When you jump into Overwatch 2 as a new player, you will be put through the FTUE, or First Time User Experience. When doing this, you will not have access to every hero in the game because you are meant to learn them at a pace. However, the heroes are the biggest selling point for Overwatch 2 and the reason why people are interested in the game. Here is how you can unlock old Overwatch characters as a new player in Overwatch 2.
How to unlock characters during FTUE in Overwatch 2
While you will start out Overwatch 2 with a limited set of characters when you start up in the First Time User Experience, it will not stay that way for long. You will unlock a new hero to play after playing a certain number of games that you see all the way through. The order you will get them in is predetermined, so there is no input needed on your end. To see the track of what heroes you will get and the games needed to obtain them, open up Challenges and go to the Hero section.
To make sure you are creating progress towards unlocking your heroes, do not leave your matches early. Stay until the victory or defeat message is displayed on your screen and you are good to leave. Also, these matches need to be played in online matchmaking Quick Play. Practice VS AI and Custom games do not count. For heroes that require a higher number of played games, you will get double progress towards them by winning matches, so try your best to win to get access to your favorite hero sooner. While some people are put off by having to unlock your heroes, Blizzard are trying to slowly introduce you to heroes instead of throwing all the dozens of characters at you at once.
As for new characters added to the roster, they will be playable if you purchase the premium tier of the battle pass they are in or reaching level 45 of the free run. If you do not unlock them within the season they debut, you can unlock them in challenges or purchase them from the in-game shop.