Kiriko - Overwatch 2

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Overwatch Fans Upset Over Heroes Being Locked Behind Battle Pass

Abhimannu Das
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Highlights
Overwatch 2's newest hero will be locked behind the battle pass in the free tier.
Players can also purchase the premium pass and obtain Kiriko instantly.
With counter-picking midgame being an important aspect of Overwatch, fans are unhappy with the decision to lock heroes behind battle passes.

Earlier this week, there were leaks revealing that Kiriko is the next Overwatch 2 hero who will be available at launch along with Junker Queen, Sojourn, and the original Overwatch cast. But when news broke out that Kiriko will be locked behind the battle pass for Season One, fans became visibly upset. Since launch, all Overwatch heroes are unlocked by default and players never had to unlock them through gameplay. Fans do not want the new system to be implemented as it goes against the kind of strategy Overwatch seeks to deploy.

Why heroes being tied to the battle pass is problematic

The Overwatch 2 battle pass details were revealed by Blizzard on the store listing for the Watchpoint Pack. The description revealed that heroes will be available via the free track of the battle pass and players who purchase the premium pass will get instant access to the associated heroes from the season.

Overwatch as a game requires players to switch to counter certain strategies. For example, Pharah is an aerial unit that is countered by hitscan heroes and supports like Zenyatta who can make it easier for DPS heroes to take her down. Zenyatta’s ultimate can be countered by using Ana’s anti-heal grenade and Lucio’s ultimate can be countered by Sombra. There are countless other examples that involve counterplay using heroes. If heroes are not freely accessible to all players, it will involve grinding and unlocking the new heroes before they can be picked.

Another issue that arises if heroes are locked behind battle passes is that once a season ends, they are likely to be moved to a shop where players can unlock the heroes for in-game currency. Even if these heroes can be obtained for free, players will still need to grind to unlock them and someone starting Overwatch 2 a year after its release may face a daunting task of unlocking multiple heroes which can take a lot of time.

Unlike games like League of Legends, Apex Legends, and Dota, players can change their heroes in the middle of the game making counter-picking in the middle of the game an important part of gameplay Unlike most games, Overwatch allows you to swap heroes in the middle of a game and adapt your strategies according to the state of the ongoing game. In fact the new DPS passive refunds up to 30% of your ultimate charge even if you swap, which incentivizes swapping more than ever before.

It is unknown how Blizzard will address this issue but with so many players complaining about the new system, a response to the community might happen in the near future.


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Abhimannu is a PC esports writer at AFK Gaming. With over seven years of experience in esports journalism, he has worked on a myriad of games and their ecosystems including Valorant, Overwatch and Apex Legends.


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