Overwatch2 Season three begins on from today and it brings in a host of all-new content, including the new Antarctica Control map, a new Asian Mythology theme and Battle Pass with a Mythic Kiriko skin, the Ultimate Valentine’s in-game event featuring a browser-based Overwatch Dating Simulator: Loverwatch, and a collaboration with Japanese Anime “One-Punch Man” —a first-ever for Overwatch 2. What’s more, PachiMarchi returns in March!

Read on for a short summary of the matchmaking, competitive, and balance changes Activision Blizzard is making in season three, a preview of what to expect from  upcoming patches, and details on the return of the Overwatch World Cup! Season three also introduces Workshop mode with new auto-moderation tech along with several accessibility improvements.

New Antarctica Peninsula Control Map

Control gets its first new map in Overwatch 2 in the form of frosty Antarctica! They  have already visited the main facility of Ecopoint: Antarctica, as seen in Mei’s “Rise and Shine” cinematic, but the Antarctica Peninsula station is a lore-rich tundra with several stories yet to be told. This snow-themed Control map features some unique sights, including an ice-breaker ship and an underground drilling station. With tons of flank routes and some offering a high-ground advantage over high-traffic areas and objectives, they can’t wait to see how the meta unfolds for this chilly battleground!

Asian Mythology Theme and Kiriko Mythic Skin

Overwatch has long explored and celebrated real-life cultures from around the world, which one can see in roster of heroes from Korea, Japan, and China. They’re excited to share that they’re diving into Asian Mythology as the theme for season three! This season features some of most unique skins to date, and a few have some fun lore connections they think players will love. 

Complete the Premium Battle Pass, and you’ll unlock the Amaterasu Kiriko Mythic skin, inspired by various deities in Japanese mythology with customizations you can mix and match themed for the moon, the sea, and storms. Concept artists had a lot of fun coming up with the visual effects for this one, which includes themed headpieces and a new look for Kiriko’s spirit fox.

More Rewards, More Often

Season three will improve on  first two by offering even more rewards just for logging in and playing. You can look forward to 10 additional tiers of rewards on the free track, as well as 1500 Credits to earn and spend as you please in the Hero Gallery. They’ve added 500 Credits to the Premium track as well.

Nearly all Epic and Legendary event hero skins from the original Overwatch—300 total—have been added to the Hero Gallery and will always be available for purchase with either Overwatch Coins or Credits. They’ve also lowered the price of those Legendary skins from 1900 Credits to 1500 Credits.

In total, they’ll be offering four earnable skins outside of the Battle Pass through in-game events and granting players a heaping helping of other earnable and free cosmetics this season. These include a gold medal weapon charm for logging in at any point between 7February-20February to celebrate the Overwatch World Cup festivities, a Cupid Hanzo Player icon for logging in during  upcoming Ultimate Valentine’s event and an earnable Legendary OW2 skin later in the season from  IP collaboration. They’ll share more details on how players can earn each of the skins and other rewards closer to when each event goes live.

They’ll also be granting all players the first five free tiers of rewards in their Battle Pass in season three just for logging in during first week! And tune in for Twitch Drops throughout the season to support streaming community and claim more of the fun cosmetics they’ve got in the chamber. In March, you can look forward to returning PachiMarchi event, which includes even more rewards! More info on these events and their exact dates can be found below.

Loverwatch Dating Sim (13February to 28February) & Ultimate Valentine’s Event (14February to 28February)

Ultimate Valentine event kicks off on Valentine’s Day this year with a Hanzo 4v4 Limited Time Mode and Support-themed challenges that can net you two earnable epic skins, among other rewards. In another first for Overwatch 2, don’t miss out on the Loverwatch dating simulator, which launches on 13February! 

Loverwatch is a non-canon text-based dating sim where players will choose between two potential dating paths: Mercy or Genji. Players will be presented with dialogue options to interact with that hero and will be assisted by Cupid (who looks suspiciously like Hanzo). Unlock the secret ending, and you’ll be rewarded with a themed POTG Highlight! 

Once live, Loverwatch will be accessible at https://www.Loverwatch.gg and available on web client only. The experience will be playable until 28February in Korean, Japanese, Spanish, German, French, and English. The full playthrough lasts roughly 30 minutes. 

