Overwatch 2 needs your phone number: Again: The SMS Protect requirement, which was removed by Blizzard in an effort to prevent malicious actors from creating free Overwatch 2 accounts, has been reinstated. Overwatch 2 players, whether or not they have a prepaid mobile phone, will soon be required to link a phone number to their Battle.net accounts, the publisher said in a blog post.
Overwatch 2’s release on October 4 has been a bit of a shambles. A lot of the maps were taken away. As expected, the launch was marred by server overload, rendering the game essentially unusable for most users. Blizzard had to lock a third of the roster and remove heroes like Bastion and Mei to fix their kits.
The necessity of an SMS Protect number has been a source of frustration for Overwatch 2 players. Some players complained to Kotaku that they were “punished for being poor” since they couldn’t play the free-to-play hero shooter game because SMS Protect didn’t support prepaid lines. Overwatch 2 players with linked Battle.net accounts “will not have to submit a phone number to play,” Blizzard said after receiving widespread criticism for the controversial requirement.
the truth about overwatch 2 pic.twitter.com/aYmVb4GPys
— Hoshi (@HoshizoraOW) November 17, 2022
Blizzard has apparently reversed course once again. The developer announced the return of SMS Protect for Overwatch 2 in a blog post dated November 17.
Blizzard announced in a new blog post update that “effective immediately,” the service’s global SMS Protect would be made available to pre-paid phones. We’re happy to see more people join Overwatch 2, and we’re dedicated to keeping the game’s community safe from toxic conduct. We apologize for any inconvenience this delay may cause and hope to see you in-game soon!
Kotaku contacted Blizzard to get their take on the matter.
Blizzard announced in an updated blog post on November 17 that SMS Protect will be available in “many hours,” but all I had to do to activate it was enter a phone number when setting up a new Battle.net account. So, it seems the need has become operational sooner than originally expected. Great.
Overwatch 2’s new executive producer, Jared Neuss, issued a blog outlining upcoming changes at the same time Blizzard announced the return of SMS Protect. These include making adjustments to matchmaking to better “identify a player’s skill tier and division” and balancing heroes that are “good for the current state of the game.”
Additionally, Neuss mentioned that the combat pass is undergoing some testing to make the prizes feel more rewarding and less grindy; however, these changes “may take more time to lock in.”
Overwatch 2 New Highlights Junker Queen "Five Fingers" 🔪🖐️ pic.twitter.com/qb0deKfkpy
— Naeri X 나에리 (@OverwatchNaeri) November 17, 2022
It’s unwise to talk about ideas before they’re locked down, Neuss said in his blog post. Overwatch 2’s development is a perpetual balancing act between immediate user requests, long-term goals, and ongoing challenges. Once the project is close to completion and delivery is imminent, it is easier and safer to discuss it. Having said that, I believe it is prudent to communicate our ideas early so as to foster a more fruitful conversation between the development team and the community. As always, your comments are read, appreciated, and incorporated into our future plans. The reason we require it is to make sure you enjoy playing the game for a long time.
Overwatch 2’s second season will begin on December 6th, and Blizzard, known for its hostile corporate culture, has revealed the date. There will be a new map, and another battle pass and the tank hero Ramattra will become available at Battle Pass Level 55.
‘Overwatch 2’ no longer prohibits gamers from using prepaid numbers
Gamers using prepaid phones may finally play Overwatch 2. An Activision Blizzard community manager announced the modifications on Thursday, undoing an overzealous anti-cheating effort that had made it harder for prospective players to check out the game. The reversal happened in the first-person shooter’s newest patch and is effective immediately.
Ahead of the game’s free-to-play early access period, which debuted on October 4th, Blizzard had announced a range of moderating techniques to combat cheating and smurfing, including the postpaid number requirement. Banning prepaid numbers from SMS verification may have been a well-intended step to prevent toxic behavior, as it’s far cheaper and quicker for cheaters and trolls to set up prepaid numbers than postpaid ones. But sadly, it also banned prepaid players acting in good faith from playing the game.
Blizzard’s other moderating mechanisms are still in effect. Every Overwatch 2 player needs to attach a phone number to their Battle.net account to play, and that number can’t be tied to another account. You still can’t utilize VOIP, WiFi, text-only, and internet phone services to authenticate your account, so you can forget about dusting up that old Google Voice number as a workaround. If you played the original Overwatch, you don’t need to bother about SMS verification. Other moderation methods still in force include audio transcriptions for reported voice conversation recordings and automated review tools for pouring through the generated text.
It’s been a rough start for Blizzard’s online first-person shooter. In addition to barring prepaid users, Blizzard said a DDoS attack left players locked in a queue behind tens of thousands of other gamers. Bugs have also peppered the game’s early-access period, including missing objects and currency, sections not populating and other areas being unavailable. Soon after, Blizzard promised freebies to compensate players for the botched rollout.
What use is my phone number to Overwatch 2?
The Need for a Mobile Device in Overwatch 2
While it may seem out of the ordinary to require a phone number in order to play an online game, Overwatch 2 is using a technology called SMS Protect to do just that.
Without a phone number, can I still play Overwatch 2?
At the time of the game’s release in early October, players were forced to provide a phone number in order to sign up, but the makers have since scrapped this requirement. If you have played the original Overwatch after June 9, 2021, you do not need to provide a phone number.
What’s the beta number for Overwatch 2 and do you need it to participate?
Still, new gamers will need a phone number that can be verified before they can join: “Accounts that were never linked to Battle.net and new accounts will still have to meet SMS Protect rules, which helps to ensure we’re protecting the community against cheating.”
Can you play Overwatch 2 without a phone that can send and receive text messages?
As of 3:45 PM PT / 6:45 PM ET on 10/7/2022, Blizzard has stated that SMS Protect will no longer be required for PC players who have previously played Overwatch and for console gamers who had Overwatch linked to their Battle.net account prior to the release of Overwatch 2.
My Blizzard phone number is being blocked, what do I do?
Create a Blizzard account with a burner number from MobileSMS.io if you don’t want to use your real number. It’s the best way to avoid giving up your phone number while still enjoying all of your favorite Blizzard titles.
Why am I being denied access to Overwatch 2?
The servers are probably having serious problems if you continue getting the “Unable to Log You into Overwatch 2” error message. This could be due to an issue on your end while entering your credentials, but more likely it is an indication of a problem with Blizzard’s servers.
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