The Overwatch 2 beta is nearly here, bringing an end to a two-year content drought. Overwatch hasn’t had a major update since the hero Echo was added back in April 2020. Since then, it has been a long wait for the sequel.
Rather than wait until the PvE side of Overwatch 2 is finished, Blizzard is letting players try out the PvP content ahead of the game’s full release. The big change from the original Overwatch is that it’s now 5v5 instead of 6v6 with teams made up of one tank, two damage, and two support players.
The Overwatch 2 beta is packed with content, so we’ve put together this one-stop-shop of all the important information you need to know – like the beta’s release date, which characters are getting reworks, what new maps, heroes, and game modes are included. There’s a lot to dive into, so here’s everything you need to know about the Overwatch 2 PvP beta.
Overwatch 2 beta: cut to the chase
- What is it? Our first chance to play Overwatch 2
- When can I play it? April 26
- What can I play it on? This first phase of the beta is only on PC
Overwatch 2 beta: release date and platforms
The Overwatch 2 beta is going live on April 26. As it’s a closed beta you can only take part if you’re invited, though we expect plenty of people will be admitted to keep the online population healthy.
If you want to take part here’s how to sign-up for the Overwatch 2 beta.
How long will the Overwatch 2 beta run?
Blizzard hasn’t said how long the Overwatch 2 beta will run for – we only know when the first phase launches and what it includes. We don’t yet know if it will be a limited-time beta or an ongoing one.
Often beta tests are short, running for a week or less, effectively giving developers a chance to test their servers and see if they will cope at launch. However, we expect the Overwatch 2 beta will likely run longer. Overwatch had extended alpha and beta periods where Blizzard incorporated feedback from players to change the game. Overwatch’s first beta ran from October 27, 2015, to January 21. A second beta ran from February 9 until May 9, before the game’s May 24 release.
Considering no end date for the Overwatch 2 beta has been announced, we believe it will have a similarly long testing period. We’ve reached out to Blizzard for confirmation.
Is the Overwatch 2 beta on consoles?
Sadly, console players will not be part of the initial Overwatch 2 beta testing phase. The beta launching this month is exclusive to PC. However, Blizzard says in the official Overwatch 2 Beta FAQ that the “first Closed Beta will be available on PC only, but we do have plans to include console players in future Betas”.
Overwatch 2 beta: new game modes
The Overwatch 2 PvP beta includes a new game mode called Push. While this is the first time we can play Push, the mode was actually revealed way back in 2019.
The rules of Push are easy to grasp: it’s basically reverse Tug Of war… with a robot. In the middle of the map, there is a robot named TWO who you’re fighting to control. If your team takes possession of TWO the machine starts pushing a barricade toward your opponents’ spawn. If they take control of TWO then the robot will push a different barricade towards your spawn.
In order to control TWO, you need to have more players in its vicinity than your opponents. If you lose control of TWO the robot will move quickly to your barricade and start pushing it towards your spawn. There are checkpoints along the route that open up new spawn points for teams so they can return to the action faster.
If you can get TWO to push your opponents’ barricade all the way to the endpoint on their side of the map then it’s an instant win (and vice versa). Otherwise, whoever’s barricade is closest to their endpoint when the clock runs out loses.
If you’d like to see this mode in action, here’s a showcase match from last year’s Overwatch League final.
Overwatch 2 beta: characters
The Overwatch 2 beta features all 32 Overwatch characters, as well as new hero Sojourn.
However, with Overwatch 2 moving from 6v6 to 5v5, Blizzard has tweaked every character, changing their damage, health regen, and health pool. Blizzard has reworked some heroes entirely too, including Sombra, Doomfist, Bastion, and Orisa.
Here is a list of every hero coming to Overwatch 2.
- Threw out
- road hog
- Soldier 76
- Wrecking Ball
Overwatch 2 beta: new characters
Revealed back at BlizzCon 2019, new hero Sojourn will make her debut in this first Overwatch 2 beta.