One-Punch Man Collaboration (7March – 6April)

100 pushups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and a 10-kilometer run! Every single day! They’re excited to announce that they’ve been working with Japanese Anime “One-Punch Man” on first-ever major IP collaboration for Overwatch 2 to bring One-Punch Man skins and cosmetics to the game this season! Together they’ve created a collection of cosmetics from the beloved anime, including Saitama skin for Doomfist. They’ll reveal each item before they drop on 7March, with one being a Legendary skin that’s earnable via themed challenges.

PachiMarchi Returns (21March – 4April)

PachiMarchi is back with a new limited-time Kill Confirmed game mode and a ton of rewards, including an epic skin, six PachiMarchi player icons, a weapon charm, and name card! Claim a PachiMarchi Roadhog player icon just logging in during the event, and complete themed challenges to earn an Epic Pachimari Roadhog skin before the event ends on 4April.

Balance, Matchmaking, and Quality-of-Life Changes

The full patch notes to kick off season three will be posted later today. Here’s a short summary of the biggest changes:

  • The health totals for all tanks will be lower when playing any game mode that does not have a role queue to address the relative power of those heroes in game modes where there can be multiple of the same hero on the same team. Health totals will remain the same for tanks when playing any Role Queue enabled game.
  • Maximum ultimate charge retained when swapping heroes is reduced from 30 to 25per cent.
  • Mercy is receiving nerfs, and most supports have received minor balance changes.
  • Damaging enemies with Rammatra’s ultimate now slows the duration timer down instead of pausing it entirely.

They’ve also made several quality-of-life changes to matchmaking and competitive, as detailed in recent blog. Here’s the gist:

  • The matchmaker will be updated so that roles on both teams will be similarly ranked. For example, mirroring tanks should more often have similar ranks than before, and likewise, for each respective role. 
  • Competitive rank will update with every 5 wins and 15 losses. 
  • In the mid-season patch for season three, they’ll be updating the UI so information about  progress towards a competitive update will always be viewable. 
  • Also, beginning with mid-season patch, Top 500 Leaderboard players will see their Top 500 leaderboard rank updated after every match rather than every 5 wins and 15 losses.

Looking ahead, in Season 4 will remove rank resets and rank decay as it could be experience for some players and cause for churn. They’re committed to continual improvements on matchmaking and competitive experience, so please keep the feedback in this area coming!

Overwatch World Cup Celebration

The stage is set! All 36 countries participating in the Overwatch World Cup have been announced, and the competition committee selection process is now underway. Follow Overwatch and Path to Pro on Twitter for updates as they’ll reveal the final committee and player rosters through these channels. Check out the newly launched web experience for details on all the ways to get involved, including the upcoming World Cup Trials, the Wild Card Challenge which will qualify in additional teams, and the season three Leaderboard Challenges! More info on OWWC, including how and when to watch, will be shared throughout the year.

Workshop Returning and Moderation Tools

Season three will bring back  advanced workshop tools for custom game creators to use. In doing this, they want to ensure that custom games remain safe and enjoyable for all players. As such, they’re also introducing new moderation technology that will automatically remove custom games containing inappropriate titles or content, along with issuing restrictions or actioning accounts of those who create and post those games. If players see an inappropriate custom game, please report it! Recent Defense Matrix update has more information.

Streamer Mode and Accessibility Improvements

They’re introducing Streamer Protection starting in season three as well, which all players will be able to find and toggle on or off in the Social options within the Settings menu. Streamer Protection can set personal client to hide Battletag and the Battletags of everyone in matches, chat, replay codes, and the amount of time you’ve been in queue, and will allow for adding a delay to queue before the game begins finding a match. For more information on streamer mode, also check out the recent Defense Matrix update.

Also added to the Settings menu are several accessibility improvements, outlined below:

  • Improved Subtitles Options to allow for text scalability, character portrait icons, speaker name, text color changes, background color changes, and subtitle preview.
  • Added the ability to change the mouse cursor size on PC.
  • Added a setting to select custom colors for Group and Alerts in the UI, which can be previewed before saving for easier setup.