Overwatch 2 is launching its free-to-play, early access PvP mode at the start of October – and saying goodbye to Overwatch.
Blizzard is splitting up the Overwatch 2 release, with the long-anticipated PvE coming sometime in 2023. But the free-to-play PvP is coming to consoles and PC first, on Tuesday, October 4.
We’re going to see a ton of new features rolling out after launch, like a new guild system, battle pass (that takes a lot of grinding to progress through), and new characters. But we’ll also see some things scrapped, and for the better. Loot boxes are out and the original Overwatch as we know it will be replaced by Overwatch 2 entirely.
Overwatch 2 release time
Overwatch 2 free-to-play PvP goes live on Tuesday, October 4, and replaces the original Overwatch outright. There will be a whopping 27-hour window of downtime between the Overwatch 1 servers going offline and Overwatch 2 servers going live, so use that as you will.
A forum post (opens in new tab) has helpfully dug up the text in the Overwatch 1 client laying out the approximate time that Overwatch 2 goes live. So bar anything going terribly awry, here’s when you can expect to start playing in your time zone:
- 11am PST
- 2pm EST
- 7pm BST
- 8pm CEST
When does Overwatch 1 shut down?
Overwatch will be going offline before Overwatch 2 goes live. So there’ll be an interim void that you can use a mourning period, to go get some fresh air, or to dabble in Destiny 2 while you wait.
Blizzard has confirmed that Sunday, October 2 is the last full day that Overwatch 1 players can enjoy the game. The servers will go offline on Monday, October 3, and thanks to the same forum post giving the approximate hour in the Pacific time zone, we can figure out the rest from there. So here’s when Overwatch 1 servers go offline in your time zone:
- 8am PST
- 11am EST
- 4pm BST
- 5pm CEST
Preparing for Overwatch 2
There are a few things you can do to ready yourself for the Overwatch 2 launch before the servers go live – and before the Overwatch 1 servers go offline forever.
Pre-install Overwatch 2
First up is the most obvious: pre-load. It’s best practice to download and install games as soon as you’re able to these days, so you’re not wasting time waiting around when you could be playing. In order to pre-install Overwatch 2, you either need to already own Overwatch 1 or have bought the Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Pack.
There are different pre-install dates and times for PC and console players. PC players can pre-load Overwatch 2 from Friday, September 30 at 1.30pm PST / 4.30pm EST / 9.30pm BST / 10.30pm CEST.
If you’re playing on console, you can pre-load Overwatch 2 a few hours before it goes live on Tuesday, October 4 from 9am PST / 12pm EST / 5pm BST / 6pm CEST.
Everyone else will have to wait for Overwatch 2 servers to go live and start installing then.
Enable Overwatch 1 and Overwatch 2 cross-progression
Overwatch players will be pleased to know that they can carry over all stats, ranks, and skins to Overwatch 2. To do so, you’ll need to merge your accounts and get it all set up, so definitely do this well in advance of Overwatch 2 going live.
This one is for console players, who may only have an Overwatch account. For Overwatch 2, players across all platforms will be required to have a Battle.net account. If you don’t have one set up yet, you should get on that. There are a few things to bear in mind when merging accounts, with the most important being that you only have one opportunity to merge console accounts. So give the official FAQ (opens in new tab) a thorough read before you launch into it.
Link your battle.net account with your phone number
Blizzard’s new anti-cheat system means that all Overwatch 2 players will need to link their phone number to their battle.net account. Not everyone is happy about it, but it’s there to ward off cheaters and stop repeat offenders.
This also goes for players who own the box version of Overwatch. There’s no escaping it. It comes into effect from October 4, so make sure you attach your number to your account before Overwatch 2 servers go live or you won’t be able to play.