Blizzard Announces Kiriko Free Amid Battle Pass Controversy

Kiriko stands in front of a Japanese-style village.

Image: Snow storm

Blizzard has just announced that the new (and widely disclosed) Kiriko ninja character will be free for everyone Monitor 2 players who already own a copy of the original Surveillance. While it sounds like cause for celebration, the controversial, free-to-play sequel’s decision to lock down access to most future characters behind a battle pass system was less well received. In new comments reported today, Blizzard executives explained why they believe the new system will ultimately prove acceptable.

“What we really see in the data is that a majority of players in Surveillance have the majority of their playtime on two or fewer heroes. “Jon Spector, Vice President of To watch, told reporters during a media call. “And you can get 99.9% playtime for the majority of our players with 12 heroes or less.”

So that’s the official line on why Blizzard feels justified in moving on from the original. Surveillancemodel of giving every character to all players to a system that locks new heroes behind a battle pass: Original Surveillance players haven’t played enough different characters, so they probably won’t miss them.

But there are a few mixed messages. Characters are still central to how Blizzard monetizes the new game. Surveillancethe managing director of Walter Kong told the press at an event that, “Heroes are the most engaging content we have in the game… We want to be able to continually invest in this live game service. From a business perspective, it’s not free.

To be sure, there will be some starter gifts for new and returning players. New heroes Sojourn and Junker Queen will be unlocked for free for all Season 1 players, and ninja support character Kiriko will be free for players who own the original. Surveillance. But new players who want to try out Kiriko will either have to pay $10 for the premium battle pass or grind the free one up to level 55. At least they’ll still be able to play all 32 characters from the original roster.

Read more: Everything shown during the Monitor 2 Event “Reveal”

Kiriko is a healer who can deal decent critical damage and support her allies in the middle of a firefight, and she’s been described as a “combat healer” for Genji Mains. This hints at a major shift in how Blizzard will design new heroes, in that it actively tries to prevent situations where any character can act as a “hard counter” for another.

“We’re trying to take out of the game some of these really hard interactions of rock, paper, scissors, and [replace] with more player choices,” game director Aaron Keller said. Polygon. “We’ve buffed our support heroes to make them more resilient.”

While reducing dependence Surveillance is on the counters generally sounds like a positive move, locking an ever-growing proportion of the hero roster behind battle pass tiers, free or premium, feels like a step backwards for player choice.

Monitor 2 will be released on October 4 this year.