The short answer is yes, Blizzard has confirmed that Overwatch 2‘s standard multiplayer experience will be completely free for all players when it launches on October 4th, 2022. Both new players and existing Overwatch owners will be able to download and play Overwatch 2 PvP at no cost.
As an avid gamer and streaming enthusiast myself, I was super excited when Blizzard first announced that Overwatch 2 will be shifting to a free-to-play model. This is great news for fans like us, because free games tear down barriers and let more people join in on the fun!
In this detailed guide, I‘ll cover everything you need to know about what you get for free in Overwatch 2, what optional paid content is available, and what existing Overwatch players can expect. Let‘s dive in!
Why Overwatch 2 is Going Free-to-Play
Back in the early development stages, Blizzard originally planned Overwatch 2 as a paid sequel to the original hit game. But in 2021, they announced a change of plans – OW2 would become free-to-play when it launched.
According to Blizzard, there were a few key reasons behind this major shift:
- Lower Barrier to Entry: The free model allows anyone to easily try out and get hooked on the Overwatch action. This increases the player base.
- Reduce Fragmentation: With all players consolidated into the same free game, matchmaking and new content releases are smoother.
- Keep Up with Competition: Popular hero shooters like Apex Legends and Valorant showed free works well.
- Support Ongoing Development: Free games make revenue through long-term cosmetic sales vs. upfront costs.
Overall, the goal is to remove price barriers so anyone can experience Overwatch 2. As a fan, it‘s great knowing the community will grow and the future looks bright!
What Gameplay You Get for Free
As a free-to-play game, Overwatch 2 gives all players full access to the core online PVP multiplayer features including:
- All maps and modes – Escort, Control, Hybrid, etc.
- Ability to play ranked competitive matches
- Original Overwatch heroes and new additions
- Limited cosmetics to customize hero appearances
Importantly, new heroes such as Sojourn, Junker Queen, and Kiriko will be earnable for free over time by playing matches. Blizzard also plans to provide free seasonal content updates including:
- New maps and modes added regularly
- Multiple new heroes released each year
- Special limited-time events with themed cosmetics
So in terms of core gameplay content, you get everything at no cost! No need to pay to win when it comes to gameplay advantage in Overwatch 2.
Here‘s What‘s Available for Paid Customization
Of course, Blizzard still needs to monetize Overwatch 2 to support ongoing development and server costs. For fans who want to look extra cool while supporting the game, various paid cosmetic options will be available including:
- Battle Pass – $10 per 9-week season to unlock skins, emotes, highlight intros, souvenirs, and more by completing challenges and playing games.
- Shop – Directly purchase cosmetics like legendary skins for your favorite heroes.
- Founder‘s Pack – $40 bundle with 2 hero skins, battle pass perks, currency, icons, and access to Kiriko.
None of these optional purchases provide competitive advantages. But they offer creative ways to customize your hero gallery and show off your style. Players can even earn a limited amount of premium currency through free Challenges.
Here‘s a quick look at some of the exciting cosmetic content that will be available:
|Voice Lines, Sprays, Player Icons
|Emotes, Highlight Intros
|Victory Poses, Souvenirs
|Skins, Mythic Skins
So while gameplay content will be 100% free, cosmetics provide awesome optional ways to take your personalization further if you desire.
What Existing Players Get in Overwatch 2
If you‘re an existing Overwatch player who bought the original game, great news – Blizzard is rewarding you with a free upgrade and bonuses in OW2!
All your current progress and unlocks such as skins, emotes, highlights, stats and competitive rank will seamlessly carryover into Overwatch 2. Plus you‘ll receive the following perks:
- Founder‘s Pack – Free bundle granting 2 legendary skins, 2 epic skins, Overwatch 2 premium battle pass for season 1, and immediate access to the Kiriko hero.
- Portraits & Player Icon – Special founders avatars show your OG status.
- Automatic Kiriko Unlock – She‘s immediately playable without needing to grind the free track.
This ensures a smooth transition for current players while hooking new users with the free model. Well done Blizzard!
Will Individual Items From OW1 Transfer Over?
I know customizing your perfect collection of skins and emotes can take time! Don‘t worry, every single cosmetic item you‘ve unlocked in Overwatch 1 will still be available in Overwatch 2. No need to re-earn things you already owned.
However, there is one exception – credits. Any unused credits you have in OW1 will be converted into Overwatch 2 coins at a reduced rate. So be sure to spend any extra credits before Oct 4!
Can I Merge OW1 Accounts into My Main OW2 Account?
This is a common question I‘ve seen for players like myself who end up with multiple accounts over the years. Unfortunately, Blizzard has confirmed there is no way to merge accounts before migrating to Overwatch 2.
Your progression and items will carry over separately for each existing Overwatch 1 account that you own. My advice is to be sure your main account with all your favorite unlocks is selected as the primary account for Cross-Progression when you first load up OW2.
Will Overwatch 1 Still Be Playable?
Sadly, once Overwatch 2 arrives the era of the original Overwatch will end. Blizzard will be permanently shutting down Overwatch 1 on October 3rd right before OW2 becomes available.
So be sure to take advantage of any last minute OW1 play time you hope to squeeze in before the launch! It‘s the end of an era but also the exciting beginning of a new one.
The Future Looks Bright with Free Overwatch 2!
Well there you have it! Hopefully this detailed overview cleared up exactly how the shift to free Overwatch 2 will work when it releases on October 4th 2022.
The move to free-to-play opens up the enjoyable world of Overwatch to all players. Existing owners like us will transfer over with rewards, while newcomers can easily get hooked. And thanks to free ongoing content updates, the future looks brighter than ever for the growing community.
Overwatch 2 brings awesome new maps, modes, heroes, and cosmetics while retaining everything current fans love. And best of all, anyone can play without paying a cent. There‘s never been a better time to team up with friends and dive into the vibrant PvP gameplay we all know and love! See you on the battlefield October 4th!