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Overwatch 2

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: Activision Blizzard
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Release Date: 2023

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'Overwatch 2' Gives Launch Status Update, Drops SMS/Cell Phone Requirement For Existing Accounts

by Rainier on Oct. 6, 2022 @ 2:19 a.m. PDT

Overwatch 2 is a supercharged sequel that will send players deeper into the world and story of Overwatch and build upon the original game's foundation of world-class PvP competition.

In Overwatch 2, players will take on the roles of the world’s heroes in cooperative missions that challenge them to team up, power up, and stand together against an overwhelming outbreak of threats around the globe. Players will also battle each other in the next evolution of competitive Overwatch play, which carries forward existing players’ accomplishments and loot collections and features the current complete Overwatch roster, a new generation of heroes, new internationally recognizable maps that widen the scope of the world, a new Push map type, and more.

In the sequel’s action-packed cooperative Story Missions, players will experience the advent of a new Overwatch as Winston, Tracer, and other members of the original Overwatch join forces with a new generation of heroes. Players will take an active role in the Overwatch saga as a new global crisis unfolds through a series of intense, high-stakes four-player missions. As the story progresses, players will team up as different sets of heroes and fight to defend the world from the omnic forces of Null Sector, uncover the motives behind the robotic armies’ attacks, and come face-to-face with rising new threats around the globe.

The battle continues in Hero Missions, where the Overwatch team will be called upon to go beyond their limits as they deploy across the planet, defending cities against robot invasions, taking on elite Talon agents, and battling the villainous forces laying siege to the world. In this highly replayable mode, players can level up their favorite heroes and earn powerful customization options that supercharge their abilities in co-op play—such as altering Reinhardt’s Fire Strike to ignite nearby enemies or modifying Tracer’s Pulse Bomb to cause a devastating chain reaction—granting the extra edge they need against the overwhelming odds.

Yesterday was an exciting day for the Overwatch team—a day that we know you have been looking forward to for a long time. While millions of people have been enjoying the game, the launch has not met your, or our, expectations.

First, we want to apologize to our players. We expected the launch of Overwatch 2 to go smoothly. We hold ourselves to a higher standard and we are working hard to resolve the issues you are experiencing.

We want to provide transparency on the issues, fixes we have made so far, and give you all insight as to how we’re moving forward.

We are keeping a list of known issues here, but here we’ll take a deep dive into the top issues.

SMS Protect

We designed Overwatch 2 to be a live service, which enables us to be responsive to a variety of player feedback. We have made the decision to remove phone number requirements for a majority of existing Overwatch players. Any Overwatch player with a connected Battle.net account, which includes all players who have played since June 9, 2021, will not have to provide a phone number to play. We are working to make this change and expect it to go live on Friday, October 7. We will update players once it is in effect.

We remain committed to combating disruptive behavior in Overwatch 2—accounts that were not connected to Battle.net as well as new accounts will still have to meet SMS Protect requirements, which helps to ensure we’re protecting our community against cheating. If a player is caught engaging in disruptive behavior, their account may be banned whether they have a new account or not.

As a team, we will keep listening to ongoing feedback and will make further adjustments in this area if it is required.

Queue Issues, Server Crashes, and Stability

Tl;dr: We have addressed some issues and are in the process of addressing others, but players should still expect to see queues.

Login queues, server crashes, and stability problems are intertwined, so we’ll talk about them together. Players may have been seeing their queue numbers jumping around, going from a small number to a larger number. This is due to there being two queues for players—one through Battle.net, then one through the game itself. This process is usually invisible to players, but was being seen in real time. We have made changes to simplify the queuing process, so players should now only be experiencing the one queue before entering the game.

There are several areas where we’re working to improve stability. Today we’ve patched a server that is critical to the login experience, and this change has increased login reliability. Beyond queues, we’re in progress with another server update that will reduce the occurrences of players being disconnected once they’re already in game.

Finally, the player database is being overloaded, which cascades and causes a backup in the login system, which eventually leads to some people being dropped out of queues or being unable to log in at all.

We’re continuing to add nodes to ease the pressure on the player database. The process of adding nodes requires replication of data, which inherently adds pressure to an already stressed system, so we’re doing it slowly to not cause any further disruption as devs and engineers work through separate issues. We are also currently throttling queues in order to protect the player database as much as we can while we scale—this feels bad in the short-term, but once it’s done, will greatly improve the experience for players across multiple fronts moving forward.

Problems with Account Merge (Missing Player Items/Data)

Tl;dr: You have not lost any items or progress, though some players are logging in and seeing some/all elements missing from their collection.

We’ve received a number of reports from players that their inventory in-game is partially or totally reset. We’ve determined that the cause for this discrepancy in approximately half of reported cases is players having not yet completed their account merge. This is understandable—one cause for this is due to a bug with the launch build not providing an account merge prompt on some consoles. We rolled out a partial UI fix earlier today to help some console players progress through the account merge flow, however, we are still working on fixes for additional UI issues.

In the other half of reported cases for this issue, things are just taking longer than expected for items from the original Overwatch to transfer and populate in Overwatch 2. In all cases, no player data has been wiped or lost. We have a client-side fix for this that cannot be deployed until next week, so we are exploring server-side fixes and will provide updates as more information becomes available.

There was a separate issue with account merge where players who had merged their console and PC accounts were experiencing problems logging in. This bug is now resolved. If you watched any community streamers on launch day, you might have noticed some had more trouble logging in than others; this bug was the primary cause for that.

Incorrectly Locked Heroes and Items for Existing Players

This is an issue separate from account merge but the player experience is the same as the above, where heroes and items that should be unlocked for existing players are appearing as locked. These cases are almost certainly related to our new First Time User Experience (FTUE) flow incorrectly being applied to existing players. We have seen relogging into the game resolve this issue in most cases. If you’re still experiencing this issue after taking these steps, please open a support ticket, that data is very helpful for our team.

On the day of launch, these issues were exacerbated by DDoS attacks—while they did not directly cause any of these issues, they made the environment in which we work on these issues more challenging. We have not suffered any further attacks.

We are committed to keeping you all informed, and will provide more information as it becomes available. Please keep an eye on @PlayOverwatch for additional updates.

Thank you, heroes,

The Overwatch Team

To help realize these missions, the sequel also introduces significant engine upgrades that support larger maps for co-op (PvE) play, as well as the wide variety of new enemies and factions that players will encounter on their missions. The game also introduces visual enhancements designed to bring players’ favorite heroes—and their new looks for Overwatch 2—to life in greater detail.

Overwatch 2 also represents the beginning of a new era for the series’ world-renowned competitive 6v6 play. In addition to carrying forward all of the original game’s heroes, maps, and modes—as well as existing Overwatch players’ accomplishments and loot collections—the sequel adds multiple new playable heroes to the ever-growing roster; widens the scope of the world with even more maps and locations; and adds a new Push map type, in which two teams compete to make a robot (that happens to be pretty good at pushing things) push the map’s objective to their opponent’s side.

Overwatch 2also renews Blizzard’s commitment to continue supporting the existing Overwatch community. Current Overwatch players will battle side-by-side with Overwatch 2 players in PvP multiplayer. In addition, current Overwatch players will be able to play Overwatch 2 heroes and maps, ensuring the core PvP experience remains dynamic and vital for today’s community in the Overwatch 2 era.

Overwatch 2 is available for Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC.


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