Overwatch 2's season 10 launch makes it even more MOBA than FPS

Overwatch 2 character Mercy wearing new red and black Talon mythic skin clenching her fist
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Overwatch 2's next season, which starts tomorrow, will kick off with not just a new DPS hero, but a two-week-long trial run of its newest game mode, Clash, which feels designed for constant, MOBA-style combat.

The Clash trial will take place on Hanaoka, a map that looks surprisingly similar to Hanamura from the original Overwatch. Hanaoka canonically exists within the Hanamura district in Overwatch 2's near-future Japan, so Overwatch 1 players will get to play among the same cherry blossom trees and stone walkways that made the original map so iconic. It actually looks like Blizzard built Hanaoka out of the building blocks of Hanamura and I'm all for it.

Clash, however, is a very different mode than the multi-point mode assault (or "2CP") from Overwatch 1, and season 10's patch notes give us a good idea of how it'll work. There are five capture points in a line on a mirrored map, not unlike the design of the control point maps in Overwatch 2 already. Each team will start a match battling over the middle point. Successfully capturing it awards a team with one point before another objective opens up closer to the losing team's side (similar to 5CP in Team Fortress 2, actually). Teams will have a tug-of-war over the same points until one of them gains five points or successfully captures the furthest point on the opposite side. 

The goal, as Blizzard said at BlizzCon last year, is to solve the stall outs that were common in 2CP—which Clash is positioned as a replacement for—and keep teams in constant combat. Downtime seems to be the enemy of Overwatch 2's game mode design in general with its maps becoming increasingly squished so teams run into each other more often. Push, Overwatch 2's first new game mode, has a similar tug-of-war style where teams try to escort a big robot to either side of the map.

(Image credit: Blizzard)

This new era of Overwatch tends to feel more like a MOBA with a bunch of complex heroes ramming into each other rather than an FPS shootout.

With the big increases to hero health and bullet size in season 9, persistent combat has become even more core to Overwatch 2 than when it launched. Instead of sniper battles and one-shots, team fights are now longer and decided on quick decision making and counter-attacks rather than simply having good aim. This new era of Overwatch tends to feel more like a MOBA with a bunch of complex heroes ramming into each other rather than an FPS shootout. The changes to hamster tank Wrecking Ball and new DPS hero Venture underline this new direction. Blizzard simply doesn't make heroes who sit back and shoot from afar anymore: Venture is built to dive underground and surprise enemies in melee-range and new Wrecking Ball can roll into a fight and give his team a chunk of extra health.

The balance changes in the patch notes are smaller than previous seasons, but they push the game further in this direction by generally reducing the amount of damage going out and slightly increasing the amount of healing going out—effectively lengthening team fights and opening the door for more ability usage.

Some of the notable changes include:

  • Reinhardt's inability to threaten far away enemies won't be as severe: His Earthshatter ultimate will travel further and knock you down longer
  • Wrecking Ball's rework makes him easier to play and more helpful to his team: He can pull himself toward grapple points and give allies extra health
  • Sombra and Tracer can't assassinate you as quickly: Both heroes will remain nimble but have their damage taken down so healers can react
  • Illari and Moira will be encouraged to heal more than deal damage: Illari's healing beam is stronger and Moira's damage has been dropped a bit

Despite the initial panic over heroes gaining the ability to self-heal, Overwatch 2 has actually eliminated most of the opportunities where that would matter. Season 9 made everyone adjust to a world where people constantly take hits, forcing support to heal more than ever before and skyrocketing the value of taking cover. Before, combat was inconsistent and you'd frequently get hit by a Hanzo arrow or Junkrat grenade and die before you could even react. After some tweaks throughout season 9, I'd argue Overwatch 2 is the most stable it's been since launch.

The only nagging issue is DPS heroes' ability to reduce healing on enemy targets, which continues to make you feel useless as a support in some situations. But Blizzard has already taken steps to reign it in and season 10's balance changes look like they'll continue to smooth over some of the roughest edges in the game right now.

Clash's trial run will hopefully help Blizzard avoid having to spend multiple seasons fixing pain points in the mode like it did with Push and focus on cleaning up hero balance even more. We still don't know exactly when Clash will be properly added, but I imagine it'll either slip in later in the season or launch with season 11.

Overwatch 2 season 10 starts tomorrow and the Clash trial will run from the start of the season until April 29.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.