Overwatch 2 Removes Phone Requirement for Existing Players

Alessio Palumbo
Overwatch 2

One of the early complaints fans had with Overwatch 2 was that Blizzard made it a requirement to add a phone number to even play the game. However, following a significant backlash, Blizzard has now reconsidered and announced that it will remove the requirement for most existing Overwatch players.

We have made the decision to remove phone number requirements for a majority of existing Overwatch players. Any Overwatch player with a connected Battle.net account, which includes all players who have played since June 9, 2021, will not have to provide a phone number to play. We are working to make this change and expect it to go live on Friday, October 7. We will update players once it is in effect.

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We remain committed to combating disruptive behavior in Overwatch 2—accounts that were not connected to Battle.net as well as new accounts will still have to meet SMS Protect requirements, which helps to ensure we’re protecting our community against cheating. If a player is caught engaging in disruptive behavior, their account may be banned whether they have a new account or not.

Another major launch issue was the long queues. Blizzard explained that they have fixed some of the causes behind the problem, though players should still expect to experience some queues.

Players may have been seeing their queue numbers jumping around, going from a small number to a larger number. This is due to there being two queues for players—one through Battle.net, then one through the game itself. This process is usually invisible to players, but was being seen in real time. We have made changes to simplify the queuing process, so players should now only be experiencing the one queue before entering the game.

There are several areas where we’re working to improve stability. Today we’ve patched a server that is critical to the login experience, and this change has increased login reliability. Beyond queues, we’re in progress with another server update that will reduce the occurrences of players being disconnected once they’re already in game.

Finally, the player database is being overloaded, which cascades and causes a backup in the login system, which eventually leads to some people being dropped out of queues or being unable to log in at all. We’re continuing to add nodes to ease the pressure on the player database. The process of adding nodes requires replication of data, which inherently adds pressure to an already stressed system, so we’re doing it slowly to not cause any further disruption as devs and engineers work through separate issues. We are also currently throttling queues in order to protect the player database as much as we can while we scale—this feels bad in the short-term, but once it’s done, will greatly improve the experience for players across multiple fronts moving forward.

As a reminder, Overwatch 2 launched in early access as a free-to-play title. It currently only features PvP, whereas the long-awaited PvE mode should be added to the game sometime next year.

For our impressions of the current game, check out this article.

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