A live-service game should not be receiving infrequent balance updates.
Less than a month after the release of Overwatch 2, more and more strange decisions from Blizzard are continuing to raise questions about the future of the series that holds a special place in the hearts of thousands.
Between controversies regarding the pricing of items in the in-game shop, the decision to lock new heroes behind tedious battle pass grinds, and the reveal of infrequent balance updates, the only steady part of the launch month of Overwatch 2 has been the games viewership on Twitch during promotional campaigns. And now that the current promotion is for a skin released two years ago, it doesnt seem like the game will revisit the glory days that so many of us remember until changes are made.
To coincide with the long-awaited release of Overwatchs sequel, Blizzard introduced three new heroes, consisting of the damage hero Sojourn, the tank hero Junker Queen, and the support hero Kiriko, all of whom bring both new and familiar mechanics. Alongside these new faces, many of the original Overwatch cast received changes ranging from minor tweaks to full reworks, providing even those players familiar with the series a sense of excitement for something new.
Yet among these few new heroes, one has stood out for how oppressive she has been and likely how oppressive shell continue to be into the coming months: Sojourn, the 17th hero in the overpopulated damage rolecompared to 18 other heroes spread across tank and support.
Sojourn is capable of dealing ridiculous amounts of damage with the single press of a buttonsimilar to what Widowmaker and Hanzo can do as the games designated snipers. But theres one glaring issue that separates Sojourn from these two heroes: she is not classified as a sniper. Rather, she works as a projectile-based character akin to Soldier: 76 with her primary fire but transforms into a deadly hitscan with her alternate fire.
Upon fully charging her railgun by damaging enemy heroes and their shields, Sojourn unlocks a single use of her alternate fire, which fires a beam that instantly connects with opponents and can one-shot every DPS with a headshot. With how quickly she is able to reach 100-percent charge on her railgun, Sojourn is able to activate this strong empowered shot every few seconds with no drawbacks.
Additionally, her combined horizontal and vertical mobility is nearly unmatched by any hero in the current Overwatch 2 roster, and theyre easily accessible by Sojourn every few seconds to dive both in and out of fights safely. With this ability, players who have even slightly gained an understanding of the character and the various maps in the game can slide straight to the backline, delete both supports and possibly the DPS, then slide back to their team with relative ease.
And to stop any opponents either attempting to chase her or run away from her, Sojourn can fire her Disruptor Shota grenade that shoots an electric pulse in a wide areato damage and slow enemies simultaneously. The large area that this ability covers often forces enemies to reposition should they be near one, though compared to the rest of Sojourn’s kit, it is unfortunately the least lethal.
Players of all skill ranks, both casual and professional, have been very vocal about their distaste for how easy it is for her to completely shred through a team with this combination of mobility and deadly alternate fire. Among the top 50 North American damage hero players, only four do not have a pocket Sojourn readily available for use that has been crucial in their climb to this prestigious position.
The other most popular hero among these high-ranked players is Genji, who has enjoyed the jump to five-vs-five now that there arent two tanks readily available to stop his dashing and slashing. But in contrast to Sojourn, Genji is receiving significant nerfs that limit his ability to deal constant damage as Blizzard deemed him to be problematic in the current state of the metaproving that Blizzard is more than happy to tune down heroes even if they are popular.
But Sojourn is notably not a part of this balance changes list, one that wasnt even supposed to exist prior to the start of season two.
Following a recent chat with game designers regarding the state of hero balance in Overwatch 2, designer Alec Dawson indicated that while the team is aware of the power Sojourn holds in her ability to one-shot more than half of the roster with ease, shes top of mind for Season 2 changes, meaning the newest damage hero is not expected to be nerfed any time soon.
In its now free-to-play format, Overwatch 2 is a live-service game, meaning it will require a consistent update schedule to ensure that the attention of players is being retained. While it is expected that patches that bring new events and bug fixes will be introduced throughout the games various seasons, other than that, this balance patch is something that players should not expect to see too often.
Blizzard has already made it clear that it does not plan to implement balance patches on a regular basis, much like other live-service games like League of Legends and Apex Legends do nearly biweekly. Instead, Blizzard plans to adjust heroes once or twice per season, with each season lasting around three months, meaning heroes that dominate the metalike Sojourn right nowwill continue to do so without any fear of nerfs outside of very rare occasions.
This is also going to be detrimental to the Overwatch League, which in itself has already seen an incredible reliance on Winston/Sojourn/Kiriko combinations, with very little room to implement other strategies. With the buffs from Kiriko’s Kitsune Rush, as well as the sheer oppression from Winston, Sojourn’s already powerful tools reach a new levelwhile also being able to avoid nearly any incoming fire. While fluctuating metas are normal for any game, the sheer dominance of this current one is a type that the OWL has not seen since the first few years of the original Overwatch and is unlikely to change any time soon.
Despite the current season reaching a conclusion this week, sticking to this every-three-month hero balance schedule will force the league to adhere to a very monotonous meta as it continues into the future, similar to what we saw with GOATS nearly three years ago that made the professional scene uninteresting for viewers and almost resulted in the downfall of the league.
If Blizzard wants Overwatch 2 to survive gameplay-wiseas it has already shown it is more than willing to shell itself out with atrocious prices for items in its in-game shopit needs to re-evaluate this strange decision to lock hero balance changes behind entire seasons. While this mindset ensures that players have something new to look forward to each season, Blizzard is already planning for this with the map rotation, seasonal battle passes, and new hero and map releases, so there is no real reason to drop an entire season and not tune it as it goes on.
Yet nearly a week after the few balance changes were implemented, Sojourn remains unchanged and, in the eyes of many, completely overtuned. If this isnt addressed soon, especially now that Blizzard has shown it is willing to implement balance changes mid-season, Overwatch 2 will quickly fall into the same spiral of ignorance that the original Overwatch did only two years after its launch, and what had the potential to rejuvenate the beloved series will become nothing more than a failed attempt.