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The Differences Between Overwatch And Overwatch 2 Explained

Thanks to multiple leaks, practically the whole world knew about Overwatch 2 before its announcement on the BlizzCon 2019 mainstage. Despite this foreknowledge, the crowd went wild when Blizzard officially unveiled the game and all the team has in store for the franchise, including dedicated PvE modes, brand new visuals, and a fresh lineup of heroes. Many of these features will come with Overwatch 2, but what does this mean for all the players who currently own the first game? 

If you're on the fence about Overwatch 2 and whether it's worth your investment, the answer depends on the type of gameplay experience you value. Luckily, you have time before you have to make a decision as Blizzard has yet to provide a release date for the confusing sequel. Here's what you can expect when purchasing Overwatch 2.

Overwatch 2 has PvE that focuses on story

Overwatch 2 dedicates a lot more of its energy to PvE. The game will feature a full-fledged story mode that picks up one year after Winston put out the call to reassemble the Overwatch team. For context, this happens during "Recall," one of the first animated shorts for the series. "Zero Hour," another animated short that debuted at this year's BlizzCon, kicks off the Overwatch 2 narrative.

Now that a team of heroes has assembled, Winston must lead the likes of Mei, Reinhardt, and Tracer against Null Sector and other mysterious, dark forces. Talon will likely play an antagonizing role in Overwatch 2, especially now that Doomfist has joined the game. The story mode will feature a mix of cutscenes and gameplay. From the little Blizzard has shared so far, the gameplay doesn't look too different from what you'll find in the first Overwatch. Additionally, a PvE mode called Hero Missions will include replayable co-op quests. These game modes are meant for everyone, not just Master-tier players, as game director Jeff Kaplan confirmed in an interview with Game Informer Overwatch 2 would include difficulty options.

What if I just play Overwatch?

The PvE content will only appear in Overwatch 2, so you'll have to buy the sequel if any of that interests you. The new additions to the core PvP Overwatch experience, however, are a different story. If you play only the original release, you'll still have access to Push, the brand new core game mode, and every new map. Those still playing the original game will also have access to every new hero who comes to Overwatch 2, including Sojourn and Echo. Blizzard hopes this will prevent the competitive player base from splitting between the two titles.

For context, Push is a new game mode played between two teams of six. Each side tries to push an objective into enemy territory before the timer runs out. The team that goes the farthest wins. Essentially, if purchasing Overwatch 2 and all of its story content doesn't interest you in the slightest, you can treat the eventual release as more of a big, game-changing patch rather than a sequel. You won't miss out on anything essential to the core competitive multiplayer experience aside from some new cosmetics.

What if I buy Overwatch 2?

If you want a shiny new coat of paint, you can pick up Overwatch 2 without losing any of your progress in the original game. All your cosmetics — skins, voice lines, and so on — will carry over. If you're fond of your Witch Mercy skin, you don't have to abandon it for the sequel. At the time of this writing, the developers haven't figured out a way to carry over your level, but they want to work something out that will represent your time in the first game.

Additionally, all the current heroes will receive a visual overhaul, and these new skins are exclusive to Overwatch 2 players. Original Overwatch players will see them in their games if they play with people who own Overwatch 2, but they won't be able to select them. So, if the idea of Genji in a cool new jacket intrigues you, you'll need to buy the sequel to put it on. Of course, Overwatch 2 also offers you access to all the PvE content, so, you'll have lots to enjoy if you purchase the new game. It all comes down to your preferred type of gaming experience.