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OverwatchMay 21, 2021 10:00 am CT

Tank changes are coming to Overwatch 2

Big changes are coming to the way tanks work in Overwatch 2. The PVP section of the game will be moving to a 5 v 5 format with only one dedicated tank spot. This necessitates a big shift in how tanks will approach the game, and how you’ll have to react to that Zarya who’s pushing into your front line.

Currently, the established gameplay meta around tanks is that you’ll have one main tank whose job is to soak up as much attention as possible while preventing as much damage as possible, with a secondary tank there to disrupt the enemy team as much as possible. Reinhardt would be the main tank who uses his shield to block damage, while his off-tank Roadhog is busy on the edge of the fight looking to use their hook to yoink someone out of position. Now all of the tanks are going to have to be changed so that they can function in that main role.

The big thing is that they want the tank players to feel more impactful. Right now if you’re spending all of your time as Reinhardt or Orisa just putting shields out for your team, it can feel like you’re not really contributing as much. The changes will go to making tanks feel a little more like brawlers do in Heroes of the Storm — big tough targets that can stand toe to toe with the enemy team while putting out damage and disrupting their formation.

Making tanks tankier

We saw a few of those changes already in their recent PVP live stream. Main tanks like Winston and Reinhardt are getting more long-range attacks, while the off-tanks Zarya and D.Va are getting some tweaks to their defensive abilities.

Winston is getting a new charged lightning blast that shoots a single bolt, giving him more options to deal with fleeing people — and people more than three feet away from him. Reinhardt has picked up a second use of his Fire Strike ability to help dish out some more damage. Reinhardt has also gotten more control over his charge. He’ll have tighter turns on it which gives him a better chance of pinning someone to a wall. You’ll also be able to cancel his charge early, so if you’ve realized mid-charge that the person you thought was alone really has their whole team to back them up, you’ll be able to stop short and put your shield up to hopefully back out. Or you’ll be able to charge towards the enemy team with your Earthshatter ultimate charged up, stop right in front of all of them — and bring that hammer down!

For the other tanks, D.Va will be getting more energy for her Defense Matrix so she’ll be able to block more damage for her team — and really annoy that enemy Pharah who just unleashed her Rocket Barrage — while Zarya’s shield charges are getting tweaked. Right now she has one charge of a shield for a friend, and one charge of a shield for herself. Now she’ll just have two charges. She could use both of those charges to put shields on herself, or she could put two shields out on other teammates — or even shield the same person twice in a row. If you’ve got a Genji who just used Dragon Blade you’ll be able to give him the extra help necessary to survive through everything the enemy team is throwing at him.

Don’t worry if I didn’t mention your favorite tank. We didn’t see any play from Sigma or Orisa during the event, so they may not be ready to show off just yet. Keep in mind too that these are still changes from an unfinished version of the game and everything we saw is subject to change.

New passive role buffs

Alongside these specific tank changes, there are also new passive effects that will help each role perform a little better. Damage dealers will move slightly faster than everyone else. Healers will regen health after not having been in combat for a little while. This is similar to Mercy’s current passive effect, but will allow characters like Ana to get back into the fight faster.

For our tank friends, you’ll now be tougher to displace, suffering less pushback from things like Lucio’s Soundwave boop, Junkrat’s mines, or Pharah’s Concussion Rocket. Tanks will also generate less ultimate ability power for enemies who shoot you. This is part of what stopped tanks from getting into the thick of things before. Every engagement would have to be thought about in terms of how much faster the Hanzo or Soldier 76 could earn their ultimates just by having that nice big target. Getting those too quickly could lead to the game snowballing out of control — luckily that won’t be a problem anymore!

These changes are going to be a massive shakeup when Overwatch 2 eventually comes out. I’m excited to get my hands on the new and improved tanks. I will miss having a tank buddy at my side though. It’s nice having a partner in crime to charge into battle alongside.

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