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In context: Launches of high-profile games sometimes don't go as planned. Cyberpunk 2077 is a good example. These problematic releases send the developer scrambling to fix things, and usually, they do. However, Blizzard's launch of Overwatch 2 has been a disaster made worse by the developer itself.
On Monday, Blizzard said it was pulling two characters — Torbjörn and Bastion — from some game modes over issues that needed to be fixed. Kotaku noted that players could exploit Bastion to spam his ultimate ability at opponents. Likewise, players could use Torbjörn's Overloaded ability twice in a row.
These serious issues can ruin the game for players going up against these two heroes, and Blizzard was justified in removing them while it worked on a fix. However, about one-third of the other heroes got locked after disabling these two characters. Initially, some players complained of losing access to up to half of the heroes, but reports could have been exaggerated.
bastion buff in OW2 is wild pic.twitter.com/UXuwP4oIoU— Brandon Larned (@A_Seagull) October 8, 2022
At least 12 heroes became inaccessible to players who had unlocked them, including Doomfist, Sigma, Wrecking Ball, Ashe, Echo, Mei, Sombra, Symmetra, Zenyatta, Kiriko, Baptiste, and Brigitte. Players reported that restarting the game and rebooting their consoles didn't fix the problem.
Of course, this caused indignant outrage across the Twitterverse, with angry players spouting off on Blizzard to give them back their characters. The problem persisted until Blizzard shut the entire game down late last night for "emergency maintenance." It was back online by about 12 pm EDT with the roster restored.
"The team is aware of a new issue that prevents players from accessing all their owned heroes," Blizzard notified players in a forum post regarding known bugs. "This is caused by an issue with our servers that tracks player progression. We are working to get this issue resolved as quickly as possible."
Locked out of 18 of the roster in Overwatch 2 after buying the watchpoint pack to unlock them all. Sigh. pic.twitter.com/ca1BeORBkX— Tiffany Bunni (@tiffbun) October 11, 2022
The lockout does not appear to be related to the Torbjörn and Bastion removals, but the timing was terrible. After Blizzard acknowledged the issue, it took devs two hours to restore the roster, but players had been complaining about it for more than six hours. These issues are just the latest in a long list of inexcusable fumbles since Overwatch 2 launched a week ago.
First, it was hit with multiple DDoS attacks on launch day, causing players to wait in long queues to get on — that is, if they were lucky enough not to time out or get a login error. Then there was a massive fuss over Overwatch 2's mandatory two-factor authentication system SMS Protect that restricted players with pre-paid phones from starting the game. Then a chat bug started charging players randomly for skins with no confirmation for the purchase. And those are just issues that Blizzard has already fixed.
Perhaps the most infuriating is that it is pretty clear that Blizzard rushed Overwatch 2 out the door before it was ready. This is evident by reading all the "known launch issues" that the QA team pointed out before the game landed in players' download queues. It was a very sloppy release, and Blizzard's efforts to rectify the situation in some cases have created new problems or brought more attention to some of the more serious ones.
There are still plenty of problems that need addressing. Many of them beta testers reported as early as May.