'Overwatch 2' will no longer require legacy players to verify their phone number

The requirement is preventing people on prepaid from accessing the game.


Even Blizzard has admitted that Overwatch 2's launch has not met anybody's expectations. In a new post detailing the latest status updates for the game's rollout, the company has apologized to its players and discussed the lengthy list of issues it's had to face since the first-person shooter went live. One of the biggest updates it's making to the game is removing the need for for legacy players to link their phone numbers to to be able to play. So long as they have a connected account, which covers all players who've accessed the first Overwatch since June 9th, 2021, they're exempted from the requirement.

Blizzard originally made SMS Protect, which requires players to link a phone number to their accounts, a requirement to access Overwatch as a way to make it harder for people to cheat or to troll others. It doesn't always work with numbers associated with prepaid plans, though, and therein lies the problem. While some Mint customers were able able to link their numbers to SMS Protect just fine, players on Cricket seem to be completely locked out of the game. As Kotaku reports, fans feel like they're being punished or shamed for "being poor."

The developer is removing the requirement in response, and it expects the change to go live on October 7th. Blizzard said, however, that it remains "committed to combating disruptive behavior," which is why new accounts and old ones that had never been connected to before will still have to meet SMS Protect requirements to be able to play.

The company also made changes to simplify the queueing process, so players will no longer see their queue numbers jump from hundreds to tens of thousands and vice versa. Plus, it's working on making logins more stable to prevent players from being dropped from queues or from being able to login at all. A server update that's also in progress will reduce the chances of players being disconnected once they're already in the game. As for people's missing items, Blizzard explained that the issue is caused by incomplete account merging or by items simply taking longer to transfer over from the old game.

These issues, Blizzard said in its announcement, were "exacerbated by DDoS attacks" upon the game's launch. While the attacks didn't directly cause any of them, they made "the environment in which [the team works] on these issues more challenging." Overwatch 2 game director Aaron Keller said the team was working through a second DDoS attack late on launch day, but it sounds like the attackers have backed off. Blizzard said it has "not suffered any further attacks," which hopefully means it can now resolve issues more quickly.