A new blog post over at the Overwatch website has revealed that new players will need to grind out around 100 matches to unlock the complete roster of original Overwatch 1 characters.
“New players begin with access to a limited set of game modes, heroes, and some other restrictions to onboard them more gradually,” they revealed. “The first phase of our new [First Time User Experience] rapidly unlocks all the game modes and the ability to chat in-game, and the second phase unlocks all the original Overwatch heroes over the course of approximately 100 matches.”
The idea behind the move is to prevent overwhelming new players with too much to learn. Considering each hero has a unique set of abilities and counters, this is certainly an understandable and structured way to get into the game.
“This focused experience eases new players into the world of Overwatch by teaching them about different modes, rules, and other high-level aspects of the game in an approachable way.,” they said.
Importantly, these restrictions won’t be in place if you’re in a group, so new players can still team up with their friends and try out heroes (and game modes) they don’t have yet. “Competitive is the exception to this rule because new players must complete a specific challenge to access this game mode.”
While this move could be seen as controversial, it looks as though the Overwatch community is pretty pleased with the change.
“100 games for 32 heroes, that’s roughly a new hero to try out every 3 matches,” said one Overwatch Reddit user. “That sounds like a good way to keep players in that ‘just one more game’ mindset.”
Overwatch 2 – Season One Overview
“It’s about as close to a practical ‘Tutorial Mode’ I think devs can get in an FPS,” said another. “I’m certainly not complaining. If this includes matching new players in separate server instances with other new players, all the better. It will definitely keep new players from getting immediately ROASTED by better players and by match chat which will probably create a higher retention rate of new players which is what Blizz is going to be wanting to bolster with it being a F2P model.”
As well as easing new players into the game in an organic way, fans are also pleased that the change will potentially reduce the number of smurfs and hackers.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.