Overwatch’s Anniversary event came to a close last night, with a gargantuan number of players frantically rushing to bag one final legendary skin or dance emote. Blizzard's celebration of a year gone by since Overwatch's release featured their biggest injection of content to date, with three new arena maps and a ton of cosmetics too.
Despite introducing a great deal of content to the game, overall it's an event that's not been without its frustations. Now that everyone’s had time to reflect, we'll summarise what the Overwatch community made of the event and add our own thoughts on the issues that have been raised.
The loot box system needs attention
Throughout the Anniversary event, Blizzard’s official forums and the Overwatch Subreddit have been awash with complaints from players posting their frustrations about the loot boxes and their random drop rates.
Due to the completely random nature of loot box drops and Blizzard’s decision to include all the vanilla content in them too, many players received duplicates or very little content from the event by the time it ended. Then there's the inflated expense of the Anniversary items as well, which left many feeling a little short-changed from the whole experience.
We’ve already covered this issue in detail elsewhere on the site, and while we share the community's pain ourselves, Blizzard's in a tricky situation. On the one hand players need to feel rewarded for their ongoing efforts, but on the other Blizzard needs to support development of more meaningful content of maps and heroes
Perhaps a reworking of the effort/reward ration is in order here, and not just for special events. Very recently, Blizzard introduced a Double XP weekend to round off the Anniversary celebrations, and we wouldn't be surprised if this proves to be just the start of future changes in response to community feedback.
It was a little underwhelming
With the Anniversary event came a plethora of Legendary skins, dance emotes for each hero and over 100 new items including player icons and sprays. Despite the scale of the offering though, there’s a general consensus that this enormous content drop still didn't provide the same level of enjoyment as previous events like Junkenstein’s Revenge and Uprising.
Both Junkenstein’s Revenge and Uprising received an overwhelmingly positive response due to their fun and chaotic PvE content that breathed genuinely new life into the game. It’s unsurprising that the community values meaningful, varied content in comparison to cosmetics - and we reckon Blizzard will learn from this going forwards.
Hopefully Blizzard will realise that events which add an exciting new way to play Overwatch for a short period of time are worth more to players than just a fresh shower of cosmetic items - especially given the currency involved. It wouldn't surprise us if the Anniversary event will have a very different flavour next year.
1 vs 1 Changes and Lockout Elimination were excellent
Three new arena maps arrived with the Anniversary event, meaning we weren’t restricted to just Eco Point Antarctica for our 1 v 1 fix. What’s more, Lockout Elimination was a surprise hit, and - in our opinion - the real highlight of the event.
We really hope Blizzard continue to introduce inventive game modes like Lockout Elimination, rather than shoehorning traditional game modes (Capture The Flag) into Overwatch for the sake of it.
It’s nice to know that they haven’t neglected the 1 vs 1 and 3 vs 3 modes though, and it seems likely they'll build on these in the near future.
It seems as if Blizzard's decision to flood Overwatch with unlockable items didn't quite pay off. Instead of players lapping up the possibility of grabbing loads of special cosmetics, it actually heightened their frustration at a duplicate-stuffed loot box system which is showing its age for veteran players.
While the new maps were a great addition, it's not the same as a fully fledged PvE adventure that explores the over-arching story, or challenges you to play Overwatch in a completely different way. Let's hope for a bit more of that next time around.