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Tanks are getting some big changes in Overwatch 2

Tanks very much

Of course, I'm excited that Overwatch 2 features some new hero looks inspired by "technical wear" and "techy fabrics", like cowboy McCree for example, who's serape looks waterproof now. But what I'm really into are Blizzard's plans to shake up the tank role in PvP, by transforming them from beefy damage sponges into aggressive brawlers.

In their 'behind the scenes' presentation at BlizzConline, Blizzard delved into how they want to "change the tank role entirely" in Overwatch 2, and "try to make them more toe-to-toe brawlers, and less characters that just stand back and protect other people".

Blizzard turned to hammer-swinging Reinhardt as one big example of how they're experimenting with this role tweak. They've given him two charges of Fire Strike, which lets him chuck damaging fireballs far more often. Plus, his Charge is easier to direct, and can be cancelled mid-animation. Their hope is that he's able to "unleash his full arsenal more often than just being the guy with a shield".

Role Passives are also something Blizzard are experimenting with. For example, tanks have increased knockback reduction and enemies build up their Ultimate charge a bit slower when dealing damage to them. I suppose it makes roles even more distinct, but they sound so subtle it's hard to get excited over them.

The idea that Reinhardt's Charge may feel less like steering a cruiseliner, and more like a, err, fishing vessel, appeals strongly to me, though. And the animation cancel is a cool change too, as it would remove the overwhelming risk pressing the Charge button currently presents. Finally, I could break free from the shackles of being my team's shield-bot, and dive into the fray without fear of plunging headlong into death's clutches, or leaving my team totally wide open.

Game director Jeff Kaplan makes it clear that these changes may not ship, but they're trying to embrace the instinct we have as players, that when we want to play a "big, burly character that looks aggressive" it should feel aggressive. Hear hear Jeff.

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Overwatch 2

PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch

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Ed Thorn avatar

Ed Thorn

Reviews Editor

When Ed's not cracking thugs with bicycles in Yakuza, he's likely swinging a badminton racket in real life. Any genre goes, but he's very into shooters and likes a weighty gun, particularly if they have a chainsaw attached to them. Adores orange and mango squash, unsure about olives.