Overwatch 2 Revives A Long-Lost World of Warcraft System

Blizzard is bringing back World of Warcraft’s old talent trees in Overwatch 2. Here’s why they could be a perfect fit for the hero shooter.

Overwatch 2 might not arrive until after 2021, but Blizzard Entertainment has laid out how it plans to introduce a fundamentally different gameplay style to its 2015 hero shooter. The sequel will focus on co-op missions which pair four players into a team to take on hordes of computer-controlled enemies as they work towards an objective. Upon completion, Overwatch 2 players will be rewarded experience points they can use to unlock skills, perks, and passive abilities using the game’s talent tree, which will be similar to how skills trees in World of Warcraft used to work.

Blizzard completely removed WoW‘s flexible talent trees in 2012 with the release of Mists of Pandaria in favor of a “Specialization” system. This vastly reduced the number of talents and restricted users to unlocking one new ability every few levels, limiting player creativity when inventing unique builds for each of the game’s classes. Overwatch 2 seems to be bringing WoW‘s old talent trees back, which could give a level of complexity to the shooter that was never available before. That is, so long as Blizzard rights the wrongs of WoW‘s long-lost talent trees.

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Related: All Overwatch 2 PvE Enemies Explained

WoW‘s former talent trees let players create hybrid builds by mixing and matching various perks from all sides of each classes’ skill trees without committing to any one specialization. Offering that kind of choice into Blizzard’s hero shooter could greatly diversify the repetitive nature of Overwatch‘s PvP modes that encourage players to pick the same hero to rise through the competitive ranks. Skills trees could let gamers create unique ways to play heroes that have been piloted the same way since 2015.

Overwatch 2 Could Bring Back WoW Talent Trees


Overwatch 2 Revives A Long-Lost World of Warcraft System Reinhardt skill tree


Blizzard debuted Overwatch 2‘s talent trees during Blizzcon 2021 on February 19. It appears like users will be able to select any skill out of a hero’s three talent trees, so long as they’ve unlocked the preceding perk. The image above showcases Reinhardt’s skill tree, and while players could spend all 34 available points on a single tree, Overwatch appears to let supplement one tree with skills from another. That will let users build their favorite hero to complement their playstyle instead of being locked into a single specialization.

It’s pivotal that Blizzard makes every skill listed in a talent tree impactful enough to be considered as a viable choice. World of Warcraft‘s old talent trees suffered from the illusion of choice, since many perks were considered completely useless compared to others. That led to certain abilities being completely ignored in all situations, which eventually led Blizzard to pivot to Specializations to clear out disregarded skills.

Overwatch 2 seems perfectly suited to take talent trees where World of Warcraft could not. Its roster of 32 heroes is highly diverse, but it has grown stale because it would be difficult to balance a competitive PvP shooter with such a wide array of skill options. Now that PvE is coming to the forefront of Blizzard’s hero shooter, it can experiment with giving players the same kind of freedom as its MMORPG.

Next: Overwatch 2: Every New Character & Hero Design Coming (So Far)

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Updated: February 23, 2021 — 9:04 pm

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