecified hero
  • Summer Games 2023
  • 5v5 mini competitive season
  • “On fire” returns
  • Creator Workshop mode

Season 6

  • Story missions
  • New support hero
  • Flashpoint game mode
  • Hero mastery
  • Firing range
  • Player progression system
  • Overwatch Anniversary 2023

Season 7 and beyond

  • New tank hero
  • New collaboration event (limited time mode)
  • New Control map
  • New winter event
  • Competitive Mystery Heroes returns
  • Roadhog and Sombra reworks
  • Lore codex

Blizzard originally announced Overwatch 2’s PvE component at BlizzCon 2019, when it unveiled the semi-sequel to the original Overwatch. Before Overwatch 2’s launch, however, Blizzard “decoupled” the story-driven PvE portion of the game from its competitive multiplayer modes. Since Overwatch 2’s launch in October 2022, Blizzard has released a handful of new PvE modes including a Halloween-themed event, Halloween Terror 2022, and the new Starwatch mode, which blends PvP and PvE elements.

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