Overwatch devs uncertain on new balance updates for existing game amid OW2 rollout

Overwatch gameplayBlizzard

With the gradual Overwatch 2 rollout now in focus, Team 4 developers have refused to commit to any new balance passes for the original game moving forward.

After years of patiently waiting for any new content, the very first Overwatch 2 PVP Beta finally went live on April 26 for select players — for better or worse.

This initial preview gave fans access to 5v5 gameplay, a new hero in Sojourn, along with a handful of reworked kits for existing heroes. While a good amount is already changing for the next Beta build, those without access and those dedicated to the original game have been left behind.

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Outside of some recolored skins in the Remix ‘events’, the existing Overwatch live service hasn’t been all too lively since the sequel came into focus.

Recognizing as much, Geoff Goodman and Josh Noh of the Overwatch team explained why the base game is in a difficult position and why no further balance changes may ever reach the first game.

Overwatch Ehco gameplayBlizzard
It’s been 26 months since the latest hero, Echo arrived in Overwatch 1.

“Will we see balance changes to Overwatch while we’re rolling out Overwatch 2?” British content creator SVB asked during a June 1 Q&A with the Blizzard staff.

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“I don’t know to be honest,” Goodman replied, pondering their plans to support the original game now in its seventh year.

While no new content is planned for the base version of Overwatch, since all eyes are on the upcoming sequel, it now appears no balance updates are in the pipeline to keep things fresh for dedicated players.

“I think it’s a reasonable ask,” Goodman continued. Though he admitted it’s “hard” to prioritize the existing game when “so many resources [are] focused on Overwatch 2.”

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Overwatch 2 gameplayBlizzard
Overwatch 2 is now in full focus, with multiple Betas lined up ahead of a full release down the line.

With the team knuckling down on not only new PVP builds for the sequel, but also the ambitious PVE offering, devs were hesitant to lock in any plans for Overwatch 1.

“I don’t want to commit to anything,” Goodman said.

“No commitment,” Noh doubled down moments later.

“I really would like to do a balance patch for Overwatch but the timing of it is kind of tricky. You don’t want to take too much away from the Beta.

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“If you want to make bigger changes, you need resources from other game development disciplines. Animation, VFX, sound, and they’re all kind of hyper-focused on Overwatch 2 right now.”

Overwatch devs discuss balance updates at the 59:54 mark below.

Devs themselves were also unsure how they’d implement changes to the current game, if new balance passes were to go ahead. 

“There’s also the question of do these changes we make to the live service roll into Overwatch 2?” Noh said.

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So without any plans for further changes and uncertainty on how it may even be handled, it’s best to set expectations as low as possible. Overwatch 2 and its many upcoming Beta periods are no doubt the focus moving forward, and we already know of some major changes to expect in the next build.

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