Overwatch 2 Season 9 is nearly here, will 'revitalize the Overwatch 2 experience'

Blizzard details Overwatch 2's new Season 9 update: huge changes to the core gameplay, new progression system, all heroes now have passive healing.

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Overwatch 2 is about get pretty much overhauled with its new Season 9 update, with the biggest change being that all heroes will have passive healing... yeah. Check out the Overwatch 2 Season 9 trailer below:

Blizzard posted a new blog post on its Overwatch 2 website, where it teases us that the latest season of the game is right around the corner with the philosophy guiding the team were many of the system changes coming this year. This included making PvP gameplay more rewarding and fun and providing greater transparency for players in-game.

Overwatch 2 is getting massive changes to Competitive this season, with a new progression system and all-new skill tier that sites above Grand Master. There are also major gameplay changes to combat and hero survivability, including the fact that all heroes will now have passive healing. This means tanks and DPS will heal when they're out of the action, not just healers with passive healing abilities.

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Overwatch 2's new Season 9 will see the game return to updating your rank after every match, showing how much progress you've gained (or lost) between each Skill Division, giving players a better look at their progress versus seeing your progress after multiple rounds.

There are some modifiers at play here, providing transparency in the matchmaking of each match, including a boost when you beat a team that was more favored to win. Other modifiers show if your rank is calibrating, like if you're on a huge winning streak, proving you belong in a higher rank. These changes are interesting from Blizzard are somewhat refreshing. Now I need to get on some winning streaks on my DPS.

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Blizzard is changing the Competitive Play and new gameplay changes with Season 9 of Overwatch 2, where it's a perfect opportunity -- their words -- for everyone to start fresh as they compete on ranked leaderboards. This means the team is reintroducing Placement Matches and resetting everyone's competitive Skill Rank.

There are now 10 all-new Placement Matches, with everyone getting a rank reset; these new Placement Matches provide you with a high-stakes opportunity to make big gains in getting your new starting rank. As you progress through these matches, there will be a predicted starting rank after each match, with only one change this year to run your Placement Matches, you better pick your best heroes and be on your A-game.

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Another big change is the introduction of the ultimate rank: Champion. In order to get to the new Champion rank, you'll have to go above the most prestigious tier right now: Grand Master. Blizzard says that even with the boosts that Placement Matches provide, top-ranking Overwatch 2 player will still need to win a lot of games to reach Champion 1.

This new Champion rank is the most exclusive rank in Overwatch 2, with the team at Blizzard on the edge of their seats to see who will get to the lofty heights of Champion in Season 9 and beyond.

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Overwatch 2 Season 9 is nearly here, will 'revitalize the Overwatch 2 experience' 60

There are new competitive rewards and the new Jade Weapon Variants, which are unlockable through 2024 Competitive Points.

Now... onto the changes to core gameplay in Overwatch 2, where Blizzard says that beyond the competitive rework, there are "major changes to the fundamentals of Overwatch 2 gameplay" that affect every single hero. The team has developed changes to the core gameplay of Overwatch 2, with these goals in mind:

  • Deliver a more consistent feel to firing and landing your shots on your opponents.
  • Lessen the impacts of burst damage to allow for greater counterplay.
  • Adjust where in-game healing and damage are effective to reduce stagnant team fights.

The team says: "All of these changes have been designed to work in combination to balance each other out, and we're excited for you to get in the game and experience them all at once".

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One of the main goals of these changes to Overwatch 2's core gameplay was making the weapons you're firing, and the abilities you're using, feel more "consistent without impacting the time to eliminate a target and without removing the overall feel of gameplay we all know and love".

The team adds: "When examining how burst damage values have changed over time, we found that in most cases, they've gone down in raw value, though that may not necessarily mean they became weaker relative to other changes. The 5v5 environment and new heroes of Overwatch 2 certainly factor into the perspective, but it's often overlooked that the player base's average skill level, game knowledge, and pace of gameplay are relatively higher now than when the game first launched".

"When it comes to aiming as a mechanical skill requirement, even players with excellent aim often mention how it can feel random whether a shot hits or not. Due largely in part to the whip speed movement acceleration heroes have when changing directions, combined with all of the dashing/leaping/teleporting abilities, hitting your target can be very difficult. Crisp, responsive movement is important to the core gameplay feel, so we wouldn't want to just slow down player movement. Instead, we're improving hit consistency by making both damage-dealing hitscan and travel time projectiles larger. Heroes that have weapons or abilities that don't benefit from any projectile size changes will receive additional balance changes. However, we don't want to make too many hero adjustments before getting a better understanding of the effects from these initial changes, so tune in for more on individual heroes in future updates".

The biggest change -- in my opinion, as the only game I really play (and truly, truly love) is Overwatch 2 -- is the new passive healing to all heroes with Season 9 and beyond.

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Overwatch 2's new Season 9 update will see all heroes with passive healing abilities, where all heroes will passively generate 20 health per second of not taking damage for 5 seconds. Another tweak is that dealing damage reduces the target's healing received by 20% (a nice tweak) and that updated support role passive will now begin regenerating health after 2.5 seconds.

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Given that the accuracy of nearly all heroes has been introduced, the team wants to keep the time-to-kill (TTK) the same, where they've boosted all heroes maximum health. The team has already balanced damage values, damage boosts, critical damage breakpoints, and other factors by around 200-250 HP heroes, so the new health ends up requiring at least one more shot from most heroes to kill an enemy.

Blizzard also wanted to make sure the flow of a team fight doesn't take away from an individual player decisions that can determine the outcome of a round. Tanks already have a huge role in every team fight, because they're the ones creating space and dishing out huge damage, so the developer wanted to create more critical decision-making through Damage (DPS) and support roles.

The team explains: "The changes to projectile size and health pools effectively reduce the impact of burst damage and tones down the relative strength of healing, meaning it will take longer to heal someone from 1 HP to full health. To ease the friction of an increased time to fully heal allies out of combat and enable Support players to make more informed decisions on who to heal, everyone can now regenerate health passively at a rate of 20 healing per second after 5 seconds of not taking damage, and the Support role passive heal has been adjusted to 2.5 seconds".

"An increase to health pools and weakening of burst damage means that heroes live longer and team fights will take longer to conclude. To combat some of the potentially extreme situations there, we're also introducing a new Damage passive empowering them to more easily fulfill their role in securing eliminations, reduce in-combat healing, and potentially add an additional strategic layer to focus firing targets".

Overwatch 2's new Season 9 sounds interesting, with some huge gameplay tweaks that are going to cause some wild voice chats in the coming weeks. I can't wait for the new season, no matter the changes I know I'll still play the hell out of the game. Passive healing though... all heroes... we'll see how that goes.

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Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering and has recently taken a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI) hardware.

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