Overwatch 2's move to 5v5 is good, actually

Overwatch 2
Overwatch 2 (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

In a recent PvP-focused livestream, Blizzard Entertainment developers explained that Overwatch 2 PvP will move to 5v5 due to the power of tank heroes in the game. Powerful tank synergies have often been oppressive and have made Overwatch incredibly difficult to balance, so the developers are cutting one of the tanks out to make everything feel more streamlined. They also said they would rework and buff each of the tank heroes to compensate for the loss of a player.

This is a massive change, and so far, the Overwatch community seems to be pretty split on it. Many think the changes will be beneficial to the health of the gameplay, while others are concerned that the loss of a tank will lead to the damage role being too powerful and an exodus of tank players as a result, harming the balance even more and lengthening queue times for matches. Personally, I think Blizzard has the right idea here. I believe that the shift to 5v5 in Overwatch 2 will fix several of Overwatch's problems.

Overwatch 2 5v5 will help improve readability

Source: Blizzard Entertainment (Image credit: Source: Blizzard Entertainment)

While Overwatch is a great game overall, one of the worst parts about it is how difficult it can often be to understand what's happening, both as a player and spectator. Each character has a variety of abilities and weapons at their disposal that feature bright and vibrant visual effects. They look awesome and make playing as members of the Overwatch cast feel great, but they also make getting a read on battlefield situations frustrating. Throw in the inevitable voice line spam and sound effects galore, and you've got a recipe for sensory overload.

Removing one of the players from each team will instantly help alleviate this issue. Not only will there be fewer abilities to try and keep track of, but individual players will also have more space and time to evaluate how fights are going and make decisions. Blizzard should still try and improve readability by toning down the visuals of some abilities, of course, but trimming the team size will be an excellent start.

Overwatch 2 5v5 will make playing tank less frustrating

Source: Blizzard Entertainment (Image credit: Source: Blizzard Entertainment)

Paired with the changes Blizzard is making to tank heroes, I think the move will make playing tanks less frustrating. Even though tank synergies often feel overpowered when executed well, tanks individually feel weak and easy to exploit. Speaking as someone who has mained Reinhardt since Overwatch's release, it often feels like all it takes is one crowd control stun or one toe out of position to turn you into a giant sitting duck that can get downed in an instant.

With the buffs Blizzard is giving to the tank heroes, players will be allowed to make mistakes and take some hits without being severely punished for it. Tank players will no longer have to rely on each other to survive certain death scenarios. Individual heroes will simply be able to shrug off more damage and crowd control before dying instead, making the gameplay experience more forgiving and less frustrating.

Overwatch 2 5v5 will make learning tank heroes easier

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Lastly, the move to 5v5 will make learning how to play tank heroes much easier. As things are right now, Overwatch's tank heroes are confusingly split into "main tanks" (Reinhardt, Winston, Orisa) and "off tanks" (D.Va, Roadhog, Zarya). Main tanks shield the team consistently during the match and use their abilities to help open enemies up to allied follow up damage, while off tanks use a mixture of offensive and defensive abilities that are short-lived but powerful to help confirm kills, save teammates in a pinch, and take pressure off of the main tank.

This arguably adds some depth to the tank role, but the problem is these roles are community-driven and aren't explained to new players at all in tutorials or in-game tip notifications. I've always thought that tanking in Overwatch would be much easier to learn if each hero was designed to be more like main tanks, and it sounds like that's what Blizzard is doing based on the PvP livestreams.

The developers confirmed that off tanks like Roadhog who don't currently do much to protect their teammates are being reworked to better fit a solo main tank-like experience, and that's for the best. It makes the tank role much easier to understand conceptually and will no doubt encourage more players to give tanking a try. This will make for a healthier overall Overwatch experience since currently, there are vastly more damage and support players in matchmaking most of the time.

Your thoughts

What's your opinion of the move to 5v5? Do you agree with me that it's the right call? Let me know. We're still not sure exactly when Overwatch 2 will release, but the original game is available now on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows 10 PCs. It's one of the best Xbox One shooters available, so you shouldn't miss out on the fun.

You'll be able to play PvP with Overwatch 2 players if you buy the original game, though you won't have access to the game's PvE experiences. Make sure to check out our full Overwatch and Overwatch 2 heroes list for helpful tips, tricks, and information if you're a new player.

Brendan Lowry

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.