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Overwatch 2 reveals new support hero Kiriko, details seasonal structure

Overwatch 2
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

What you need to know

  • During the Tokyo Game Show, developer Blizzard revealed Overwatch 2's new support hero, Kiriko. It also provided more details about the game's move to a seasonal free-to-play model.
  • Kiriko is a "battle healer" with a Healing Ofuda ability that allows her to heal teammates with tracking projectiles, a Kunai secondary fire that deals heavy crit damage, a Swift Step teleport that allows her to teleport through walls to her allies, and a Protection Suzu that briefly makes her team invincible to damage and removes debuffs.
  • Blizzard confirmed that Kiriko and future Overwatch 2 heroes will be available from Tier 55 of the free-to-play Overwatch 2 Battle Pass reward track. Owners of the Premium $10 reward track will unlock new heroes instantly. Kiriko specifically will also be instantly available to owners of the original Overwatch.
  • Both Overwatch 2's seasonal Battle Passes and its Shop will offer a variety of cosmetics. Players can earn XP to progress their Battle Pass by playing matches and by finishing challenges, while Overwatch Coins used to buy Shop items are earned by completing weekly challenges or bought with real money.

During the Tokyo Game Show, Overwatch 2 developer Blizzard revealed the game's new support hero: Kiriko. Featuring a variety of both offensive and defensive abilities as well as excellent mobility tools, Kiriko seems like she'll be one of the most effective support heroes for players that prefer to get into the middle of the action rather than stick to the backline to avoid it. 

Kiriko's primary ability is Healing Ofuda, which are paper talismans imbued with healing power that track towards teammates and restore their health. Her secondary fire ability is Kunai, which launches fast kunai projectiles at foes that deal low base damage, but very high damage whenever critical hits are landed. Kiriko can also teleport to her allies — including through walls — with her Swift Step ability, while her Protection Suzu ability allows her to remove debuffs and make herself and her teammates immune to damage very briefly. Her Wall Climb passive lets her climb walls like Genji and Hanzo can, and her Kitsune Rush Ultimate creates a large path on the ground that empowers teammates with faster movement, attack, and reload speed as well as reduced ability cooldowns as long as they stay in its area-of-effect.

Kiriko is releasing at the same time Overwatch 2 is on Oct. 4, 2022, although she won't instantly be available to all players like Sojourn and Junker Queen will be (owners of the original Overwatch will get access to her right away, though). Unlocking Kiriko will require players to engage with Overwatch 2's new seasonal free-to-play business model, which Blizzard offered new details about following the announcement of Kiriko.

Every nine weeks, Overwatch 2 will launch a new season with new game content like maps and modes as well as an 80+ tier Battle Pass that has Free and Premium ($10) reward tracks. Whenever new heroes are added — Blizzard says they're coming once every two seasons — players will have to unlock them by reaching Tier 55 on the Free track of the current Battle Pass. Alternatively, players can also get instant access to the new hero by purchasing the Premium reward track. To give free-to-play players extra time to unlock each new hero before taking them into Competitive mode (and to ensure they're balanced), Blizzard plans to withhold new heroes from Competitive play for several weeks after they release. If you're not able to unlock a hero before a season ends, the developers promise you'll be able to do so by finishing special gameplay challenges in the future.

In addition to offering new heroes, Overwatch 2's Battle Passes will offer a variety of cosmetic items like skins, emotes, weapon charms, name cards, and more. Premium reward tracks will offer significantly more rewards, as well as some unique ones like Overwatch 2's new customizable Mythic skins. Whether you're a free-to-play player or a Premium Battle Pass owner, you'll progress through the pass by earning XP. This  will be done by playing normally, but the process can be sped up by completing daily and weekly challenges as well.

Overwatch 2 is also introducing a Shop that replaces the original game's loot box system, allowing players to buy cosmetics they want directly. The Shop requires a new currency called Overwatch Coins, which can either be purchased for real money or earned by completing weekly challenges. The Shop will also offer players an alternative way of unlocking heroes from past seasons, as they'll be available for purchase with Overwatch Coins. Notably, the Shop will have a "Just For You" section that highlights different cosmetics based on the types of heroes you like to play.

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Many have voiced concerns that the restrictions on accessing new heroes will lead to competitive disadvantages in matches since every player won't have access to every hero, but Blizzard disagrees. The developer stated that it has begun to move away from making heroes feel like hard counters to one another and wants a wider range of heroes to be viable. Because of this, Blizzard believes the new system "respects the competitive nature of the game."

Ultimately, it will be interesting to see what players think of the new system when Overwatch 2 launches on Oct. 4, and we're looking forward to getting our hands on Kiriko, too. Overwatch 2 has the potential to bring Blizzard's hero shooter back into the limelight, and with any luck, it will grow into one of the best Xbox shooters on the market.

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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, provide some in-game currency to use when Overwatch 2 launches, and more.

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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.