Three years ago Overwatch 2 was officially revealed at Blizzcon 2019, and after all that time the game is finally getting its first beta test. It’s been a long wait for new content- the first title hasn’t had a major update since the hero Echo was added in April 2020. It looks like there are some pretty big reworks and changes coming with Overwatch 2, including an overall shift from six-versus-six matches to five-versus-five, as well as the addition of a massive new PvE mode. For anyone looking to jump into the beta here’s everything you need to know about the start and end times, hero changes, and more.
Overwatch 2 beta start and end time
The Overwatch 2 beta is scheduled to start on April 26 and will focus exclusively on PvP. Unfortunately, this beta is only available to PC players, so console players will have to sit out for now. Players can “opt-in” for the beta on the official website, but keep in mind that doesn’t guarantee you’ll be chosen to participate in the beta. An FAQ on the site explains how players are chosen by saying “beta testers are chosen based on a variety of factors, including (but not limited to) your Battle.net region, when you signed up, and your computer hardware specifications.” It’s also important to say that players need to own a copy of the first Overwatch in order to participate in the beta.
Blizzard hasn’t provided an end date for the Overwatch 2 beta, but if it’s anything like the beta for the first game it could last a while. The first beta for Overwatch ran all the way from October 27, 2015, to January 21, 2016, and another beta ran for a few months up until a couple of weeks before the game’s official release. Considering Blizzard hasn’t announced an end date, it’s likely the Overwatch 2 beta will run for at least a few weeks, with more tests planned for the future.
Minimum and Recommended Specs
Considering the Overwatch 2 beta is only on PC, you’ll want to make sure your rig is up to speed before you jump in. Below are the minimum and recommended specs provided by Blizzard.
- Operating System: Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Windows 10 64-bit
- Processor: Intel Core i3 or AMD Phenom™ X3 8650
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 series, AMD Radeon™ HD 7000 series
- Memory: 6 GB RAM
- Storage: 50 GB available hard drive space
- Operating System: Windows® 10 64-bit (latest Service Pack
- Processor: Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 5
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD R9 380
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Storage: 50 GB available hard drive space
Overwatch 2 new 5 vs 5 matches
By far the biggest change coming with Overwatch 2 is a change from six-versus-six matches to five-versus-five, which will drastically change the overall feel. Now each team will consist of two DPS, two supports, and one tank. Tank characters are getting the biggest overhauls in Overwatch 2, right down to the way the class itself works. The change has proven divisive among the community, but at the very least it will make matches easier to follow for spectators. In a PvP livestream from 2021, Overwatch director Aaron Keller explained that this change should make it easier to keep track of everything.
The change could make Overwatch 2 more accessible for players not experienced with the first game, and interestingly Blizzard doesn’t plan on overhauling previous maps. The beta will give us our best look yet at how the new player counts could affect the core gameplay.
New heroes and hero reworks
Overwatch 2’s beta will feature the entire cast of 32 heroes from the original as well as one brand new hero, Sojourn. An original member of the Overwatch team and the first Canadian hero, Sojourn is a quick hero that has an incredibly useful powerslide ability. Here’s a quick overview of the hero’s abilities.
- Railgun (Primary Fire) - Rapid firing projectiles that generate energy on impact.
- Railgun (Secondary Fire) - High impact shot that consumes stored energy.
- Power Slide - A ground slide that can cancel into a high jump.
- Disruptor shot - Launch an energy shot that slows and deals damage to enemies within it.
- Overlock (Ultimate) - Railgun energy auto-charges for a short duration and charged shots pierce enemies.
In terms of reworks for existing heroes, Blizzard has detailed some sizable changes for Doomfist, Orisa, Bastion, and Sombra. Below you can see the major changes coming to each character, as provided by Blizzard. There are bound to be plenty of other massive changes to other heroes, but we likely won’t know those until the beta actually goes live.