Blizzard is trying out some major changes to tanks in Overwatch 2. During a behind-the-scenes look at the sequel during BlizzCon 2021, game director Jeff Kaplan revealed that the team isn't happy with tanks as they are in Overwatch now. According to Kaplan, the goal is to make each tank feel more like a "toe-to-toe brawler."
To that effect, Blizzard is even considering changing the name of the role entirely. In an interview with IGN, Kaplan said tanks may someday be known as "brawlers" so that the team can "reset expectations" for how the role is meant to be played.
"Right now, it's not uncommon in a game of Overwatch 1 to log in and have somebody just say like, 'We need a shield, you have to play a shield. Don't take the shield down'," Kaplan said. "And you're like, 'Well, I didn't feel like just holding left trigger or right mouse button down all night. That wasn't my idea of how I wanted to play Overwatch tonight but I'm being forced to'."
What does that mean in action? Blizzard used Reinhardt as an example for this experimental revamp in today's video. With 'brawler' enhancements, Reinhardt will have two uses of Firestrike per cooldown, more maneuverability during his Charge ability, and the option to cancel out of it. You can see this all in action below.
To be fair, "tank" already describes the role's position on a team pretty well. They're designed to hold up a shield (in several cases), aggro damage by being a larger target, and set up allies for kills with sweeping damage. Reinhardt's cleaving hammer swings and disruptive Firestrikes are a classic example. Kaplan's comments today didn't sound like any of that is going to change in Overwatch 2. I am interested in what this aggressive initiative could mean for other tanks, though. Maybe I'll finally be able to spend more time chucking rocks as Sigma and less time managing a barrier.
BlizzCon 2021 is continuing through today and into the weekend. To stay up to date, here's everything we've learned from BlizzCon 2021 so far.