Overwatch 2 has had a rough road following the early success of the first game. That game, which easily earned Game Informer's Game of the Year in 2016, started with such promise and a massive, enthusiastic audience, but following the 2019 announcement of Overwatch 2, support for the original Overwatch floundered, and so, too, did the community. Last year's release of Overwatch 2's PvE elements in its Invasion update pushed the hero shooter back in the right direction, but it didn't make the splash Blizzard had hoped for. With Overwatch 2 Season 9, which kicks off next week, Blizzard is making a ton of sweeping behind-the-scenes changes to make the game more approachable for players.
Players of all modes will notice updates to how moment-to-moment gameplay, encounters, and matches as a whole play out. Hit consistency is being improved, with projectiles growing in size; those characters that don't have projectile-based weapons or abilities and, therefore, receive no benefits from this change will receive additional balance updates. Those changes to non-projectile heroes will happen at a later date so the development team can assess how significant the projectile changes are in a live environment.
Additionally, all heroes will have more health starting with Season 9. Any hero with 150 to 175 HP will receive a 25 HP increase, while heroes with 200 to 300 HP will get an extra 50 HP. Meanwhile, tanks with 300 HP or more will receive between 75 and 100 additional HP at the start of Season 9. On top of that, all heroes can now regenerate health passively after five seconds of not taking damage, while support heroes can now start passively healing at two and a half seconds. To even it out, if a character is taking damage, the amount they heal while being dealt damage is reduced by 20 percent.
The ninth season of Overwatch 2 introduces massive changes to the structure of competitive play. First up, competitive ranks are receiving a reset, with all players getting 10 new placement matches to play through and calibrate their new starting rank. Starting with Season 9, rank is updated after every match, with a progression bar giving visual feedback for how much progress was gained or lost with each match. The best competitive players have a new rank to strive for: Champion. This top-tier ranking is only attainable by the best players in the world.
Competitive will also allow players to unlock Jade weapon variants by earning Competitive Points by playing in competitive matches. Season 8 Competitive Points are being turned into Legacy Competitive Points that can be used to unlock Gold weapon variants. At the end of 2024, all 2024 Competitive Points will be converted to Legacy Competitive Points.
Overwatch 2 – Season 9: Champions kicks off on February 13. Overwatch 2 is a free-to-play title available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.