The Overwatch Summer Games event started three weeks ago in the lead up to the start of the Rio Olympics, and was made up of two big components:
- Every character got some new cosmetic items: skins, voice lines, sprays, emotes, as well as player icons for the user’s profile
- The slot for the weekly brawl game mode was given up to a Rocket League inspired soccer game mode called Lúcioball
Unfortunately, Lúcioball was really clunky and didn’t feel very satisfying to play, so most of the community’s attention went towards the cosmetic items.
As you may know, Overwatch uses a fairly standard gacha system as you’d traditionally find in free to play games. You can get loot boxes for free by levelling up in game, or you can spend some money to buy additional loot boxes to (hopefully) speed up your hunt for the item you want. Each loot box contains four items, and for the length of the summer games event, each loot box would contain at least one summer games item, with the remaining three items only having a chance of being a summer games item.
In normal circumstances, if you are wishing for a certain item to drop, but aren’t getting it randomly, you can buy it with gold. Gold is obtained either from within loot boxes or whenever you get a duplicate of a loot box item you already have, with varying amounts depending on the rarity of the duped item. This was a concession that was made to players during development so that they could get the specific item they wanted without needing to pump endless amounts of time or money into the game. What had the community in an uproar is the fact that the ability to buy cosmetic items with gold was disabled for summer games items. If you can’t get the specific item you’re hoping to get during the event (which ends today), then too bad, and you might get a chance to get it again if they revive the event again next year.
I spent a bit of money on loot boxes, and while I was immensely lucky to get a whole bunch of rare items, most of them are for characters I barely ever play, so I can’t say they’ll be getting much use, which is kind of disappointing. Then there’s the frustration that comes from duplicates. Being unable to use the gold you get from duplicates towards the summer games items you are desperately hoping will drop just makes duplicates feel like a middle finger.
One of the suggestions I saw on Reddit to make things more reasonable would have been to make the gold earned during the event a special variant of gold (similarly to the loot boxes) that can be used to purchase individual items from the event during its duration, and then morph back into regular gold at the end of the event. This keeps the items available for a limited time only, and prices could have been balanced to keep the scarcity of the items high while still allowing players to get the one item they wish to have.
One of the strange side effects of having gotten a few Summer Games skins is that now I’m more likely to give characters I’ve gotten skins for a shot so I can show them off in-game. I’ve started using Mercy for support more recently, even though she isn’t really favoured by the meta at this point, and I’d like to learn to play Zarya in the coming weeks, as I feel like she’s always a good asset for a team to have.
Despite the event’s flaws, I’m glad it took place, as the promise of new cosmetic items got me back into he game after a hiatus of a few months, and finally got me to grind my way up to level 25 so I can partake in some sweet sweet Competitive Play. That mode is when Overwatch really plays at its best, and it’s a ton of fun I wish everyone would get to experience.