Overwatch 2 brings a lot of changes, but the Quality of Life Changes are often forgotten about.
Ever since the Overwatch sequel was announced back in 2019, followers of the iconic game franchise have been buzzing with excitement. Fans of the game “set in the near-future” have kept the game’s memorable cast of heroes near and dear to their hearts, keeping the first-person shooter’s relevance even 6 years after the original game’s release.
With the anticipated sequel to Blizzard’s PVP shooter set to arrive in a couple of months, long-time fans of the franchise still wonder if Overwatch 2 sports enough features significant enough to make it distinct from the first game. So to make things interesting, we’ve compiled The 6 Best Overwatch 2 Quality Of Life Changes that we noticed after playing the latest beta.
1. New and Improved Hero Abilities
One of the quality of life changes that has the fanbase hyped for the new release is the new feel of Overwatch 2’s heroes. Their weapons now sport new sound effects when fired, swung, or thrown, and some of the more iconic operatives have received subtle, but much-needed improvements. Among the most notable changes are the following:
- Reinhardt’s shield health is moved to the center of the screen, making it easier for the players to check
- Hanzo’s signature ultimate “Dragon Spirit” has clearer outlines and Zenyatta’s orbs glow brighter
- Lucio’s “Crossfade” now displays a noticeable aura around other Heroes’ feet whenever they’re inside the area of effect
- Mercy and Zenyatta players will be able to see a hero icon of the player they’re healing, making it easier to be aware of whom you’re locked on
The graphics and sound design in Overwatch 2 have undergone small changes that adds significantly more style and enjoyment to the gameplay and promise a great game that’s worth getting your hopes up for.
2. Faster Matches
Since Overwatch 2’s transition to a 5v5 format meant leaving teams with one less Tank, certain changes had to be made to some heroes and their skill kits. That being said, more focus has been put into player mobility and survival (e.g. Bastion being able to move in turret form, etc.), and abilities that stun have seen reduced potency (looking at you, Brigitte).
These fun tweaks ensure that the highly-awaited sequel’s gameplay felt fresh and exciting, and were also done to prioritize faster matchmaking, as was promised by the developers. Many of the game’s fanbase jumped on the open beta on July 28 and most (including myself) came out quite impressed by its relatively faster matchmaking queues.
3. Added Ping Options
Ever since the rise of online competitive multiplayer games began, shooter games have implemented better and faster-pinging features into their games. This has allowed players without microphones to quickly establish action plans with their fellow teammates at the simple press of one or two buttons.
With this in mind, Overwatch 2 offers a revamped ping function that is not only reminiscent of the last game’s ping “wheel”, but intuitively lets players communicate more with added options. People playing the sequel will now be able to let people know which spot they’ll be watching, which enemy is low on health, and when they’re in distress, among others.
According to an article published by Blizzard, Overwatch 2’s ping system is still a work in progress. But from what we’ve seen in the game’s beta, it’s on the right path to becoming one of the strongest tools in the game.
4. New Passive Abilities for Offense and Support Heroes
Given that there are fewer players on each team as part of their goal for faster matches, the game developers wanted to enrich the Overwatch experience further by appealing to each role’s playstyle. With this objective in mind, new passive abilities have been added to Overwatch 2.
- DPS players now move faster on the map, allowing them to more conveniently reposition during aggressive team fights
- Support characters now heal after spending a few seconds out of the line of fire
- Tanks resist knockbacks. On top of that, your ultimate charges slower when you damage tanks
5. A Clean, Minimalist UI
New game, new look. The one thing the fans of the game are going to be looking at the longest as they play Overwatch 2 is the UI layered on top of the game screen. Healthbars, status effects, ultimate percentage status. The makers of Overwatch 2 wanted the experience to be gameplay-focused most of all.
As a result, the game now displays a new user interface that has been minimized in its design. Being a divisive topic among gamers, both sides agree that the plain yet elegant UI helps the players of the game dial in on what matters: the firefight in front of them.
6. Death sound cues
On top of the new ping system that their sequel boasts, Blizzard also wanted to utilize sound effects to give players more awareness during team fights. Thus, a new quality of life change has been integrated: a new death cue. This sound lets you and your preoccupied teammates know how many of you are down and out, sounding off for each ally hero elimination. The audible cue increases in pitch for every ally death, similar but opposite to Valorant’s well-known “kill bell” that is heard after every enemy kill.
Overwatch 2’s most notable quality of life changes not only improves the game’s look and feel, but also introduce welcome additions like UI player icons, visual indicators for Hero skills, and role-specific passives. These have made the games take on a fresh, fast-paced feel that is a small, marked improvement compared to the tedious back and forth the first game evolved into during its later meta.
Quality of life changes often get overlooked, but a lot of small improvements like these can elevate a game into becoming more than the sum of its parts. Seeing Overwatch learn from the success of many of its competitors offers an understated impression that the game seeks to evolve and grow for the enjoyment of its fanbase. This early in the game, it has deserved the praise it’s gotten for the general upgrade so far. Blizzard continuously uses the first game’s faults as a guide to improving the game, and I, for one, am excited about the journey.
Overwatch 2 releases on October 4, 2022, and is being developed for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.