“Don’t ult, I’m going to nano boost you, please don’t ult!” my mate screams behind me. Unfortunately for them, all my tired brain hears is ‘ult’ as I press Q, and my nano’d D.Va mech shoots off into the distance.
It’s ok; I can save this. I’m a lean, mean, D.Va fighting machine. My job is to take on the enemy tank head-to-head. Despite the mess and chaos of this final fight for the control point, I locate the enemy Winston and I’m locked on. But as I race over, I suddenly hear my mate shout, “Don’t wake the monkey; I slept him”. It’s too late. My rockets have already left the mech. As I look on in horror at Winston waking up in a rage, I hear a disappointed and confused “you woke him?!” from my friend.
I wasted his ultimate nano, my ultimate, and I woke the sleeping Winston. As I get thrown across the map by a very angry and awake monkey, I can’t help but think: is the Cyberdemon tag worth all of this?
No surprise to anyone; we lost that Overwatch 2 fight and the game. While I watch Winston’s Play of The Game, which featured a particularly confused and depressed-looking D.Va player being used as a hacky-sack, I look down to see someone type “tank diff” in chat. I couldn’t agree more; when compared to the enemy Winston I was definitely the worse tank.
Why on earth was a hard stuck support main queuing tank? What good could possibly come from this? Well, in short, it was all for the weekly challenges that would help secure me the final level of the Battle Pass and the Cyberdemon tag.
On the Grind
The official Overwatch 2 Battle Pass ended at level 80, but Blizzard created extra levels and rewards for dedicated players. From level 80 to 200, every 20 levels or so, you would be given a name tag that was Cyberpunk themed. These tags could be placed under your in-game name and ranged from Netbreaker to Technoknight, with Cyberdemon being the final reward for reaching level 200.
Reaching Cyberdemon is nothing to scoff at. The time and XP that went into securing this tag were ludicrous. With an extra 1.2 million XP needed, over 70 hours of matchplay, and 520 games to get close to the title. It meant that I stopped playing the game for fun and began playing with the sole purpose of grinding for this final reward.
It had become second nature. Log on to Overwatch 2, add your friends to a group, and then check out what daily and weekly challenges have been given. These challenges were the only way to get enough XP to level up quickly and my best shot at climbing the ranks toward Cyberdemon.
Daily and weekly challenges usually consist of tasks like queuing as all roles (tank, dps, and support), achieving 65,000 healing across multiple games, or winning 20 matches. While completing these wasn’t particularly hard, it made me play roles and games that I wasn’t used to.
I would usually never queue tank. It takes an exceptionally gifted and patient support player to keep up with my antics and ensure I stay alive in this role. But in Overwatch 2, I found myself queuing for all roles in almost every game for the sole reason of extra XP.
It made Overwatch 2 less enjoyable. I lost more games, didn’t play heroes I was used to, and even had to forsake my primary hero, Ana, for other support heroes that could do higher healing or damage, such as Mercy or Moira, so that I could complete challenges faster. I’m still unsure if all this time and hard work were worth it for one name tag I may not use next season.
520 games in this economy?
You may wonder what possessed me to even consider reaching level 200 in the first place. Hubris and stupidity did play their part, but it was ultimately the ridiculous challenge and something to grind for that first attracted me to the Cyberdemon tag. After level 80, there’s not much of a reason to keep playing Overwatch 2. You don’t see the fruit of your competitive matches until you’ve completed seven games, there are no more borders that change every ten levels, and you don’t get loot boxes or coins for progressing anymore.
Despite reaching level 80, I wanted to play more Overwatch 2 and was actively looking for reasons to keep playing. That’s what planted the idea of getting the final level and Cyberdemon. However, after grinding for months, I’ve realized that this dedication isn’t sustainable.
Due to the pitiful amount of XP rewarded for a single game (around 1000XP) I tripled my time spent in Overwatch 2 over these last two months, and the games I played accounted for 10% of the total amount of matches I’ve completed in the previous seven years. That may be too much Overwatch.
It’s only up from here
Thankfully, Blizzard has read my mind and is already thinking about improving in-game progression, rewards, and XP for the upcoming seasons.
In an official blog post, the executive producer of Overwatch 2, Jared Neuss, detailed plans for upcoming updates. While there’s a lot that the Blizzard team feels is working well in Overwatch 2, Neuss said they “aren’t completely satisfied with how everything feels right now”.
The first port of call will be providing more rewards for just simply playing the game in Season 2. There will be hero skins that you can get by just playing casually, so you don’t have to grind Overwatch 2 for 327 years. Blizzard are also committed to Twitch drops and rewards for watching official Overwatch streams and competitive matches.
In the long term, we will hopefully see more definite changes made to progress. ‘We’re looking at a mix of Battle Pass changes, more interesting Challenges to pursue, and more exciting play-focused progression systems’, said Jared. The exact updates are still uncertain and may take a long time to cement, but hopefully, we will get more answers in Season 3.
Regardless of how long it takes, these changes are worth the wait. While the extra Battle Pass isn’t meant to be completed by everyone, I think even a small change to XP progression rates and incentive rewards will be a much-welcomed change to my gaming habits in the upcoming months. Hopefully, come season 3, I won’t have to touch the tank role ever again.
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Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications.
Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.