It’s the most wonderful tiiime or the mooonth.
It’s almost time for yet another Overwatch event. Just the other day, PlayOverwatch released a developer update, discussing the latest iteration of the merriest seasonal event in the game. In it, Jeff Kaplan discusses new skins, seasonal map changes aesthetics, and a brand new arcade mode.
That is certainly a lot to unpack. First up, let’s talk about those skins a little bit. Jeff mentioned a ton of new legendary skins. I was actually really lucky, come this last pass at the Summer Games event. I got literally every single skin from level grinding and arcade loot boxes. Then the Halloween event happened and I got two or three. But I’m honestly not bothered by that. I’m more interested in what he said the skins would be.
New skins for Hanzo, Junkrat, and Roadhog were mentioned. Evidently, Hanzo’s new skin is going to reflect an outfit he’d worn in one of the Overwatch comics. Meanwhile, we know nothing yet of the Junker skins. I think it could be very fitting to see Junkrat taking on the role of either a Toy from The Island of Misfit Toys, possibly a toy soldier or marionette, or the Grinch. Roadhog’s last winter skin stuck a pair of faux antlers on his head and painted his attire in festive colors. As we already have a yeti, I’m not entirely certain what else his new skin could be. He could be a faux Santa as well, but we already have Torbjorn taking that role.
I do think an amusing skin combination for the two of them would be the Miser Brothers from Year Without a Santa Claus. Junkrat could be Snow Miser and Roadhog Heat Miser. Or vice versa. They could also possibly play any of the ghosts from A Christmas Carol. Junkrat does have that ashen look to him that could make for a good Jacob Marley. And Roadhog could easily be either the Ghost of Christmas Present (typically big and jolly, fitting Roadhog’s body type) or Future (more befitting Roadhog’s terse persona).
As to speculation of other skins we could be getting, there’s not much to report. An image was leaked not terribly long ago, showing off a non-Legendary Genji skin that applies a frigid aspect to his basic look. I do think D.Va’s a bit overdue for one, as her last one was during the Anniversary event. Orisa also hasn’t seen much going on in that department. In fact, her only event skin was back during the Uprising event, early this year. I could see her getting a skin that depicts her as a reindeer. She does have four legs, after all. Speaking of omnics, I do think Bastion could get a skin, possibly as a toy. Maybe a robot made of building blocks? Furthermore, Blizzard seems to have also embraced Soldier 76’s reputation as “dad.” So I could easily see them sticking him in an ugly Christmas Sweater. And why stop at Christmas. Other holidays are celebrated around this time. We could see some skins from Ana, Pharah, or a handful of other characters that reflect this.
There are some characters I’m fairly certain we won’t be seeing get new Legendary skins. Tracer, Zenyatta, Winston, and Torbjorn are highly unlikely, as they all got Legendary skins last year. Mercy getting a new skin is unlikely as she’s already designed with angels in mind, so what more could be done with that? Giving her getup an ice theme? That could be managed without it being legendary. Moira’s brand new, so she’s not terribly likely to get a new skin. At least not a Legendary one. However, Orisa did get one during the Uprising event, which immediately followed her release. That said, her skin was story-themed, and had more of a purpose. Widowmaker also seems unlikely as she’s gotten a lot of love, lately. Between being a featured character in the “New Game+” of the updated Halloween event, getting new skins during both Summer Games and Uprising, and having a new skin on the way with the Blizzard World map. I can see them laying off of Widowmaker a bit, this time. Sorry, Widow.
Moving on from that, let’s talk maps. We don’t have much to report, here. The Hanamura and King’s Row maps are going to have their winter makeovers return. That’s perfectly fine with me. Hanamura is one of my least favorite maps to play, but one of my favorite to just look at and roam around. It’s just stunningly beautiful. Of course, I generally find Japan to be as much, so it could just be my weakness there. But seeing the cherry blossoms against the white snow is especially pretty.
King’s Row was never a map I particularly enjoyed until the advent of Death Match, which is just about the only map in DM where Widowmaker’s really any good (lots of long sightlines with minimal worry about being flanked). The map’s winter makeover didn’t really change anything for me the first time, however. The interesting thing is the new makeover coming to the Black Forest, which I actually can’t wait to see. It’s going to be interesting, observing how the team at Blizzard managed to make a map that’s typically so desolate into something Jeff finds as stunning as he does. It has its work cut out for it.
But let’s cut to the chase. Mei’s Snowball Offensive is coming back. I’ll be honest. I didn’t care much for the mode, the first time. I’m just not really into one-shot-kill games. “But you main Widowmaker!” Yes, but the difference there is that getting a body-shot with Widow isn’t instant death. And I don’t aim for headshots unless I can guarantee I’m going to hit them. That said, I didn’t dislike the mode, but I didn’t play it very much. It just wasn’t really my thing. But it’s returning, and it’s now playable in the Black Forest. I can only assume it isn’t in the other Elimination maps because they’re all far too open. Castillo and Necropolis don’t exactly give you a lot of cover.
Frankly, I’m far more interested in the new mode, “Mei’s Yeti Hunt.” For starters, I’d like to address one thing Jeff said: “We know how much you all love Mei-”
As much as I personally adore Mei with all my soul, the community hates her. With a passion. Anyone who mains Mei is subjected to more spite than the slipperiest of Genji’s or the most pitiful of Hanzo’s. I should know. I’m one of ’em. In the right hands, Mei unmakes teams. One good flank with her ult and it’s over. Granted, the mobility meta neutralizes this (a little), but Mei is looking pretty good in the new “Moira Meta,” especially given how close together teams generally want to play with a Moira around.
The idea of a 5 v 1 where the 5 is a horde of Mei is horrifying. I’ve been in that situation before. Back before the game changed, disallowing duplicate heroes, I’ve been that unlucky guy who wound up on a team opposing six Mei players. So I feel for whoever is playing Winston in this scenario. That said, we don’t know the full scope of the mode’s mechanics. It’s possible Mei’s icicle gun will be nerfed in the mode to account for the severe slant. Any handicap they can give Winston, requiring the Mei side to be more strategic will likely benefit the mode a great deal. I do hope it’s a lot of fun. Any chance I get to play Mei in a large capacity is welcome in my book.
Overall, this event is shaping up to be pretty fun for people throughout the game. New aesthetics are always fun. A new game mode will make its debut and a well-liked one returns. I’m also looking forward to what other loot will be added. New highlight intros are also pretty fun to get, after all. Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for ya, folks. If you love Overwatch as much as we do, but maybe missed their last big round of updates, check out all the stuff they announced at BlizzCon. As always, thanks for reading.
Keep up the awesome and take care,