Overwatch 2 will get rid of one of the first game's most infamous elements. Blizzard has confirmed at a reveal event that that the new team-based shooter won't have loot boxes when it premieres October 4th. Instead, you'll get the items you want through either a Battle Pass or a "consistently updated" in-game store. You won't have to roll the dice wondering if you'll get a special character skin or emote.
Blizzard also used the event to show what you can expect for the first two seasons. The developer will provide free updates every nine weeks to keep things fresh, with progression applying across game platforms. The first season will include three new heroes (Sojourn, Junker Queen and an unidentified third), six more maps, 30-plus extra skins and a new game mode. The second season, kicking off December 6th, will add a new take hero, another map and still more cosmetics. In 2023, you can expect a new "PvE experience" that advances the story.
The approach to loot boxes is a relative about-face. The company has kept the random boxes in Overwatch ever since launch, and has been defensive. Blizzard even refused to release Diablo Immortal in Belgium and the Netherlands due to those countries' laws banning loot box mechanics as a form of gambling. With Overwatch 2, the team is acknowledging the backlash.
There might not have been much choice. Overwatch has maintained a largely steady player count and even grown slightly over the years, with ActivePlayer.io data indicating an average of 7.2 million players per month as of May. However, it's no secret that some players hate loot boxes and might be wary of playing the new game if they persist. As it stands, US agencies like the Federal Trade Commission have investigated loot box systems in the past. Whatever the motivations for scrapping the boxes, the decision could help Blizzard avoid legal trouble in its home country.