Overwatch 2 makes huge changes to PvP – 5v5 instead of 6v6, and one tank slot per team

Arguably the biggest change Overwatch 2 is making to its PvP has been detailed.

Overwatch 2 game director Aaron Keller opened last night’s long Overwatch 2 PvP reveal stream with some big news: the game’s PvP will now be limited to 5v5, rather than the original game’s 6v6.

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This also means team composition is changing to now require two DPS heroes, two support heroes – and the one causing a lot of controversy – only one tank.

“Overwatch has always been played with two teams of six players. Overwatch 2 will be played with two teams of five players, consisting of two support, two DPS and one tank,” game director Aaron Keller announced.

“There are a lot of reasons for why we wanted to make this change. As I said earlier, Overwatch has changed over time. We’ve gone from having no hero limits at all in the game before launch – you could pick six Winstons if you wanted to for your team composition – to having a hero limit. We ended up introducing a role lock over the course of the game, and we feel like this is the next step in the way that Overwatch ought to be played,” Keller explained, when asked about the thinking behind this decision.

“If you think about it, there’s a lot going on in an Overwatch map. It is incredibly fast-paced and we have always tried to make our combat easy to read and very understandable, and even with all the work we’ve put into that, sometimes it’s just hard to track what 11 other players are doing on the battlefield. Removing two of those simplifies everything. It allows players to understand everything that’s happening around them and to be able to make better choices because of it,” he went on.

Understandably, tanks are being impacted the most by this change, since previously you could have two of them, a common tactic Keller said could be “oppressive” to the enemy team.

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“Tanks can be problematic,” Keller added.

“A DPS hero is simple, they’re shooting. But a tank has abilities that can be noisy, or when stacked with other tanks can cause problems for other teams to try to overcome and counter.”

The tank class itself is seeing a few changes, too, to better align it with the overall vision. Lead hero designer Geoff Goodman revealed that Overwatch 2’s tanks will be more aggressive, and require more from the player than just absorbing damage for the team.

Broadly, the new limits are designed to enable each of the five players to have a bigger impact, and allow for situations where a single player could carry a team to victory. Keller also said this “substantial” change is one Blizzard stands behind, and it’s one the studio arrived at after trying a few other different team compositions and sizes. This change has even informed map design, something that could be seen in the maps shown on the livestream.

The full stream archive can be viewed above, where all of these design changes can be seen in action. Overwatch 2 does not yet have a release date.