In the two weeks Overwatch 2 has been live—yes, it’s only been two weeks— players have become so disappointed with the hero shooter’s free-to-play grind and battle pass system that they’re longing for the days when the original game had loot boxes.
In a post on the Overwatch 2 forum, user LeafyBamboo summarized the game’s battle pass system as “frankly insulting” in comparison to Overwatch 1’s contentious loot box system. While the randomness of opening a loot box in Overwatch often resulted in getting duplicate skins, voice lines, or emotes, LeafyBamboo argued that coins received from duplicate items at least gave players some virtual currency to put toward the skins they actually wanted. As it stands, Overwatch 2’s battle pass doesn’t give players in-game currency that they can put toward skins or purchase future battle passes, which has players questioning the point of even being excited about new skins.
“In other games, if I didn’t want to pay for a battle pass, I would at least get SOME decent free rewards. The fact that even a stupid little flower player icon and some ugly nameplates are locked behind premium is INSANE,” LeafyBamboo wrote.
“Almost every game with a battle pass like Call of Duty, Fortnite, Dead by Daylight etc, does it,” Redditor HydeSpectre wrote in a similar post on the r/Overwatch subreddit. “This game not doing it means you gotta spend money every season which is pretty lame.”
OW2’s current grind results in “mediocre rewards” according to LeafyBamboo, who maintains that these lackluster prizes serve the purpose of further alienating players into purchasing a battle pass in order to feel like the hours they logged into the game mattered. LeafyBamboo is not alone in this sentiment.
“People want the game to give a rewarding sense of progression but this battle pass just doesn’t provide enough for how much effort you have to go through to unlock it all,” FizzyMilk replied.
“It’s pretty bad and I don’t understand the souvenirs? Why would I wanna use worse emotes lol,” humanbeing said.
“If Blizzard went the Halo route and made it so that battle passes don’t expire and you can choose which one you want to level then that would at least take the sting out of the big slap across the face Blizzard just gave all of its loyal players,” argued another player.
Whenever Overwatch soured on players in the past, it invariably managed to entice them back with vibrant new skins for their favorite heroes. But Overwatch’s once-Pavlovian magic seems to have lost its effect on some players. Exhibit A: OW2’s collaboration with McDonald’s that was teased a week ago on the clown delicatessen’s official Australian Twitter account. While players thrilled at the possibility that the collab might result in some kind of gamer toy of their heroes or Mickey D-themed skins, the metaphorically smushed sesame seed buns were pulled out from under them when they learned that it was merely a region-locked free skin event for one of Tracer’s worst skins. Congratulations, Australia. Enjoy that.
Exhibit B: OW2’s discounted skin bundles. To Blizzard’s credit, browsing the OW2 shop does land players on an in-game menu with a rotating selection of skin bundles at a discounted price. The only problem is that those discounts feel more akin to the money-grubbing fast food owner Mr. Krabs from SpongeBob SquarePants than must-have deals. While some players found OW2’s discounted skins to be more expensive than OW1’s typical asking prices, other players report that at least some of the ”discounts” aren’t discounts at all and cost the same price as they had previously, just accompanied with the “discount” tag now.
“Blizzard’s monetisation of this game is so fucking scummy,” thatwasanillegalknee wrote in response.
“I can’t believe that we are at a point where we are asking for loot boxes back,” said NunzioL.
Exhibit C is OW2’s grind for cool skins. Although folks on the r/Overwatch subreddit agree that OW2’s legendary and mythic skins are stylish—particularly Kiriko’s new skin in the upcoming cyberpunk-themed skin pack, which was caught on camera and shared on Twitter this week— any hype for sparkly new skins is immediately hampered by the reality that players will either have to cough up $20 toward a battle pass or grind for countless hours to acquire them.
“OW1, somehow, years later after lootbox controversy, ended up being a rewarding game compared to OW2,” said Redditor Rokuzan.
“Yeah, after all the hate they received originally it’s a little funny seeing the nostalgia for them now,” waferchocobar replied in the thread. “That being said, OW’s loot box system was well-implemented and not overly monetised compared to others, so there’s that too.”
“Seeing stuff like this makes me SO fucking glad to be a legacy player with at least 1 good skin for every OW1 hero,” wrote another user.
Kotaku reached out to Blizzard for comment.