Overwatch 2 will finally let players earn skins for free again

Overwatch 2's Tracer
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Overwatch 1's transition to Overwatch 2 has been anything but graceful for longtime fans. Players who'd grown accustomed to a steady drip of free heroes and loot boxes over six years felt betrayed by Blizzard's stingier free-to-play model—heroes were locked behind the battle pass, free loot boxes were no more, and legendary skins that'd been around for years ballooned in price overnight. At the same time, Blizzard retired the free Overwatch Credits currency, eliminating one of the only paths to earn cosmetics just for playing the game.

After months of negative feedback about Overwatch 2's underwhelming battle passes and prohibitively expensive microtransactions, Blizzard is budging again. Overwatch Credits (previously retitled to Legacy Credits) are making a return in season 3 as a free reward on the battle pass. Players on the free track can earn up to 1,500 credits by completing the pass, while those on the premium track earn an additional 500.

To coincide with the change, "nearly all" legendary skins will be available to unlock via the Hero Gallery with Overwatch Credits, with a standard legendary costing 1,500 credits. That means that a completely free Overwatch 2 player can earn enough credits to buy one legendary skin of their choosing every few months. 

"These changes aren’t the end of our journey to make Overwatch 2 a more rewarding game to play—they’re just the beginning," wrote Blizzard in a dev update published today.

I hope it's just the beginning, because one cool skin every few months doesn't sound as rewarding as Blizzard might think it does. It's great that going free-to-play means more people can play, but when it comes to rewards, it's true that longtime players simply had it better before the days of Overwatch 2. I remember when earning enough credits to unlock a skin you wanted used to take a matter of days, not months.

Overwatch 2 season 3 is expected to start sometime in early February. No new hero this time around, but expect a new map.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.