When Overwatch 2 releases, new players must unlock the original game’s roster. Blizzard’s new First Time User Experience will task those new to the franchise to unlock classic characters in a process that takes around 100 matches to complete (around three matches per character).
New Overwatch 2 players will have to grind for the original roster
Blizzard details the decision to make new Overwatch 2 players unlock the original roster in a blog post on the official website. It’s part of an initiative to “disincentivize disruptive behavior and gameplay” dubbed Defense Matrix.
Since Overwatch 2 is free-to-play, the hero grind is meant to prevent longtime players of the original game from making new accounts to engage in smurfing. This is a common issue in games with skill and level-based matchmaking, which can ruin the experience for those new to the game.
Blizzard hopes that new accounts not having access to the full original roster will make smurfing less palatable. The big question we have at this point is whether heroes will unlock randomly or not.
The devs seem to be going all in on measures against toxic behavior. This includes taking away portrait borders displayed before competitive matches. The full list of changes (and there are a lot) is described in the blog post.