Overwatch isn’t free to play because heroes are for everyone

3 min read


Everybody wants to be the hero these days. It’s not enough to escape the soul-crushing reality of your existence as a generic shooter or foot-stabber, you need to actually be somebody that matters, because that’s what it’s all about. But enough about American Idols, a TV show which would be infinitely better if the judges were replaced by Daleks.

The Blizzard blitzkrieg of news continues, and amidst all the StarCraft and WarCraft news out of BlizzCon, Overwatch is dominating the news like an Unreal Tournament player on a kill-streak. There’s been a lot of talk about Blizzard adopting a premium price stance on Overwatch, a game with MOBA tendencies that seems to obviously geared towards the freemium market.

But it’s the use of heroes and Blizzard’s policy of making a game open to as many people as possible, that seems to be the reason behind the current price tag.

“From the beginning, we knew this was a game all about heroes,” Principle designer Scott Mercer said to Kotaku.

As we continued to work on it and add more heroes to it, hero-switching became a really key component. To really provide for a breadth of heroes to allow for that switching—to let people look at the other team and say, ‘OK, let’s change our lineup a little bit’—became core to Overwatch.

To support that, we need to have our 21 heroes [for everyone]. Not just, like, one tank, one support, one ranged character or something. You’ve got multiple different tanks and whatnot.

We want people to have enough options that they feel like they’re not at a super huge disadvantage.

Either way you look at it, you can’t please everyone. Some people like the idea of paying a once-off price for a game, because that gives it a sense of worth. Other people like not paying for anything and getting a glorified demo, because free stuff is awesome. It’s one thing to make money on launch, but Blizzard is going to have a challenge on their hands when it needs to start balancing the cost of keeping Overwatch running.

Read  Check out every single Overwatch League skin you can get right now

Or even keeping people interested in the long run. Hell, just ask the guys at Evolve. I’ll tell you what though: I’d pay easy cash-dolla to use Diablo in Overwatch. Because I happen to have “Sucka” tattooed to my forehead.

Last Updated: November 9, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

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  • “Overwatch isn’t free to play because heroes are for everyone.”

    Clearly they still pretend Dota 2 doesn’t exist after they lost that lawsuit to Valve.

    • They have HotS to sorta contend with Dota2. Overwatch is different.

      • By pay-walling every hero in the game, just like LoL (or unlocking them by grinding your ass off).

        Their current argument is that it can’t be free to play because they want everyone to have access to the heroes.

        Dota 2 is doing just fine while giving all their players access to all the heroes.

        And if you think for a moment that there is going to be a shit tonne of cosmetic micro transactions in this game, guess again.

        Evolve is basically the shittest version of the model they want to go for.

        • While I do agree that Dota has the best model for a F2P game. But you gotta admit that LoL has more updates and gains way more extra features all the time while Dota stays the same (apart from new engine).

          The rest of your rant is pure conjecture so I will hold off on any thoughts for now.

          • Vince Chinner

            This is simply untrue… there are multiple big updates throughout the year. As for gains, I am not sure how you would compare that…

            More features? This is where it gets me. Maybe you are referring to masteries? Lets for one moment just ignore the custom games which itself disproves your opinion. Dota has a trophy (achievements) system, Gems (stats counting), 11 game modes and most importantly a much better in-game watching system.

            So I will disaggree with you 😛

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Before you try, you can’t buy it with tracing paper D.

  • Hammersteyn

    I like what they did with HOTS. Earn gold to buy the heroes you want plus there’s random ones you can try every week. Guess there’s no way this could work here? Then again, people are content to pay $60 for team deathmatch but not for MOBA games

    • Mobas came to the world semi free from the get go. (provided you overlooked the fact that you were using a somewhat unsavory version of WC3.)

  • afterthefaux

    If you think for one second that this game will never add paid heroes then you’re delusional. It’s freaking Activision-Blizzard. Money goes first.

    • Blizzard and Activision have the same parent company but are individual business units and act completely separate from each other. That is why you have yet to see Acti-Blizz Con. (Well that and the amount of CoD Cosplayers that would be killed would cause an international incident.). Money may go first but they have not really ever screwed over their fans (apart from wow subs and that brief AH D3 fiasco).

  • Evolve had 3 maps 5 character and bland gameplay.

    Not saying Overwatch will be better but they already have dozens of maps and 21 characters.

  • You can’t hide your claws forever Activision. True blizz fans know a parasite when they see one.

    • Ouch. Show me on this doll where CoD touched you.

      • *reaches for my copy of Ghosts
        *Takes doll

        • I am happy to report I have not bought a CoD since 5. Think it was world at war or something. The last WW2 CoD. the one that intriduced Zombie mode.

          • I did it on a stupid whim… Worst buyers remorse I have ever had.

          • Same. As soon as they removed LAN support, I was done :/

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            I’ve NEVER bought a CoD

  • SmurFyZA

    I will basically have my Credit Card linked to Overwatch. Cant wait for the game to launch!

  • I’m Over Watching this game now to be honest. (see what I did thar?? :D)

    I was really hoping they would do the LoL model. I don’t like playing every character so I’d rather specialize in the one ones I like and earn/buy them. Not all of them. I did it with Heroes of Newerth AND Smite. I regretted HoN, not so much with Smite because I play quite a few of them but still there are heroes I have no interest in playing at all.

  • HairyEwok

    It’s cool and all but will there be South African servers for us scrubs down below.

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