Overwatch Needs to Add Cross-Progression to Save Its Playerbase

Overwatch is an incredible experience but Blizzard hasn't done enough to do this game justice.

Overwatch is an incredible experience but Blizzard hasn’t done enough to do this game justice. When Overwatch first crashed onto the scene, it quickly skyrocketed to the top in terms of revenue and concurrent players. With exciting events, new reveals, and new lore thanks to events, comics, and animated shorts, the Blizzard shooter held the world in its hands. With all games, however, there was a downturn and Blizzard ignored one crucial aspect that could have saved much of its playerbase: cross-progression. 

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While crossplay would normally be at the top of the list, cross-progression is an issue I’ve heard the most. I recently picked up Overwatch again after burning myself out on playing it far too much in those first two years post-launch. The one-liners, the in-game character interactions that teased much bigger histories, and so much more kept me intrigued, but it wasn’t enough to keep me in despite the changes made to contain toxicity. 

The folks over at Blizzard seemingly gave up on putting their usual effort in events back in 2018, which is one area where this game truly shined. There was always a constant rotation of festive limited-time activities to enjoy filled with new items to earn, but after several cycles of them just re-using old assets; many players moved onto different adventures. 

When diving back into the fight against Talon, I spoke with several players, including a few pros, about what they would have liked to see from Blizzard beyond Overwatch 2. The resounding answer that overshadowed all other discussion, including crossplay, was cross-progression. 

“I have it on Xbox and PC but I prefer PC,” one player told me. “I only hop on Xbox to help friends out that are looking for people to play with, but I hate going over to that system because I look like a noob. I’m only a level 23, versus on PC I’m a 5x cap.” They added, “I just don’t get why Blizzard never implemented cross-progression, especially with so many other games doing it like Destiny.” 

I primarily play on PC myself but I do own the game on both Xbox and PS4 but I don’t even touch the console versions for the same reason: I don’t want to lose my ranking or my earned skins, especially when unlocking that sort of cosmetic content is a major pull for the game itself and player longevity. 

Players have been begging for a story and more lore since the beginning and while Blizzard has always been transparent that a campaign was never going to happen in the first Overwatch, I personally feel like segmenting that into Overwatch 2 is a big mistake. Blizzard has already seen a massive drop in Overwatch’s player-base, staggeringly so, and while Overwatch and Overwatch 2 aren’t going to be as separated as people think, the marketing is enough to throw many off and eliminate even more players. 

Related: Deleted PlayStation Tweet Suggests a 2020 Overwatch 2 Release

There likely will be a major surge in players for the first month of Overwatch 2’s launch out of curiosity sake, but that won’t be enough to keep those numbers up once the honeymoon phase is over. Blizzard needs to implement cross-progression, and eventually crossplay, if they hope to stand up against other high contenders in the same market such as Valorant. 

What do you think, do you think cross-progression could be a massive save or is it too little too late? Sound off with your thoughts over on Twitter @PrimaGames, or hit me up over on my personal Twitter to simply tell me I’m wrong. 

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Liana Ruppert
With an arguably unhealthy obsession with Dragon Age and Mass Effect, Liana is wildly passionate about all things in the gaming community. From shooters, to RPGs, if it's out - she's playing it. A medically retired US Sailor and now full-time hoarder of gaming collectibles, Liana's passion for everything in the gaming industry is palpable. Also, if you lose her in a crowd, just casually mention any BioWare game and the crazy pterodactyl screech will without a doubt follow. You can follow her on Twitter @DirtyEffinHippy or email her for editorial inquiries at [email protected]!