Blizzard shocked the Overwatch world back in May of this year when they announced that Overwatch 2 would abandon the 6v6 structure of the original in favor of a 5v5 one by removing one of the two tank roles. Their decision was quickly met with backlash by the fanbase, but Blizzard stuck to the 5v5 format.
In an Overwatch forum post Thursday, Blizzard justified their move to 5v5 and deletion of a tank, outlining what gameplay changes they hope the decision will produce. Here are the big changes Blizzard are hoping to bring about:
First, by reducing the number of tanks from two to one, Blizzard wants to eliminate the double barrier strategy, more frequently known as double shield. Double shield strategies permeate all levels of play in Overwatch and the development team noted they feel that shields can be too oppressive in the game's current state. It's worth noting Blizzard still wants shields to feel impactful and effective, and they are exploring different ways to do so.
Another change Blizzard is looking to make is to increase the viability of flanks. Due to the current two-tank setup, flanking is often not a worthwhile strategy to invest in. By removing a tank, Blizzard feels set-ups, especially high-ground set-ups, will become more vulnerable to the flank while being completely exposed. This should add more dynamic and evolving gameplay as teams can't just lockdown an area and force their opponent to take solely head-on engagements. Only time will tell if one less tank leads to more flanking success.
Finally, a major problem the Overwatch development has with tanks is their static gameplay. That's not to say that tanks aren't mobile, D.Va, Winston, and Wrecking Ball are more mobile than some DPS, but they play in quite a static fashion. Tanks mainly serve as a protective unit for the rest of the team, not frequently trying to actively disrupt or do damage to their opponents. By deleting a tank, Overwatch 2 hopes to increase tank players' frequency of being up close and personal and putting more pressure on the enemy's DPS and support players.
While the changes come in good faith from Blizzard, players are still quite resistant to them. The forum post urges patience until players have a chance to try out Overwatch 2 for themselves. Whether players are still upset over the switch to 5v5 or not can only be determined after the public gets their hands on the game.