Blizzard have said they’ve disabled the phone number account requirement for most Overwatch 2 players, following issues with registration for some. The company originally insisted on all players providing a phone number as part of the hero shooter’s new anti-cheat system, dubbed Defense Matrix. The planned change should go into effect from October 7th.
Starting with an apology and an acknowledgement that Overwatch 2’s launch hasn’t met player expectations, nor their own, Blizzard shared an update on issues they’re working on resolving that have cropped up since Tuesday’s launch. The areas they’re concentrating on are SMS registration, queuing, errors from account merging, and heroes being locked for players when they shouldn’t be. It’s quite a long list of problems, frankly.
Blizzard only revealed Overwatch 2’s phone registration requirement a week before the game’s launch. Since then, it’s emerged that some players on pre-paid phone plans in the US haven’t been able to register their number with Battle.net, as Blizzard doesn’t recognise the provider. The changes to phone registration for Overwatch 2 will mean that only players who don’t have an existing connected Battle.net account will need to register their number. Anyone who’s played Overwatch since June 9th, 2021 shouldn’t need to provide theirs.
The Overwatch 2 devs also say they’re dealing with the long queues and server crashes experienced by many people trying to play the game over the past few days. The queuing problems are partly down to the existence of two separate queues, one for Battle.net and another for the game itself. Blizzard say they’ve now simplified things so there’s just one queue. They’ve also patched a server that should make logging in more reliable, and are working to prevent people being disconnected once they’re playing.
Account merging issues are being dealt with as well, Blizzard promise. About half of these are on console and should already be fixed thanks to a UI fix, while the other half is a matter of time needed to transfer items and unlocks over to Overwatch 2 from the first game. Another issue that was troubling people trying to merge their console and PC accounts has been sorted out already, but Blizzard advise anyone who should have their unlocked heroes and items but hasn't yet to try relogging into the game. That’s happening because Overwatch 2 was mistaking existing users for new ones.
Blizzard confirmed that several DDoS attacks had made matters worse on launch day, as Graham reported, although no more attacks have been aimed at Overwatch 2 since then. You can read the full status update from Blizzard here, and a list of all known issues here.
Ollie’s been playing the game as much as he can this week, but just wanted it to stop getting in its own way in his Overwatch 2 review-in-progress. “So much damage has already been done to the game simply by calling it Overwatch 2,” he said. “From the second of its announcement, Blizzard were at the mercy of players' expectations for a full-fledged sequel. And when they compare those two side-by-side screenshots and see virtually no difference, that's a major disappointment and perhaps a turn-off for many players.”
Activision Blizzard are still contending with legal issues and reports alleging workplace discrimination, harassment and poor working conditions. The company’s also in the process of being acquired by Microsoft for $68.7 billion (£60.8 billion), a surprise deal announced back in January. That month, Blizzard Entertainment head Mike Ybarra said he was committed to fostering change within the company.
Overwatch 2 is a free to play download from Battle.net.