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Overwatch 2 beta: How to play, start date, Sojourn, and more

Overwatch 2
Overwatch 2 (Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Blizzard Entertainment's team-based hero shooter, Overwatch, has remained one of the most popular multiplayer hero shooters games since it released in 2016. Following the game's many years of success, its developers are looking to evolve Overwatch with the upcoming release of Overwatch 2, an ambitious sequel that overhauls Overwatch's PvP content with a new format and new content for free for everyone that owns the original game. On top of that, Overwatch 2 will also feature a full-length PvE campaign available to purchase, complete with several story missions, cutscenes, and campaign-exclusive upgrades for each hero in the game's roster.

While there's no official information available regarding Overwatch 2's release date, the first of many Overwatch 2 betas has finally gone live for players to try out. Here's everything you need to know about the beta, including what it is, what it entails, and how to play.

What is the Overwatch 2 beta?

Source: Activision Blizzard (Image credit: Source: Activision Blizzard)

The Overwatch 2 beta is a pre-release version of the game that Blizzard is using to test and gather player feedback on new features and content.

In the first Overwatch 2 beta, players are able to test out the shift to the 5v5 format (along with balance tweaks that entails), a new damage hero named Sojourn, and the Push game mode where two teams fight to control a payload that they need to push to the other team's base. There's also hero reworks for Orisa, Doomfist, Bastion, and Sombra, as well as a new Ping System that allows players to ping enemy or objective locations for teammates. In terms of the maps available, all of the maps from the original Overwatch are included in the beta, as well as four new ones: Circuit Royal (Escort), Midtown (Hybrid), Toronto (Push), and Rome (Push).

Blizzard has indicated that future betas will include more of the content that players will be able to experience in the full release of Overwatch 2, including additional new maps, new hero reworks, and new heroes. It's likely that PvE content from Overwatch 2's campaign will eventually be included in later betas as well, though the developers have made it clear that testing the game's PvP offerings is their priority for now.

Overwatch 2 beta start date

Source: Activision Blizzard (Image credit: Source: Activision Blizzard)

The first Overwatch 2 beta went live on April 26, 2022 at 11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET. At this time, players selected to participate received emails that confirmed that they were selected to play the Overwatch 2 beta and contained instructions on how to install the beta on their system. See our guide on how to download the Overwatch 2 beta for more information.

Blizzard hasn't announced when the Overwatch 2 beta is scheduled to conclude, but based on the developers' excitement to get player hands on the game and test it out thoroughly, we expect it will be on the longer side and will last for a few weeks. However, there's also a possibility it won't last that long. We'll update when we have more information.

Overwatch 2 beta Sojourn gameplay details

Arguably the most exciting element of the Overwatch 2 beta is the introduction of Sojourn, a new damage hero with powerful ranged attacks and plenty of horizontal and vertical mobility. Below, you'll find an overview of Sojourn's weapons and abilities shared by the developers in a recent livestream:

  • Railgun: Sojourn's main weapon. Primary fire shoots rapid-fire projectiles that build energy. Secondary fire shoots high-impact shots that use stored energy.
  • Power Slide: An ability that allows Sojourn to slide in the direction you're moving in, gaining a speed boost. Jumping during the slide leads to a high jump.
  • Disruptor Shot: This allows Sojourn to shoot an energy field that slows and damages enemies caught in it.
  • Overclock: Sojourn's Ultimate ability that allows her Railgun to auto-generate energy for a period of time, while also giving her Railgun attacks the ability to pierce multiple enemies.

Generally, Sojourn will play like a mix between Soldier: 76 and Ashe. Between how mobile she can be with her Power Slide and the versatile power of her Railgun, Sojourn is a very powerful hero.

How to play the Overwatch 2 beta

Source: Activision Blizzard (Image credit: Source: Activision Blizzard)

To play the Overwatch 2 beta, you'll need to sign up for it on the official Overwatch 2 beta page. Then, you'll need to check the email you signed up with and keep an eye out for an official invite. Players will also need to own a copy of the first Overwatch game on PC in order to participate in the beta. It's one of the best PC games as well as one of the best Xbox games, so we highly recommend picking it up if you don't own it already.

Note that while the developers have confirmed that not all players who sign up will be invited to play the beta, additional players may be invited over time. On top of that, future betas are anticipated to include more and more players as well. You may also get access during the Overwatch Beta Bash livestreams on April 27, as Blizzard has announced it's giving away beta access through the Twitch Drops system. To get a beta access Twitch Drop, you'll need to watch any of streamers listed on the official Overwatch 2 beta FAQ page for four hours while logged in with a Twitch account that's linked with your Battle.net account. Note that these Twitch Drops will only be earnable from 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET to 6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET. Also note that your progress is cumulative across all the streams, so you don't have to watch the same streamer for four hours.

Is the Overwatch 2 beta on console?

Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

While there are no doubt tons of Overwatch players on consoles hoping to get access to the Overwatch 2 beta, it's exclusive to the PC platform for the time being. However, Blizzard has confirmed that it plans to include console players in future betas, so fans on Xbox and PlayStation will get opportunities to test out Overwatch 2 ahead of its official release.

Will there be Overwatch 2 beta rewards?

Source: Activision Blizzard (Image credit: Source: Activision Blizzard)

Right now, it's unclear whether or not players who participate in Overwatch 2 betas will be able to earn rewards that carry over to the full game. If rewards are offered, we expect that players will be able to earn exclusive cosmetics such as sprays, voice lines, profile icons, or potentially even emotes and skins by playing the beta. We won't know more until Blizzard provides more details.

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.