Overwatch 2 beta coming in April as Blizzard splits PvE, PvP content

Blizzard announces that it is changing the release plan to Overwatch 2” separating” the PvP and PvE elements in an attempt to get the sequel’s competitive multiplayer content into the hands of players more quickly while it continues to work on single-player and co-op content.

Overwatch Game Director Aaron Keller has announced a strategy change for Overwatch 2 in Thursday’s update. He revealed that the new alpha test will be playable by “Blizzard staff, Overwatch League professionals, and a few other select groups” and that the upcoming beta will launch in all regions to a wider but still closed audience.

“This closed beta will feature a large group of testers who we’ll be asking for feedback on gameplay,” Keller said. “Our goal at this stage is to test our new features, content, and systems before we move on to stress testing servers with a wider player base in future beta tests.”

Players can register for the beta test at the game site.

When Overwatch 2 was originally announced, Blizzard was focusing on adding PvE content in the form of heroes and story missions that would appear in the sequel. The developer said that it is “creating the collaborative, story-driven game that players have been asking for since the original came out and that we’ve wanted to do for a long time.” These missions will also give players a new type of development and character customization, giving Overwatch’s heroes and villains new, super-powerful co-op abilities. It is currently unclear how Blizzard plans to implement PvP and PvE elements in Overwatch 2 separately.

During the months from Overwatch 2announcement, updates to the original Overwatch were scarce. During this time, Blizzard added only one new hero, Echo, and two deathmatch maps, Kanezaka and Malevento. Overwatch Instead, players supported themselves with Blizzard’s implementation of in-game challenges, seasonal events, and experimental mode patches that resulted in minor hero overhauls.

Activision Blizzard said in November that it was giving the Overwatch team “additional time to complete production and further build on their creative resources to support the games post-launch,” acknowledging the turmoil and staff turnover at Blizzard contributed to the game’s longer-than-expected development.

Activision Blizzard is currently facing multiple lawsuits and federal investigations and is also calling for its CEO Bobby Kotick to step down amid serious allegations of sexual harassment and attacks against the publisher and its studios, including Blizzard. These allegations, and Activision Blizzard’s handling of the allegations, have seen several corporate sponsors distance themselves from Activision Blizzard and its Overwatch esports league in recent months.

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