Overwatch 2 has been out for a decent amount of time now, enough of a stretch for the vast number of players to hopefully get through the login queues and try the hero shooter out for themselves. While the gameplay changes (or lack thereof) remain a hot button topic right now among the community, it’s the new battle pass system that really has people riled up, with some even looking back at the loot boxes of Overwatch 1 with newfound fondness.
But what exactly is this new system and why has it got people mad. Well, Overwatch 2 has replaced the old method of unlocking new content — a combination of free and premium loot boxes that contained skins — with a traditional battle pass that has become all the rage over the past few years. This pass contains skins, sprays, voice lines and yes, even new heroes…
Let’s start with that final point, a real rough spot for some among the Overwatch 2 player base. If you buy the premium pass right now, you get the newest character (Kiriko) right away. Bam! However, if you stick to the free pass, you’ll need to progress through 55 levels of the system before you can play the featured hero. Considering Overwatch is an FPS focused around counterpicks and team composition, this isn’t too great for those who want to dive straight into competitive matches. Not to mention, new characters previously were given out for free.
But, there are less obvious, but equally worrying aspects of the battle pass that others picked up on straight away. For one, there’s no more quickly-earnable in-game currency, and no more free loot boxes that allowed players to earn exciting and rare new prizes. “Most of us are more upset that there is no way to earn in-game currency. In Overwatch 1, if there was a skin you liked, you could grind it out with currency in a few days (plus a heap of random loot box items). Now you can get a maximum of 60 coins per week.” writes Reddit user Pangeapedestrian. “Now, a skin often costs 2000+ coins (20+ dollars), so that's 9 months of dedicated play.”
So while loot boxes are obviously bad for a variety of reasons. The UK House of Commons even stated they were gambling and should be regulated. It’s a source of genuine harm to a portion of the general player base of any game that possesses them. In spite of that, some feel they are left worse off now than they were before. In a Reddit post of the Overwatch 2 Reddit titled ‘They should bring back loot boxes’, user Bob of Tibia kicks things off with “Not saying Apex is the prime example of how a battle pass should work, but getting a loot box every 5 to 10 games for free would feel a hell of a lot better than this several month grind for a single skin.”.
Rather than a surprise every few games, one with the chance of providing something truly special rather than a spray or random voice line, players are left with a lengthy grind for pre-established rewards, or an incredibly daunting months-long trudge through challenges for a chosen legendary. Not good.
Also, and this is a point that really riles me up, but with the removal of loot boxes and faster cosmetic acquisition away from the battle pass, endorsement rewards are truly bad. ImaginaryNC’s post shows that for reaching endorsement level 3, a milestone that used to provide eight cosmetics, you now get one experience point in your battle pass. Not a level. A single point. What’s the point in actually striving for these rewards if you aren’t rewarded for it.
But what do you think? Do you prefer the battle pass, or the old loot box system? What would you like to see Blizzard do in order to make the game feel more rewarding in the short term? Let us know below.
For more Overwatch 2 articles, check out our articles on Overwatch 2 temporarily losing two heroes and getting hit by more DDOS attacks, as well as Blizzard fixing a bug that causes players to accidentally buy cosmetics.