Blizzard dropped a developer blog today detailing some of the changes coming to Overwatch 2. While there’s a lot of good stuff in there, it’s the developer’s new first-time user experience scheme that is concerning. Dubbed FTUE (First Time User Experience), it effectively makes new Overwatch 2 players to unlock all 32 original heroes from scratch.
In the blog post Blizzard explains its reasoning for implementing this system. It has received “consistent feedback,” from new players that Overwatch 2 can feel overwhelming with all that’s included. This is due to a variety of factors, but a large contributor is the sheer amount of game modes and heroes.
Once live, the FTUE scheme will drip feed new Overwatch 2 players content as they play more games. It’s split up into two stages. The first stage will “rapidly” unlock and provide access to the now locked game modes and the ability to chat in-game.
Following that is stage two. Stage two begins the process of unlocking the original 32 heroes from the first Overwatch. Completing this stage and gaining access to all of the heroes is expected to take around 100 matches. Until then, new players will not be able to take advantage of the same hero pool as returning players.
Is FTUE only about making Overwatch 2 more accessible?
If we are to believe this new design is being integrated for accessibility purposes, Blizzard’s reasoning kind of makes sense. However, there is another perspective that might explain another reason why the FTUE is coming to Overwatch 2.
In this day and age player retention is everything. Keeping players engaged with your product increases the likelihood of them buying into it. New players are the hardest to keep around, as there’s just so much competition on the market. Drip feeding content to a new player seems like an excellent way of keeping them around as they work towards unlocking the hero they want most.
That’s not to say that this doesn’t help accessibility to some degree. Overwatch can get overwhelming. Even outside of the competitive game modes there are a lot of subtleties and smaller things that a new player could struggle with understanding. After all, Overwatch is a complex team-based shooter. The same applies to other similar games like Valorant, CS:GO, and Rainbow Six Siege.
If the FTUE has the effect on Overwatch 2 that Blizzard is anticipating, it could be good. It’s just that with Blizzard’s recent endeavors, it’s easy to be skeptical and assume the worst. Hopefully, we’re proven wrong, and this encourages new players to stick around.