Going into Overwatch 2 there was a fair amount of skepticism to a wide variety of changes. One of the biggest is a new idea they had called First Time User Experience or FTUE for short.
The idea behind this is very logical. Gradually introduce players to the wider game by limiting their access to heroes, modes, voice chat and more. By doing this, players will have early access to the “easier” heroes and won’t get overwhelmed by complicated or hard mechanics. It also gives them 100 matches to get a feel for Overwatch 2 and figure out how things work before even starting to worry about competitive mode. This also requires 50 wins to unlock, so players ready for the big leagues will get there sooner than those who don’t. Where it fails is pretty simple.
When it comes to competitive games it can be rather stressful. You never know what will or won’t work for you and there is a learning curve. Overwatch 2 is no different, as it takes time to learn the maps, modes and how you’re supposed to play any given hero. However, it doesn’t stop matches from being fairly demanding.
Instead of feeling like I can take this opportunity to see what D.Va, Mercy, Reaper, Reinhardt and so forth can do against players who are also getting familiar with the mechanics, it didn’t feel particularly different from how I imagine experienced players from being. And in this sense, it really doesn’t feel like it’s that much of a benefit to new players, as much as another way to combat cheaters and things like that.
As important as that is for the larger community, it just feels counterproductive for new players. Now you need to play 100 matches before unlocking all the characters, while still having the core negatives that makes learning a new character difficult. I like to believe this will improve over time, either by fixing the rating, removing more people from the pools and more, but this is also the most important time for a free-to-play game.
A lot of people are going to sign on for the first time, wait an hour or so to get into Overwatch 2, see the 20 or so items in the free battle pass, get to play as one of like 20 characters, die a bunch and maybe even lose. And with an experience like that, I imagine a lot of people are going to be turned off Overwatch 2 long before seeing what it really has to offer.