Overwatch 2’s first beta is now live, giving players a taste of substantial changes coming to Blizzard Entertainment’s hero shooter. Those changes include a new five-hero team structure, a new hero, a new ping system, and substantial reworks to multiple characters.
In the Overwatch 2 beta, players will find very different versions of Bastion, Doomfist, Orisa, and Sombra on the roster. Other heroes, like Reinhardt, Zarya, Cassidy, and Winston, have also received ability changes that update their kit in key ways. In general, there are fewer ways to stun enemies, and each role type has its own passive perks: tanks receive less knockback, damage characters get a speed boost, and all support characters automatically heal themselves over time.
Here’s a breakdown of the hero changes in Overwatch 2’s beta test — and presumably going forward.
The terrifying turret Bastion is seeing some of the biggest changes in Overwatch 2. His Self-Repair ability is gone, meaning he can no longer heal himself. He can still switch between Recon mode, his mobile form, and Assault mode, his tank form, but the latter now lets Bastion move and is on a cooldown. Bastion also has a new alt-fire attack, the A-36 Tactical Grenade, which fires a bomb that bounces off walls and explodes when it impacts enemies or hits the ground.
Bastion’s Ultimate ability has also been redesigned. Rather than transforming into a mobile tank with a powerful cannon, Bastion instead goes into Artillery mode, firing up to three powerful artillery shells that rain down on targets.
Doomfist moves from a damage role to a tank role, with a boost in health and a new Power Block ability, which protects him from the front and can empower his Rocket Punch. Doomfist’s Hand Cannon, Rocket Punch, and Seismic Slam abilities have been tweaked, and his shoryuken-style Uppercut ability has been removed completely. Meteor Strike, Doomfist’s Ultimate, will now activate faster and slow enemies upon impact.
Sombra’s rework makes her a deadlier hacker and more of a damage dealer. While her Hack ability now disrupts enemy abilities for a shorter period of time, it also exposes a hacked enemy’s location to Sombra and the rest of her team. Hacked enemies also take more damage from Sombra herself.
EMP, Sombra’s Ultimate, now deals 40% damage to enemies caught in the pulse’s radius, in addition to disrupting barriers, like Winston’s protective energy dome.
The centuaurlike defense robot Orisa is radically changing in Overwatch 2, starting with the removal of her Protective Barrier shield and her Halt! graviton charge ability. Replacing those abilities are Energy Javelin, a new projectile that stuns and knocks back enemies, and Javelin Spin, which blocks projectiles, pushes back enemies, and gives Orisa a speed boost.
Replacing her previous Ultimate, Supercharger, is a new one: Terra Surge. Orisa will hunker down, sweep in nearby enemies, and unleash a surge of damage after a brief charge. She’ll be boosted by the effects of Fortify as well during Terra Surge.
Orisa’s primary fire, Augmented Fusion Driver, is also changing. It now offers infinite ammo, but is governed by a heat mechanic.
As part of Blizzard’s plan to make tanks more capable brawlers, Reinhardt now has two charges of his Fire Strike projectile. He also has more control during his Charge attack, and can cancel out of it.
Winston’s Tesla Cannon now has a secondary fire mode: He can charge it up and release a ball of focused electricity.
Zarya’s personal Particle Barrier and teammate-targeted Projected Barrier are now on a shared cooldown, meaning she could apply back-to-back bubbles for herself or simultaneously for two teammates, if necessary.
Overwatch cowboy Cassidy loses his Flashbang stun ability for something more damage-focused: Magnetic Grenade. That short-range grenade will home in on nearby enemies — hence the magnetic descriptor — and can stick to enemies, dealing additional damage on explosion.
Mei’s days of freezing players with her Endothermic Blaster are over. Her ice gun still deals damage and slows enemies, but will no longer turn you into an ice sculpture. Only Mei’s Ultimate, Blizzard, will completely freeze opponents now.
Brigitte’s Shield Bash no longer stuns enemies, either. It will simply knock them back, dealing damage.
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