Sojourn is the game’s first Canadian hero and one of the original members of Overwatch before the group was disbanded. She’s a noted leader of the group and featured as an overseer in the Storm Rising Archives event. She’s now ready to join the reformed Overwatch and take on Talon.
Blizzard has released this story trailer for the character ahead of the beta’s release:
Blizzard has also detailed Sojourn’s kit, which looks pretty fun, with both mobility and damage in spades.
- Railgun (Primary Fire) – Rapid firing projectiles that generate energy on impact.
- Railgun (Secondary Fire) – High impact shot that consumes stored energy.
- PowerSlide – Ground slide that can cancel into a high jump.
- Disruptor Shot – Launch an energy shot that slows and deals damage to enemies within it
- Overclock (Ultimate) – Railgun energy auto-charges for a short duration and charged shots pierce enemies.
To see it all in action, be sure to check out the latest Sojourn gameplay trailer.
Overwatch 2 beta: character redesigns
Bastion has always been a complicated character to balance in Overwatch. His damage potential from him is enormous and, against novice players, he tears apart teams who do not know how to deal with him. However, he’s close to useless in the higher tiers, where players take advantage of his lack of mobility from him. That’s not a great spot for a hero, so Blizzard is looking at him again.
In his current redesign, Bastion can no longer self-repair but he gains an alternate fire which is a short-fuse grenade you can bounce off walls and around corners before it detonates.
Bastion now has a much slower burst fire while shooting on the move, which gives his primary fire a precision feel. While in turret mode, Bastion can now move around at a reduced speed, although this is an ability with a cooldown, so it can’t be used all the time.
Bastion also has a new Ultimate where he goes into artillery mode and you can select three sections of the map to mortar.
Sombra’s redesign reduces her crowd control abilities but makes her more of an offensive hero. She can now hack while in stealth (though she is briefly revealed). Her hack of her does n’t last as long but enemies who are hacked are now revealed through walls and take more damage.
Her EMP no longer eliminates shields, instead only damaging victims for 40% of their health, but the negatives of a hack are still applied to affected characters. These changes make Sobra a really dangerous hero and one you will likely want to be extra careful of.
Doomfist is seeing the most drastic change as Blizzard confirmed he will be moving from a damage role to a tank role. What hasn’t been revealed are his abilities and how he’ll work as a tank.
However, GGRecon’s sources report he has increased health, but his signature Rocket Punch’s damage has been reduced. Although, apparently his new ability from him allows him to absorb damage to charge his Rocket Punch damage back to one-hit potential.
It’s also reported that his Rising Uppercut and Seismic Slam are now one ability which starts with him punching people into the air and then slamming them to the ground for area-of-effect damage.
We have no official word on Orisa’s pending redesign yet, but GGRecon report all her abilities have changed except for Fortify. She now has a spear which is the core of her new kit de ella. Energy Spear allows her to throw the spear, and another ability, Spear Spin, destroys projectiles and allows her to move faster and push enemies away.
Her ultimate is now called Terra Lance and it pulls opponents to her and she takes less damage as the ability channels. The longer it is channeled, the more damage it deals.
Overwatch 2 beta:maps
Like the heroes in Overwatch, all of the maps from the first game will be making an appearance in the Overwatch 2 beta except for Assault maps.
Assault maps have been a problem since the launch of Overwatch, as they can either snowball quickly with one side earning an easy win, or become increasingly difficult to capture checkpoints the longer times go on.
In this first beta, the development team has instead decided to focus on Push, with two maps in that mode. There are two other new maps too, namely the New York-based Midtown which is a Hybrid map, and the Monte Carlo-themed Circuit Royal Escort map.
Here’s a full list of included maps in the beta:
- Lijiang Tower
- Route 66
- Watchpoint: Gibraltar
- Circuit Royal
- Blizzard World
- King’s Row
Maps not returning
- Horizon Lunar Colony
- Temple of Anubis
- Volskaya Industries