A year ago, Overwatch presented its first event to the world: the Summer Games. There was an Olympics theme (due to the 2016 Olympics) and several characters got skins that tied them to their country of origin. With Overwatch’s extremely diverse cast, this made for some fun with world pride that players from similar or identical regions could show off. But it was all luck of the draw, and loot boxes gated all of us from the skins that we truly wanted.
Eventually, Blizzard added in the ability to buy event skins with gold, an exciting development for those of us who spend a. lot. of money on this game. But while I was so stoked to get all the new skins that I really wanted for Halloween and winter, I was still bummed about missing out on my Brazilian Soccer player Lucio skin.
With the 2017 Summer Games, we have gotten some of the coolest skins that Blizzard has ever made — Dad-man 76 is absolutely stunning — but the real treasure comes in our ability to look back on a simpler time and pick up the beautiful gifts that we have missed all year.
The 2016 Summer Games skins were far more simple than this year’s, but to me they have always felt like the ones that got away. Blizzard popping in this time around to give us the option to buy them with gold is not only genius but important. We see a willingness in the Overwatch team to create a kind of accessibility and at least give of the look that they care more about their fans than the money they could gain.
Look, we all know that Blizzard makes a boat load of cash off of these events and these skins. I can tell you from personal experience that they have made a ton of money off of me alone. But what impresses me about Blizzard here is how they are able to control the green eyed monster and create an environment that allows players to get the skins they want with little financial investment.
Think about it this way: they didn’t have to add gold, but they did; they didn’t have to lower the amount of duplicates per-box, but they did; they didn’t have to make last year’s skins cost only 1000 gold (instead of the normal 3000), but they did. This shows a sensitivity toward fans, and an understanding of what the fan base wants.
Make no mistake, they also know how these changes make them look and they know it will make them even more money in the long run. That being said, what is good for the consumer is often times good for Blizzard. A willingness to try something and spend the time to reduce duplicates or lower gold costs can be both generous and profitable. It can actually can cut both ways.
Bringing these skins back allows those who missed out to pick them up. Maybe you got Overwatch during the holidays last year and missed out on Mercy’s witch costume or Winston as a Yeti. I hope for your sake that those skins come back this year just as these Olympic skins did.
Selling a skin once and throwing it in the vault forever to promote exclusivity is worthless, if you ask me. It allows a few players to pick up some exclusive pieces but at the cost of the community’s overall sadness. I understand that you may want something wholly unique to when you played, but if someone loves Zenyatta (like I love Zenyatta) and missed out on being able to complete the collection because they were out of the country last winter (you bet your ass I got that skin last year), that is a bummer.
Player’s feel attached to characters because of how well designed they are, allowing them to get the skins that they want for the characters they love is fantastic and I hope it happens for all of the events. Knowing that the Mercy skin from this year will be back again next year is oddly comforting. Obviously, I want it now, but if I can’t find the money for more boxes, or the time to play enough Overwatch, I can take solace that it isn’t gone forever.
New things can be beautiful. In fact, the new things this year are beautiful, but it is important that we give time to the past as well. To those of you who have also been waiting all year and got your favorite 2016 Summer Games skin today, I salute you. To those who miss out on 76 this year, there is always 2018.
Although who am I kidding? I’m just gonna buy more boxes tomorrow anyway.