What free play can do to change how cosmetics work in Overwatch 2

Monitor 2 has a lot to prove when it comes to gameplay, progression, and cosmetics. Surveillance was a shining star for the first-person shooter genre when it was released in 2016. It was a best-in-class hero-based multiplayer game that spawned legions of dedicated fans, me y understood, who really cared about its lore, maps, heroes, and updates. Then, after a certain point, the momentum deteriorated. Developer Blizzard Entertainment has stopped providing major updates to the game, senior director Jeff Kaplan has left, and recent allegations have ruined the company’s image. With all of that in mind, it’s been hard for fans to get excited about a full-fledged sequel that doesn’t even seem necessary.

Monitor 2 is almost upon us, and Blizzard has been trying to rebuild some goodwill with announcements like a move to a free model and seasonal content. It certainly lowers the barrier to entry, and it could help pull Surveillance the fans return. However, this new approach also has potential pitfalls that could prove disastrous for one of the game’s most important aspects: cosmetics.

Good

Free-to-play games were associated with glaring monetization issues and gameplay that wasn’t up to par. While that perception still holds true for some games, there are now plenty of higher quality free titles out there that offer great experiences at no cost. games like Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzoneand Fortnite led the charge.

The free-to-play model used by Fortnite ensures that all unlocked cosmetics can be transferred between platforms, and it looks like Monitor 2 also takes this route. This helps gamers who want to play the game and move between different platforms over time. It is a better solution compared to Surveillance players are reluctant to switch between console and PC as they would lose their earned cosmetics. You should also know that all the cosmetics of Surveillance will be postponed to Monitor 2as well as existing currencies you may have such as Credits, Competitive Points and Surveillance League tokens.

Switching to a Battle Pass progression system likely means cosmetics will be harder to earn for free. However, Fortnite does a good job of giving players free cosmetics on special occasions. We hope Blizzard will take a page out of Epic Games’ book in this regard. Moving to a nine-week seasonal model also means new skins and items should appear more frequently, including the new tier of Mythic skins which have customizable items.

The idea of ​​an in-game store is fraught with potential problems, but it could also help alleviate a long-standing fan complaint. To know, Surveillance fans felt frustrated that they could only get specific skins once or twice a year when rotating in and out of limited-time events. These same skins could now reappear more frequently in the in-game store. That would be more convenient, but that brings us to the issue of monetization.

The bad

Whereas Fortnite shows how the free-to-play model benefits cosmetics, other games show how it can go wrong. Infinite Halo is also a free-to-play shooter, and it was positively received at launch. In the months following its release, it received a lot of criticism from fans complaining about the slow rollout of new content, technical issues, and monetization issues. The Season 1 Battle Pass did not allow players to earn virtual currency, meaning they had to pay for the Season 2 Battle Pass once again. To make matters worse, the in-game store was placing high prices on cosmetics that didn’t seem worth their value. Since Monitor 2 will implement a Battle Pass and an in-game store, we fear these same issues will arise in Blizzard’s sequel.

Overwatch 2 cosmetics in Battle Pass

A big change for Monitor 2 is the removal of loot boxes. Players have long complained about the predatory nature of loot boxes in online multiplayer games, so this should be cause for celebration. On the other hand, loot boxes allowed players to earn free cosmetics. Trading loot boxes for a Battle Pass effectively removes any way to earn desired cosmetics for free, unless Blizzard is generous enough with its special events. On top of that, locking cosmetics behind paywalls seems contrary to SurveillanceThe central themes of being welcoming and inclusive for all players. For all the justified loot box controversies, at least they allowed Surveillance players to earn cosmetics for free.

And the ugly

At this time, we don’t know what Blizzard plans to charge for each piece of Monitor 2. This includes the actual Premium Battle Pass price and individual cosmetic prices in the in-game store. Monitor 2 already has a pack that players can purchase called Watchpoint Pack. This comes with the Premium Battle Pass for Season 1, two legendary skins, 2,000 of the new currency, and a player icon. It also gives players immediate access to the Monitor 2 beta and a copy of Overwatch Legendary Edition. It’ll set you back $40 USD, and that admittedly seems steep for what’s on offer.

Overwatch 2 cosmetics and features

It is important to note that seasons 1 to 3 of Monitor 2The Premium Battle Passes are priced at 1,000 virtual currencies each, which raises further concerns. Blizzard has yet to discuss the possibility of making money from the Premium Battle Pass, and the focus on Seasons 1-3 costing 1,000 VC suggests the price could go up down the line. Infinite Halo recently saw incremental price increases for its in-game cosmetics, which goes against developer 343 Industries responding to fan criticism a few months prior. It’s not hard to imagine a similar situation with Blizzard and Monitor 2.

Blizzard has traditionally been slow to roll out new content, which is another problem. A free live game should constantly produce new content on a regular cadence. When Blizzard stopped providing major updates to Surveillancethe quality of new cosmetics has also become more inconsistent. Monitor 2 tries to deliver new cosmetics, maps, heroes, and updates every nine weeks as part of its seasonal pattern, and that gives us pause. Can the studio really follow a high-quality content release schedule like this, given that it couldn’t for the previous game?


Cosmetics are a big part of the attractiveness of the Surveillance series, so it would be a shame to see Blizzard drop the ball on them with poor monetization practices and a track record that can’t be delivered. Blizzard has a lot of work to do to prove that Monitor 2 and its cosmetics can thrive in a free-to-play model.

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