Blizzard Announces Kiriko Free Giveaway Amid Battle Pass Controversy

Kiriko stands in front of a Japanese-style village.

Image: blizzard

Blizzard has just announced that a new (and leaked wide) character ninja Kiriko will be free for everyone Overwatch 2 players who already have a copy of the original Overwatch. While it seems like cause for joy, the controversial free-to-play sequel has decided to block access to most future characters. behind the battle pass system was less well received. In new comments posted today, Blizzard executives explained why they think the new system will eventually prove acceptable.

“What we actually see in the data is that the majority of players in Overwatch spend most of their game time on two or fewer heroes.” John Spector, Vice President observer, told various press during a media call. “And you can get 99.9% of the game time for most of our players with 12 or fewer heroes.”

So, this is the official version of why Blizzard considers the transition from the original justified. Overwatchmodel for giving each character to all players in a system that locks new heroes behind the battle pass: Original Overwatch players have not played enough different characters, so most likely they will not miss them.

But there are a few mixed messages going on. Characters are still the backbone of how Blizzard monetizes the new game. OverwatchGeneral manager Walter Kong told the press at the event that “Heroes is the most exciting content we have in the game… We want to be able to continuously invest in this gaming service. From a business standpoint, it’s not free.”

To be sure there will be a little starting free bonuses for both new and regular players. The new heroes Sojourn and Junker Queen will be unlocked for free for all Season 1 players, while the ninja support character Kiriko will be free for players who own the original. Overwatch. But new players who want to try Kiriko will either have to pay $10 for a premium battle pass or upgrade the free one to level 55. At the very least, they will still be able to play all 32 characters from the original roster.

Read more: Everything shown during Overwatch 2 “Expand” event

Kiriko is a healer capable of dealing decent critical damage and supporting her allies in the midst of a firefight. was described as the “combat healer” of the Genji network. This hints at a major change in how Blizzard will develop new heroes as they actively try to prevent situations where one character can act as a “hard counter” to another.

“We’re trying to get some of those really hard rock-paper-scissors interactions out of the game, and [replace] they have more choice for players,” said game director Aaron Keller. Polygon. “We buffed our support heroes to make them more durable.”

Reducing addiction Overwatch is on the counters generally sounds like a positive move, locking out an ever-increasing share of the hero roster behind Battle Pass tiers, free or premium, seems like a step backwards for player choice.

Overwatch 2 will be released on October 4 this year.

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