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Overwatch 2 gets some of its biggest changes yet in new season

More health, more healing, and bigger bullets

Reinhardt and Junker Queen are poised to smash each other with their respective weapons, with Echo, Brigitte, and Widowmaker joining the fight in a screenshot from Overwatch 2 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 season will introduce a major rework for at least one hero, but every hero in Blizzard’s team-based shooter will feel different starting in the new season. The developer is set to make “major changes to the fundamentals of Overwatch 2 gameplay” with season 9, known as Champions.

At the most basic level, expect every hero in Overwatch 2’s roster to have more health, and for their bullets, missiles, and arrows to be bigger. As previously teased by game director Aaron Keller, all heroes will get some passive self-healing.

According to a blog post, the team is making these changes to “deliver a more consistent feel to firing and landing your shots on your opponents”; lessen the impact of burst damage; and reduce stagnant team fights, during which support characters endlessly heal teammates as players exchange fire in frustrating stalemates.

Overwatch 2 season 9 will also introduce projectiles that are larger across the board. Blizzard breaks down the specifics in the following infographic:

An infographic explaining the various size increases for projectiles in Overwatch 2 coming with season 9. Image: Blizzard Entertainment

The post also notes that “even players with excellent aim often mention how it can feel random whether a shot hits or not.” That’s due to various reasons, including Overwatch 2’s rapidly moving and teleporting characters.

“Crisp, responsive movement is important to the core gameplay feel, so we wouldn’t want to just slow down player movement,” it’s explained. “Instead, we’re improving hit consistency by making both damage-dealing hitscan and travel time projectiles larger.”

Even Heroes that won’t be affected by the change will still get some balance updates. “However, we don’t want to make too many hero adjustments before getting a better understanding of the effects from these initial changes, so tune in for more on individual heroes in future updates.”

Heroes’ hit points are also changing, in accordance with those larger projectiles. Here’s how that breaks down:

  • 150-175 HP heroes: increased by 25 HP
  • 200-300 HP heroes: increased by 50 HP
  • 300+ HP (Tank) heroes: increased by 75-100 HP

The reasoning behind the health boost is that the team wants to keep time to kill in Overwatch 2 consistent.

When it comes to healing, expect even bigger changes. It’s explained:

The changes to projectile size and health pools effectively reduce the impact of burst damage and tones down the relative strength of healing, meaning it will take longer to heal someone from 1 HP to full health. To ease the friction of an increased time to fully heal allies out of combat and enable Support players to make more informed decisions on who to heal, everyone can now regenerate health passively at a rate of 20 healing per second after 5 seconds of not taking damage, and the Support role passive heal has been adjusted to 2.5 seconds.

An increase to health pools and weakening of burst damage means that heroes live longer, and team fights will take longer to conclude. To combat some of the potentially extreme situations there, we’re also introducing a new Damage passive empowering them to more easily fulfill their role in securing eliminations, reduce in-combat healing, and potentially add an additional strategic layer to focus firing targets.

Here’s how role-specific passives are changing with the new healing rules:

An infographic explaining the various role and hero passive changes coming to Overwatch 2 in season 9 Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Season 9 of Overwatch 2 will also bring about changes to Competitive play and how players go up and down in rank. According to the post, the team wants to be more clear with players about how their performance in Competitive play affects their rank, and will be exposing those details to players after every single game.

Finally, players’ Competitive rankings will be reset, and they’ll need to establish their new rank with 10 Placement Matches — yes, those are returning from the original Overwatch. The post states that it’ll give players the opportunity to “make big gains in determining your starting rank” with matches based on their predicted starting ranks, and that it’ll only happen once this year.

It’s also very clearly illustrated how rank changes are determined on a game-by-game basis, something that players who care about rank will definitely want to study.

An infographic explaining how rank information is determined in Overwatch 2, including win/loss streaks, uphill battle wins, favorability, and other factors Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch 2 season 9 kicks off on Feb. 13. More details about what’s coming are available in the post. Further down the line, Overwatch 2 players can expect reworks for Pharah and the Junkertown map in season 9 and a Cowboy Bebop crossover.

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