Overwatch 2, a modern relaunch of Blizzard’s hero shooter launched in 2016, is just days away from release. It promises to shake up the Overwatch experience in several important ways, and ultimately represents the dawn of a new era for the award-winning title. While it’s less of a sequel and more of a massive update to the game’s foundations, Overwatch 2 still offers fans plenty to get excited about.
In the days leading up to the full launch of Overwatch 2, many fans have been wondering when the game will go live, as well as how big it will be and when it will be available to preload. In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know so you can be ready to play on release.
What is Overwatch 2?
While the title “Overwatch 2” implies that the game is a sequel, it’s more accurate to think of it as a huge update to the original game that overhauls its core systems and shifts it to a new business model. The biggest change it brings is the change from a 6v6 format to a 5v5 format, removing one tank hero from each team. This was done to promote more active gameplay, as matches would often stall in the original game due to the power of strategies like “double shield” with two tank heroes.
To compensate for this, tank heroes have been buffed so they can play solo effectively, and damage and support characters have also received some big tweaks. Overwatch 2 also drastically reduced or removed most of the game’s stun and crowd control abilities in an effort to make instant gameplay less frustrating. For a full breakdown of how each character has been changed, see our Overwatch 2 Hero Changes and Reworks guide.
Overwatch 2 is also making Blizzard’s hero shooter free and replacing its aging loot box system with 80-tier seasonal Battle Passes similar to those found in games like Apex Legends and Valorant. There’s a $10 Free and Premium version of Battle Passes, and both offer cosmetic rewards, the latter offering instant access to new heroes, a 20% XP boost, and a new type of unlock called Mythic skins. which are highly customizable. Free users, on the other hand, can unlock new heroes by reaching level 55 on the Battle Pass from which they are available.
Free and Premium users will level up their Battle Pass by earning XP, which is done by playing normally and completing relatively simple daily and weekly in-game challenges (think “Block 100,000 damage” or “Deal or boost 150 000 damage”). Completed challenges also award Overwatch Coins that you can spend in the in-game store, though Overwatch Coins can also be purchased with real money (the going rate for them is 100 Overwatch Coins per dollar spent). The Store is also where Premium Battle Passes are purchased, meaning players can earn enough in-game currency to occasionally purchase Premium access without spending any money.
Seasons of Overwatch 2 will last nine weeks each and will always bring at least one new hero, map, or game mode to the game. Blizzard has promised that a new hero will always be added to the game every two seasons. Fans can therefore expect a new character to play every six months.
Overwatch 2 launch time and release date
Activision Blizzard has announced that Overwatch 2 will be rolling out universally on October 4, 2022, meaning the game will go live for everyone at the same time. Players in the US will be able to play the game in the afternoon, while some in Eastern regions will have to wait until the morning of October 5 to kick in due to time zone differences.
Use of official information provided by Blizzard, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of Overwatch 2 launch times and dates for all major time zones in the table below. Note that issues with the game’s rollout may cause changes to this timeline, which we’ll update this article with as needed.
|Time zone||Expected exit time|
|Pacific Time (PT)||Oct. 4, 12:00 p.m.|
|Mountain Time (MT)||October 4, 1:00 p.m.|
|Central Time (CT)||Oct. 4, 2 p.m.|
|Eastern Time (ET)||October 4, 3:00 p.m.|
|Brasília Time (BRT)||Oct. 4, 4 p.m.|
|Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)||October 4, 7:00 p.m.|
|British Summer Time (BST)||October 4, 8:00 p.m.|
|Central European Summer Time (CEST)||October 4, 9:00 p.m.|
|Moscow Time (MSK)||October 4, 10:00 p.m.|
|Gulf Standard Time (GST)||October 4, 11:00 p.m.|
|India Standard Time (IST)||October 5, 12:30 a.m.|
|Singapore Standard Time (SNST)||October 5, 3:00 a.m.|
|China Standard Time (CST)||October 5, 3:00 a.m.|
|Japan Standard Time (JST)||October 5, 4:00 a.m.|
|Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST)||October 5, 5:00 a.m.|
|New Zealand Standard Time (NZST)||October 5, 8:00 a.m.|
When does ‘Overwatch 1’ end?
To prepare for the arrival of Overwatch 2, the client for “Overwatch 1” is going offline just over 24 hours before the launch of the new game. Specifically, Blizzard has confirmed that the original Overwatch shuts down Oct. 3 around 9:00 a.m. PT / 12:00 p.m. ET. Overwatch will then be unavailable until the release of Overwatch 2 the following day.
Note that since merging Overwatch accounts requires you to log into the game client, it is important that you do so before the game shuts down. For more details on how to do this, be sure to follow our guide on how to merge accounts for Overwatch 2.
Overwatch 2 download size
Blizzard has revealed Overwatch 2’s download size ahead of the game’s upcoming launch, and like the original game, it’s not this great compared to other modern games like Call of Duty. The game will require about 30 GB of space on consoles like Xbox Series X|S and PS5, while you’ll need about 50 GB of PC space.
Note that you should also make sure you have some extra free space, as Overwatch 2 updates over time will likely increase the amount of space it takes up on your system. This will save you from having to deal with a storage problem down the line.
Preloading Overwatch 2
The Overwatch 2 developers are giving players the option to preload the game before release so they can play the second the servers go live. However, the ability to preload the game is only available to players who own a copy of the original Overwatch or have purchased the Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Bundle. Preload times are also different depending on whether or not you’re using a console or PC to play.
Existing players and Watchpoint Pack owners on PC will be able to preload Overwatch 2 on 1:30 p.m. PT / 4:30 p.m. ET September 30, a few days before its launch. Meanwhile, existing players and Watchpoint Pack owners on console will have to wait until 9am PT / 12pm ET on its October 4 release day to start preloading. If you’re a new player on either platform who doesn’t own the Watchpoint Pack, you can download the game when it goes live at 12:00 PM PT / 3:00 PM ET on October 4th.
Overwatch 2 will launch for Xbox Series X|S, PS5, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch on October 4, 2022. It will likely be one of the best xbox shooters available, and since it’s free, it doesn’t cost anything to check it out. Alternatively, players can purchase the Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Bundle which grants access to the Season 1 Battle Pass Premium, 2,000 Overwatch Coins, and a set of unique Legendary Skins.