The Overwatch 2 arcade is a nice way to relax, giving players a chance to step away from the stress of ranked play and enjoy some more chaotic or laid-back modes in the Blizzard multiplayer game. It’s currently where you’ll find the Overwatch 2 Battle for Olympus mode, a frantic free-for-all where players get powers themed after Greek gods. One mode that’s been notably absent so far, however, seems like one of its most obvious – Overwatch Classic.
As most people are probably aware by now, Overwatch 2 transforms the hero shooter from its original 6v6 format into a 5v5 setup, with the primary game modes featuring one tank, two damage characters, and two supports. It’s proven a fairly successful overhaul to the formula – it hasn’t won everyone over, but the general consensus is that it allows for more dynamic, exciting brawls that grant a little more potential for individual playmaking without losing the need for teamwork.
However, there’s no doubt in my mind that it slides Overwatch a little more in the direction of more traditional shooters, taking away some of the more MOBA-influenced aspects of the original game. While my initial scepticism melted away once I got hands-on with Overwatch 2, convincing me that this new setup can be just as much fun and still retain the unique hero designs of the original, I would love an opportunity to revisit the game’s past.
Currently, there’s no way to play the original Overwatch. The servers went down just prior to Overwatch 2’s release, with Blizzard making the decision to transfer everyone over to the new game and force players into the modern version, whether they like it or not. While the desire to keep everyone together is certainly admirable, it seems like a reasonable salve for those who miss 6v6 to offer them a way to play it in Overwatch 2.
Bringing in axed formats isn’t a new idea for Overwatch – right now in the arcade, you can choose to play an ‘Assault maps’ playlist. This comprises all the maps built for the now-defunct Assault game mode (often referred to as 2CP), which was removed in the transition to Overwatch 2 after a general agreement between players and devs that it too often led to either complete one-way snowballs or agonising draws.
Different player numbers are also a common feature of the arcade mode – also frequently available are Team Deathmatch, which uses teams of four, Elimination, which is primarily played in a 3v3 format, and even a one-on-one duel mode.
Given the ‘Overwatch Classic’ presentation, I’d suggest that you wouldn’t even want to use modern balance, or new heroes. Rather, an Overwatch Classic playlist could either adopt the game’s launch lineup and balance – truly returning to its roots – or opt for the game’s state around the time it shut down its servers, which was a largely very well balanced and fun period to see off the original release.
If you wanted to get particularly fancy, you could even rotate between various eras of the game – GOATS meta, anyone? – although perhaps Blizzard might worry about the potential confusion this could cause. Custom games already allow players to adjust balance, however, and arcade modes such as Total Mayhem adjust cooldowns, so it doesn’t feel like too much of a stretch, especially given that the six players per team already clearly delineates the mode from the main game’s format.
Players on the Overwatch Reddit are currently mulling over whether they’d have stuck with the original Overwatch if the transition to Overwatch 2 hadn’t been forced upon them. Before the game came out, I might have felt that way, but now I feel pretty confident saying I’m mostly glad I moved over. I certainly have my gripes – the expensive skins and relentless pushing of microtransactions among them – but I’m having a great time with the sequel.
That said, I’d love to have the option to go back to those tank synergies of old once in a while, and offering an olive branch to those players who feel left out in the cold by the complete removal of a game they loved sounds like a nice gesture to me (and, to take a slightly cynical angle, one that at least keeps them playing your game).
Be sure to check our Overwatch 2 tier list if you are playing to see who the strongest characters are right now, along with our guide to the best Overwatch 2 settings to ensure peak performance on your gaming PC. The latest Overwatch 2 patch notes introduce buffs for some of the weaker members of its roster, including Junker Queen and Moira.