Overwatch 2 phone verification removed by Blizzard

Launch issues see Overwatch 2 phone verification removed by Blizzard after the free to play multiplayer FPS game release is beset by queues and server errors

Overwatch 2 phone verification removed - Junkrat makes a shocked face to camera as an explosion goes off behind him

Blizzard has announced that it is removing the Overwatch 2 phone verification requirement to play the free game for all previously existing players. The prerequisite to have enabled its SMS Protect to play the game has caused additional issues for players as they try to play the sequel to one of the best multiplayer games on PC. Blizzard has also addressed other launch issues including queue times and server errors, saying it wants “to provide transparency” moving forward.

In a post on its forums, Blizzard explains that it has “made the decision to remove phone number requirements for a majority of existing Overwatch players.” This will apply to all players with a connected Battlenet account, which includes all players who have played the first Overwatch since June 9, 2021. However, accounts that were not previously connected to Battlenet and new accounts will still have to meet SMS Protect requirements, which Blizzard says “helps to ensure we’re protecting our community against cheating.”

The removal of SMS Protect for existing accounts is expected to go live on October 7, and Blizzard says it will update players once the new system is in place. It adds that the team “will keep listening to ongoing feedback and will make further adjustments in this area if it is required.” In addition, Blizzard notes that players “caught engaging in disruptive behaviour” may be banned regardless of whether they are on a new account or a pre-existing one.

In addition, Blizzard says it is continuing to gradually add nodes to its player database in order to improve stability issues. However, it explains that this must be done slowly to minimise server disruptions, and as such it is also currently throttling queues to help minimise the impact on the database as it is scaled up. Blizzard says it recognises that “this feels bad in the short-term, but once it’s done will greatly improve the experience for players across multiple fronts.”

Addressing concerns around account merging and missing player items and data, Blizzard notes that “you have not lost any items or progress” and that any missing elements is either due to players having not completed the account merge process, or due to player data transfers from the original game taking longer than expected. It reassures players that “no player data has been wiped or lost,” but that the client-side fix cannot be deployed until next week, so server-side fixes are in the works in the meantime.

Blizzard adds that any players finding that heroes or items are incorrectly locked for them are a result of the new ‘first-time user experience’ being erroneously applied and that, while the issue is usually solved by relogging into the game, players who are still experiencing the issue should open a support ticket. For further details, you can check the full update from Blizzard.

If you aren’t sure how to merge accounts in Overwatch 2, our guide has you covered. Our Overwatch 2 tier list should keep you up to date on the best characters in every role – or you can check our specific guides for DPS heroes, tank heroes, and support heroes. We’ve also got everything you need to know about Overwatch 2 crossplay and the Overwatch 2 battle pass, including pricing, reward tiers, and more.