Overwatch first released in May of 2016, and the game is going strong into 2018. Before we start to anticipate the new content that will come with the new year, it’s time to take a look back. Heroes Never Die is dedicated to celebrating all things Overwatch, and that means that we have to take this opportunity to look at 2017 and reflect on the heights the game hit during the year.
Best New Hero
Contenders: Orisa (March), Doomfist (July), Moira (November)
2017 released heroes at a languid pace, and it seemed like each hero was a very deliberate choice on the developer’s part to shift the metagame and expand the class they were a part of. Orisa, a tank, was clearly designed to stand alongside Reinhardt as an anchor tank, which was especially interesting as Roadhog and D.Va were tweaked away into their own niche roles. Doomfist was an Offense we haven’t seen the like of, and he’s been hyped up since the game’s initial announcement.
Ultimately, though, we have to award Moira the Best New Hero Pachimari Award for 2017. The game badly needed another healing support, and not only can Moira fill that role, she’s also a damage dealer. Her high skill cap kit, along with gameplay that fuses perfectly with her lore, makes her a joy. Speaking of her lore, she set off several bombshells, changing what we know about Blackwatch and science in the world of Overwatch. Moira is the newest addition to the game, but she proved you don’t need a hype campaign to emerge as an awesome new hero.
Best New Map
Contenders: Oasis (January), Horizon Lunar Colony (June), Chateau Guillard, (August), Junkertown (September)
Note: While BlizzardWorld has been revealed and is available on the PTR for testing, it has not actually been released in 2017.
New maps are one of the most popular forms of content, along with new heroes, and its easy to see why. Not only do new maps bring new lore and new environments for us to battle on, but they’re always a visual treat to explore. Even if you’re not a fan of escort maps, for instance, you can appreciate having a whole new vista to explore and examine while you yell at your teammates to get on the payload already.
Oasis, the first new map of 2017, claims our map of the year award. The environments are fun and varied, perfect for the back and forth battle of a Control map. The aesthetics remain absolutely gorgeous a full year later, and its fun to see the developers play with new elements like bounce pads and speeding cars. Add in the Oasis themed line of skins on Symmetra and Moira we got as a result, and Oasis is the clear winner of this year’s Pachimari Award for best new map.
Contenders: Rise and Shine, Honor and Glory
Honor and Glory faced slim competition this year, with Rise and Shine being the only other full fledged cinematic to see a 2017 release, but its hard to imagine a contender that could top Reinhardt. Many people critiqued Rise and Shine because it told us a story we already knew through Ecopoint: Antartica, and while we’ve seen elements of Honor and Glory in game (the corpse on Eichenwalde, Reinhardt’s admission that his hair was amazing), seeing it in a cinematic was much more fresh. We also got to see the genuine horror of an omnic army and the strength of Crusaders, now nearly lost. All of this made Reinhardt’s decision to join the Recall more poignant, and that’s why Honor and Glory is Overwatch’s best short of the year.
Contenders: Year of the Rooster (January-February), Uprising (April-May), Anniversary (May-June), Summer Games 2017 (August), Halloween Terror 2017 (October-November), Winter Wonderland 2017 (December-January)
2017 made it clear just how many events we had. Year of the Rooster through to the Anniversary felt like a breathless sprint through event after event, throwing exclusive skins at us. In fact, 2017 seemed like a year where people were questioning whether we had too many events, or at least too often.
Despite all of this, Uprising earns our Best Event skin in an absolute landslide. From incredible lore skins the community had been clamoring for (Blackwatch McCree is a strong contender for best skin of the year) to the Uprising game mode being an amazing co-op lore experience, the only criticism I have of Uprising is that we don’t have more of it.
That being said, we’d like to give Summer Games 2017 a shout out for having the best seasonal skins, improving Lucioball, and introducing the price cuts for last year’s seasonal content.
For the purposes of this Pachimari Award, ‘lore’ includes any release involving the Overwatch story, including AUs like the Halloween Terror storyline. These stories can be limited to just one comic or short, or contain a larger story. For instance, The Plan and Wasted Land are two individual products, but they both tell part of Roadhog’s story.
This year, the best lore drop is far and away everything surrounding Doomfist’s launch. After Ana and Orisa came out of seemingly nowhere, and Sombra was preceded by a long and infuriating ARG. That’s why we were both shocked and awed by Doomfist arriving with an incredible Origin animation.
Think that isn’t cool enough? Doomfist: Masquerade is also the year’s best comic, introducing a fascinating Talon support cast and bringing a James Bond style plot to Overwatch. Moira’s lore partially landed so well because Doomfist did the groundwork, and all of his release lore was by far the high point of Overwatch in 2017.
Grillmaster 76 takes the 2017 Pachimari Award for best skin. First of all, the fantasy of Dad 76 cracking open beers over a BBQ and worrying about whether his various wayward children are wearing sunscreen is both novel and a unique skin, compared to the rest of his mostly military themed apparel. Secondly, every aspect of the skin has so much love poured into it, from his tactical shades to the fact that his healing drop is now a can of beer. The label even contains health warnings that it does not replace a healthy lifestyle and it ‘may contain enemy tears!’ Even his rifle is marked as an “A Salt Rifle”. While Dragon Symmetra claims the runner up spot, her comparatively plain turrets and ultimate structures mean that she loses the prize to 76, socks, sandals, and all.
With 2017 behind us, what are you most excited for in 2018? Would you have awarded the prestigious Pachi to a different hero? The Heroes Never Die crew will be posting our hopes and dreams for the coming year in the days to come.