Overwatch 2 alpha made each player important according to players and casters
Overwatch 2 alpha
Provided by Activision-Blizzard.

Overwatch 2 alpha made each player important according to players and casters

Overwatch 2's changes are for the better, according to alpha players

After a long, long time, pro players, content creators and analysts got their hands on the Overwatch 2 alpha, the first publicly accessible version of the highly anticipated sequel to Overwatch.

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People finally got to see what the future of Overwatch looked like, from the impact of 5v5 to widespread champion changes — but what did they think? Well, considering what both Overwatch League players and casters said about the alpha, the game seems like it is in a great state ahead of its eventual release.

Individual importance is key

“I love the way the game plays right now,” said analyst Jonathan “Reinforce” Larsson. “I feel like the game is a lot less brawly, but the maps have really opened up. It’s more about mechanical skill and individual skill in that regard, which leads to a very satisfying gameplay experience.”

With the change from 6v6 to 5v5, skeptics wondered how the shift would turn out in-game. The removal of a tank from each team would change a lot, but as people got their hands on the new Overwatch 2 alpha, their worries quickly dissipated. 

“I was skeptical of 5v5 at first, but I think it might be the biggest gamble that pays off,” collegiate coach Sam “Samito” Dawahare said. “In Overwatch, pre-fight planning and rotations mattered a lot. There was a very distinct process developed over the years. Now, in Overwatch 2, there are a ton of big changes that change that, with Push replacing 2CP being my favorite one alongside 5v5.”

If there was one thing these players agreed on regarding Overwatch 2’s alpha, it was how everyone had more impact. On every role, individual plays and pop-off moments mattered more than intense, pre-set plans. With their limited time so far in the game, players and casters said the gameplay felt like the Overwatch they knew — but an updated and improved version of it.

“It’s not a drastic change from the original Overwatch, but it’s an extremely polished Overwatch experience,” caster Jack “Jaws” Wright said. “It’s a bit quicker, and you feel like you have more impact in the game, which is always good.”

New abilities and Sojourn rejuvenate the game

As for the new hero content, specifically the long-awaited Sojourn, Overwatch 2 brought fresh ideas into an already developed game while keeping everything fun. 

Sojourn Overwatch 2
Sojourn using her Power Slide ability in Overwatch 2. | Provided by Activision-Blizzard.

“It feels almost obvious to say that Sojourn’s Overclock ability is very fun,” Jaws said. “I made a Halo-esque montage of getting a full charge, sliding and one-shotting enemies, which was so fun to do. If you’re bad, you miss those shots and it sucks. But, if you hit those shots, the positive feedback loop of that ability is amazing.”

In addition to Sojurn’s release, big reworks of both Orisa and Doomfist dropped. To summarize, Orisa became a more aggressive tank while Doomfist became a defensive one.

“I really enjoyed Doomfist’s changes, to be honest,” Reinforce said. “I could never wrap my head around Doomfist in the original Overwatch. But, with the changes to how you navigate with the hero, it’s easier to understand how he moves. Tank players will understand it easier, and it’s rewarding to play him.”

New maps put more variation in the game

New maps were another new experience the Overwatch 2 alpha showed off. One of these is New Queen Street, a map based on the new Push game mode. From a competitive standpoint, Push is an apt replacement for the Assault game mode that Blizzard Entertainment removed from the Overwatch 2 alpha.

Overwatch 2 New Queen Street
The new Toronto map in Overwatch 2, New Queen Street. | Provided by Activision-Blizzard.

“I find New Queen Street to be very interesting,” said Toronto Defiant tank player Kim “MuZe” Young-hun. “It’s a Push map, which we never had a chance to play before. The first section of the robot’s payload is in a u-shape, which allowed us to explore the approach in many ways. I think the viewers will find it attractive, too, since there are a lot of sections where players 1v1 at the side of the map.”

Along with New Queen Street, Colosseo entered the game as the other new Push map. Circuit Royal and Midtown are the other two new maps in the Alpha, though they are for existing game modes.

Updates will be key to keeping the game alive

Even with these positive changes, players weren’t just happy with a good start. They knew that keeping the game updated and fresh is what matters most heading into 2022.

“I think the new maps are pretty good, they’re all interesting and diverse,” said Houston Outlaws coach Jake “JAKE” Lyon. “My hope for Overwatch 2 is that they continuously adjust the maps though. Over time, keep doing tune-ups and changes to help the game feel fresh. The old maps got that experience with the 5v5 change, but I want those changes to all maps to keep them alive.”

Obviously, these players only got to play the alpha; fans have no idea if more content is in the wings for the official launch of the game or future betas. But to start, players expressed positive feelings after what they saw.

Now, the only thing left to is to see how fans react to the beta and the start of the Overwatch League. The fifth season will run on Overwatch 2, and fans can start playing the beta before the league begins. Heading into his second season in the league but his first season on Overwatch 2, MuZe said he expects fans to enjoy the experience once they adjust.

“Viewers might have a tough time at first to catch up with the speed of the game,” MuZe said. “But, I am certain everyone will love the new gameplay coming into Overwatch 2. As a player, I find the game to be a totally new game, so I find it fascinating to play.”

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Michael Czar
Polish-Canadian game enthusiast. I've been entrenched in gaming for as long as I can remember, with my first game being Pokemon Yellow and my most played games being Borderlands 2 and Overwatch. I have a degree in Film Studies, but writing about esports just makes my job all the better.