Overwatch 2 Season 9 brings big changes to heroes, ranks, and more
Blizzard Entertainment is making some major changes to Overwatch 2 with Season 9: Champions, like revamping rankings, improving all heroes, and more when it launches on February 13.
These changes start with core gameplay, with Blizzard saying it has heard community feedback and is making changes as a result. Weapon accuracy has been improved across the board, and each hero in the game will see a health increase to accommodate additional bullets taken.
“One of our main goals with these tweaks is to make shooting your weapons and abilities feel more consistent without affecting the time needed to eliminate a target, without removing the overall feel of the game we all know and love,” Blizzard said in a supporting post. . Heroes who do not fire weapons will receive other changes to ensure balance.
Champions currently between 150 and 175 HP will see a 25 HP boost, champions between 200 and 300 HP will see a 50 HP boost, and those above 300 HP will see a 75 to 100 HP boost. All heroes will regenerate their health passively as well, at a rate of 20 HP per second after five seconds of taking no damage. The support role’s passive healing duration has been adjusted to 2.5 seconds.
“Changes in projectile size and health pools effectively reduce the impact of blast damage and reduce the relative power of healing, meaning it will take longer to heal someone from one health to full health,” Blizzard said.
“Increasing health pools and weakening blast damage means heroes live longer and team fights will take longer to finish. To address some of the potentially extreme situations out there, we’re also introducing a new passive damage that enables them to deal more with greater ease. Its role in securing eliminations, reducing recovery during combat, and possibly Adding an additional strategic layer to focus your shooting targets.”
Blizzard is also fundamentally changing the mechanics of ranked play, as competitive rankings will be completely reset. Players will instead receive a new rank determined through 10 initial placement matches. “With everyone’s rankings resetting, 10 matches per turn provides a high-stakes opportunity for big gains in determining your new starting rank,” Blizzard said. “You will only get one chance this year to do placement matches, so choose your best champions and stay hydrated because these matches matter a lot.”
A new highest hero rank is also being added with Season 9. “Best ever,” Blizzard said. “This is the most exclusive rank in Overwatch history, and we’re on the edge of our seats to see who will achieve these heights in Season 9 and beyond.”
To track how close (or far) players are to Champion 1, the rankings will be updated after each match starting in Season 9, and a progress bar will show how much progress is gained or lost. “One comment we heard was that just knowing your rank says nothing about why your rank is high or low,” Blizzard said. “To help with this, we will update your ranking after each match and display how much progress you make or lose between each skill section.
“We’re also showing mods that affected your last match below the ranking progress bar. Feedback is the driving force behind these changes, and we want to hear your thoughts on competitive play now that you’ll have more context for each game.
Competitive progression will also contribute to earning Competitive Points, which in turn will be used to obtain Jade Weapon variants. Each match contributes to competitive points, although more will be earned for winning, and 3,000 points are required to unlock the Jade variant.
Season 8 Competitive Points will be converted to Legacy Competitive Points and will be used to unlock Golden Weapon variants. The same will happen when the competitive season approaches 2025, with all 2024 competitive points also converted to legacy points.
One of these features has already been criticized by Overwatch 2 players but largely because one developer posted about it online “out of context.” Fans criticized the self-healing mechanic after game director Aaron Keller revealed it without explaining why, something Blizzard itself admitted was a mistake.
Another feature that fans are eager to hear more about, but wasn’t mentioned in the Season 9 reveal, is the change to Overwatch 2’s monetization model. Blizzard said it is “actively working toward” giving new heroes to all players, not just those who purchase Featured battle card, but has not commented on the topic again since December 2023.
Monetization has been a controversial topic within Overwatch 2 since its launch in October 2022, highlighted by a Steam release that relegated the game to the worst reviewed game on the platform ever. Users have described Overwatch 2 as “an attempt to open your wallet while masquerading as the game it used to be.”
Blizzard was also heavily criticized when Overwatch 2 launched because it forced its premium predecessor to update to a free-to-play sequel, rendering the original Overwatch unplayable. Since then, Overwatch 2 has suffered from a number of controversies including Canceling the long-awaited PvE Hero mode – The only advantage, as the players said, was what justified the existence of the sequel.
Ryan Dinsdale is a freelance reporter at IGN. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day long.