Overwatch 2: How to unlock heroes

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Overwatch 2 is finally here, and it represents the dawn of a new era for Blizzard's award-winning hero shooter. It moves Overwatch to a 5v5 PvP format and overhauls the game with a brand new free-to-play model with Battle Passes, a revamped Competitive Play system, and more.

One of the biggest changes Overwatch 2 brings to the table is the addition of the First-Time User Experience, a tutorial-like system that slowly introduces new players to the game by limiting which heroes they can play. The majority of the game's cast can be unlocked as players get some experience under their belt, but how exactly can you do that? And how can you unlock new Overwatch 2 heroes such as the new support character, Kiriko? In this guide, we'll go over everything you need to know about unlocking heroes in Overwatch 2.

How to unlock all Overwatch 2 heroes

(Image credit: Windows Central / Brendan Lowry)

As a new player, you'll only get access to 13 heroes right away. This is meant to ease you into the Overwatch experience and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed with choices. These characters are listed below:

  • Tank: Reinhardt, Winston, Orisa, Zarya
  • Damage: Soldier: 76, Reaper, Pharah, Torbjorn, Tracer, Widowmaker
  • Support: Mercy, Lucio, Moira

As you get comfortable with the game and familiarize yourself with how it works, you will no doubt be interesting in trying out other characters as well.

To unlock the majority of the rest of the roster, you'll need to spend time completing plenty of unranked Quick Play games. As you do, the rest of Overwatch 2's heroes will become available to use. Specifically, you'll need to play 150 matches in order to have every single character from the original game unlocked, though you'll begin unlocking heroes way before that threshold, too.

The table below details how many Quick Play games you'll need to finish to unlock every hero, with Genji being the easiest character to get access to and Echo being the most difficult.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
HeroHow to unlock
GenjiPlay 1 game
D.VaPlay 2 games
CassidyPlay 3 games
AnaPlay 4 games
HanzoPlay 9 games
JunkratPlay 12 games
RoadhogPlay 15 games
SymmetraPlay 20 games
ZenyattaPlay 25 games
BastionPlay 30 games
SigmaPlay 40 games
AshePlay 50 games
BrigittePlay 60 games
MeiPlay 70 games
DoomfistPlay 85 games
BaptistePlay 100 games
SombraPlay 115 games
Wrecking BallPlay 130 games
EchoPlay 150 games
SojournLogin during Overwatch 2 Season 1
Junker QueenLogin during Overwatch 2 Season 1
KirikoReach Tier 55 on the Season 1 Battle Pass, or purchase the Premium Battle Pass

Note that Overwatch 2's new heroes like Kiriko are unlocked in a different way, which we'll go over in the section below.

How to unlock new Overwatch 2 heroes

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Unlocking Overwatch 2's new heroes works differently than unlocking the traditional Overwatch cast (note that Sojourn and Junker Queen are unlocked by logging in during Overwatch 2 Season 1, and are unique in that way). To get access to new heroes such as Kiriko, players will need to reach Tier 55 on the seasonal Overwatch 2 Battle Pass that corresponds to the season that the new hero came out on. For example, in order to unlock Kiriko, for example, you need to reach Tier 55 on the Season 1 Battle Pass.

Ranking up the Battle Pass requires you to accrue XP and level up, which is done by completing matches and finishing daily and weekly gameplay challenges. Note that you can boost your XP gains by 20% by grouping up with other players, so it's highly recommended to do so. Alternatively, you can also purchase the Premium Battle Pass reward track to instantly access the new hero that's on it.

If you're late to the party and weren't able to unlock a new hero before the season they released in ends, don't worry. Blizzard has confirmed that heroes from past seasons will be unlockable by completing special gameplay challenges. Players will also have the option to purchase heroes from past seasons in Overwatch 2's shop using Overwatch Coins.

Overwatch 2 is available now on Xbox Series X|S, PS5, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch. It's arguably one of the best Xbox shooters available, and since it's free-to-play, it doesn't cost anything to check it out. Alternatively, players can purchase the Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Pack that provides access to Season 1's Premium Battle Pass, 2,000 Overwatch Coins, and a bundle of unique Legendary skins.

Image (opens in new tab)

Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Pack

The $40 Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Pack offers fans a variety of benefits that will allow them to get guaranteed access to Season 1's Premium Battle Pass track, unlock some unique rewards, provides some in-game currency to use, and more.

See at Microsoft (opens in new tab) | See at Battle.net (opens in new tab)

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.