Overwatch 2 heroes aren't an early battle pass unlock

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When Overwatch 2 launches in October, all of its cosmetics will be tied to an entirely different set of systems than the original game—loot boxes are gone, long live the battle pass.

Overwatch 2, like so many other live service games, will have a battle pass, an in-game shop, and a regular set of rotating challenges that award battle pass XP. The Overwatch battle pass has standard cosmetic items like skins, weapon charms, and emotes, but it will also have entire heroes—starting with the newest support hero Kiriko (opens in new tab), all new heroes will be tied to the $10 (or 1,000 Overwatch Coins) premium pass.

Buying the premium pass unlocks heroes immediately, but getting them for free will require reaching Tier 55 out of 80.

That's how things will work normally, but Blizzard is holding a special promotion for Overwatch 2's launch. Everyone that owns the original Overwatch will receive a Founder's Pack that must be redeemed before the end of the second season to get Kiriko instantly. If you purchase the $40 Watchpoint Pack, which includes the premium battle pass, 2,000 Overwatch Coins, and skins for Cassidy and Soldier: 76, you'll start with Kiriko too. For everyone else, you'll need to progress all the way to Tier 55 or buy the premium battle pass.

It's all a bit confusing, especially for veteran Overwatch players who are used to simply receiving new heroes with no strings attached. Blizzard is using this sequel break as an opportunity to adopt the same model that most service games use these days, but that hasn't stopped players from feeling upset and betrayed (opens in new tab) that heroes are now tied directly to our purse strings.

In a group interview (opens in new tab) with PC Gamer, Overwatch VP and commercial leader Jon Spector attempted to reassure upset fans, saying, "We do want you to play the game regularly during the season to get [the new hero]," and added that "regular players" can get the hero for free "well before the season ends."

Overwatch 2 battle pass

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

What's included in Overwatch 2's battle passes 

Overwatch 2's free battle pass track includes new hero Kiriko at Tier 55 along with 19 additional tiers (spread throughout over 80 total tiers) with an assortment of cosmetics: 

  • Support hero Kiriko
  • Two epic skins
  • One weapon charm
  • Two sovenirs (items that you can show off mid-match
  • One highlight intro
  • 14 other items like emotes, name cards, and sprays

Overwatch 2 premium battle pass

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

The premium battle pass ($10 or 1,000 Overwatch Coins) includes instant access to Kiriko, a season-long 20% XP boost, one highly customizable Mythic skin (season one is Cyber Demon Genji), and a much bigger haul of cosmetics than the free track: 

  • Instant access to support hero Kiriko
  • 20% XP boost for the battle pass
  • One customizable mythic skin
  • Five legendary skins
  • One epic skin
  • Three highlight intros
  • Four weapon charms
  • Three emotes
  • Three souvenirs
  • Six poses
  • Six name cards
  • 30 other cosmetic rewards

How Overwatch 2's challenges work 

Blizzard showed us what looks to be an unfinished version of the weekly challenges menu in the game. There are daily, weekly, seasonal, competitive, lifetime, and hero challenges, each with their own objectives and rewards.

Daily challenges include goals like winning one game, playing three games when queued for all roles, and mitigating 2,000 damage without dying. If you complete three daily challenges, you'll earn 9,000 battle pass XP (the second tier requires 10,000 XP, but it's unclear how much is required for others).

Overwatch 2 challenges

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Weekly challenges are harder to complete (win 10 games, mitigate 40,000 damage) and will net you 60 Overwatch Coins for completing all 11 of them. For reference, heroes will likely cost 1,000 Overwatch Coins.

Blizzard didn't show the rest of the challenges, but said that the goal is for none of them to dissuade players from working with their team and disrupt the match.

"I think sometimes you see challenge systems that the Overwatch equivalent of them would be like hit 10 scoped headshots as Widowmaker on Dorado," Spector said. "And we don't want to do that. We don't think that that's conducive to the right kind of gameplay."

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.