Overwatch was one of the biggest announcements that Blizzard made at Blizzcon in years. Aside from the heavily demanded Starcraft II and Diablo III, Blizzard had not made any shocking announcements as of late (unless you consider the expected World of Warcraft expansions to be shocking.)

No one knew what to expect for Blizzcon 2014, with Blizzard announcing that they had huge news. Even while rumors of Warcraft IV made the rounds, in the end Overwatch was announced.

Using a trailer as a means to show off their flashy CGI, Blizzard revealed 4 of the most iconic characters for Overwatch in a matter of moments. Tracer, Winston, Black Widow, and Reaper all had their basic game play style displayed.

Overwatch is going to play like Team Fortress 2. With 21 different characters and 4 roles to fill, you’ll be able to swap seamlessly during the fight from character to character. This creates an atmosphere where it will be necessary to know how to play all of the characters, and know their weaknesses and strengths. If you want to make it big, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with each one in depth.

Now that you’ve been brought up to speed, here is what we know about Overwatch so far.

21 Characters

Overwatch is bursting with unique opportunities, and one of them includes 21 fresh faces to the Blizzard universe.

This is the first time that Blizzard has had the opportunity to set characters in modern fantasy, opting out of the sci-fi or medieval settings they have come to familiarize themselves with. This allows the creative designers a limited freedom in terms of characters.

The counter play style has already been highlighted succesfully in the Beta. At one point, Bastion was considered overpowered(he was). One of the characters that could counter him, however, was Winston. If Bastion lacked backup, Winston could leap forward to the stationed turret and take out the character with ease.

Winston’s large health pool kept him up as he pummeled through the turret, while charging up his ultimate that would help him get out of the fight. Similarly, Bastion just needed a Reaper tucked around the corner to jump out and deal with Winston. Because of Winston’s enormous size, one of the best counters to the highly intelligent ape is area of effect(AoE) weapons.

4 different roles to fill

Although each of the 21 heroes has a unique set of abilities(also known as a ‘kit’), they fall into one of four categories. Offense, Defense, Tank, and Support.

Currently Support has the least amount of characters, with only 4 options to choose from. Tank follows up with only 5, Offense and Defense roles split the last 12, taking 6 each.

It’s interesting to see how each characters fills a different type of said role. Lucio, one of the supports, is about AoE healing and keeping his team mates mobile. You can swap between speed and healing effects as you choose, and he has a pretty nice knock back to keep enemies at bay.

Symmetra, on the other hand, relies on turrets and her offensive abilities to keep herself up. She can provide a shield for her team, and her ultimate is a teleporter that takes you back to your allies spawn point. Allies can also use it to get to the fight immediately after coming back to life.

This makes Symmetra more based around preventing damage and assisting her team mates as much as possible. For those of you that play Heroes of the Storm, Tassadar would be a great example for how Symmetra plays.

Progression System

Blizzard is doing something a little different with Overwatch. They’re offering a progression system to players who want a long term goal. Overwatch is similar to Diablo III and Starcraft II in the sense that it is a one time purchase. At this moment in time we have no idea how Blizzard will be adding new characters, as they aren’t even sure themselves. It has been said, however, that an expansion isn’t out of the question.

The idea behind the progression system is simple. As you play matches there are different factors that decide how much experience you earn, such as if your team won, how much you participated, etc.

When you level up, you get a loot box. Loot boxes include 4 items, with varying rarities. The items can be Blue(rare), Purple(epic), or Orange(legendary). The boxes only contain purely cosmetic items however, including Player Icons, Skins, Emotes, Victory Poses, and much more.

You can collect hundreds of items throughout these loot boxes, allowing players to get rewards for a significant amount of time after launch. None of these items can give you an advantage in game, so those who hate micro-transactions that are necessary have nothing to worry about.

If you receive a duplicate item in your loot box, you will be awarded credits based on the rarity of the item. You can redeem those credits to purchase items you have yet to unlock.

Blizzard does, however, plan on opening up loot boxes for purchase for those that want to get these cosmetic items even faster. This isn’t a necessity, but its something for people with too much money on their hands.

What makes the Progression System work is it means that skins will be something you can unlock overtime. For Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard’s Free to Play MOBA, skins are priced around $10 each.

Cosmetic Items!

Overwatch’s cosmetic item library is huge. From what has been shown off, Blizzard has close to 1,000 different items across the characters. Each character has at least 30 cosmetic items, making the Hero Gallery very expansive.

You can feel free to use default skins, or mess around with them. Whatever combination of items you can think of is possible in Overwatch.


 

Overwatch’s release is coming up much sooner then expected, with the game launching May 24th. For those who pre-order the game by April 29th, you’ll have early access to the game starting May 3rd.