Overwatch 2 getting huge change to tanks and damage heroes, who will self-heal soon

Big changes are coming to Overwatch 2 in the game’s next season as Blizzard Entertainment experiments with ways to shake up its hero shooter. Some of those changes are being tested right now, thanks to a weekend-long event called Quick Play: Hacked, in which the rules of Quick Play mode have been altered to make games much, much faster.

But in season 9 of Overwatch 2, which should launch in mid-February, Blizzard is making an even bigger change that could have game-wide effects. Next season, both Tank and Damage heroes will get a “modified, tuned-down version of the Support self-healing passive,” Overwatch game director Aaron Keller announced Friday. While some Overwatch 2 heroes can self-heal, more of the roster won’t have to rely on Support characters to keep them alive.

“This should give non-Support players more options in terms of sustaining themselves,” Keller explained. “It should also take some of the pressure off Support players to keep everyone alive since individual players now have more control of their own health pool.”

Keller prefaced this major change to Tank and Damage heroes by addressing how frustrating it can be when players aren’t focusing on teamwork.

“When a team works together — each player using their hero to their fullest potential while relying on each other to execute a strategy — the game feels magical,” Keller said. “However, when this isn’t happening and players are all working on their own, the game is far from magical and can become frustrating. The reliance on teammates can simultaneously be one of the best and worst attributes of our game.”

That frustration can go both ways. Tank and Damage heroes will often look to their Support players to help keep them alive, while Support players pressure the rest of the team to position themselves wisely, where they can be easily reached and healed.

An example of a Support UI from Lucio’s perspective, showing Party Frame health indicators in Overwatch 2’s canceled PvE mode
A version of this UI may be coming to more Overwatch 2 modes
Image: Blizzard Entertainment

One other possible change may also reduce frustration, particularly from the Support side. The on-screen health indicators of your teammates, which are displayed in PvE events (but not in core competitive Overwatch 2 modes) may be coming to PvP modes. Keller calls them “Party Frames” and lists it among other possible features “that will make it easier for players to work together as a team.” He also mentions “backfill improvements, changes to our scoreboard, and ways to mitigate spawn camping” as under discussion.

Those are all substantive changes for Overwatch 2 in 2024, which will also include the addition of at least two more heroes — Venture and a character codenamed Space Ranger — and changes to how the game’s Battle Pass system works.

“When I look at the future of Overwatch, a year or two out, I don’t see the exact same game that we’re playing now, but with a few more heroes and maps added to it,” Keller said. “The game should always evolve with new systems and features that serve our players.”