Overwatch is a team based first person shooter, but it’s so much more than that. Players look forward to not just gameplay, but in game events, world building, maps, eSports, and even out-of-game content. With the New Year already here, thoughts turn to what we can expect from Overwatch in 2017.
IN GAME EVENTS & COSMETIC ITEMS
Overwatch‘s first in-game event–Summer Games–launched in August 2016 to celebrate all things Summer Olympics. To say it was a success would be an understatement. Players went nuts for the limited edition cosmetic items, flocking to the digital store to buy sweet, sweet Summer Games Loot Boxes. As soon as Summer Games ended, speculation began regarding the rest of the year’s events. Based on what goes on in other Blizzard games and what Game Director Jeff Kaplan has hinted in conversations with fans, we can do some speculation of our own.
Some players were unhappy with Mei’s Winter Wonderland skin and Kaplan responded to fans’ concerns, stating there’s “something pretty awesome for her early next year.” A good guess is Chinese New Year, which takes place January 28. This could take the form of a few cosmetic items purchasable with gold or a week long event with fancy loot boxes. My vote rests on a week long event complete with a themed Arcade Mode and Loot Boxes. Lijiang Tower may even get into the festive spirit.
The beginning of the year brings with it a cascade of small holidays–Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter just to name a few. While St. Patrick’s Day may be ignored, events for Chinese New Year and Spring seem to be pretty likely.
After BlizzCon, Blizzard dropped Eco-Point Antartica, the location where Mei and her colleagues were frozen for a decade. Unfortunately, Eco-Point Antartica is only available in Arcade mode right now, but that doesn’t mean it won’t make the jump to Quick Play as an arena brawl.
Oasis just launched, true to their word ti launched shortly after the new year and in January 3rd. It plays as a control map and adds new features such as a jump pad and actual traffic that will kill you if you don’t get out of the way.
Looking past Oasis, there are even more maps currently in development. While some may never see the light of day, there’s a good possibility that we’ll see at least 4 new maps as the year goes on. With each recent map introducing new elements like the jump pad and traffic or the verticality of Eichenwalde, we look forward to the innovations these next play spaces will bring.
NEW CHARACTERS, WORLD BUILDING, & LORE
Right now, the name on everyone’s lips is Doomfist. Rumor that this be-gauntlet-ed character will be the next hero introduced gained traction recently with the appearance of Terry Crews at the Blizzard campus in Irvine. Crews has been very outspoken about his love of Overwatch and his desire to voice Doomfist. Now, it could just be he was touring the campus because he is a Blizzard supporter, or it could be something more.
However, Doomfist isn’t the only character that’s been teased both in game and out. We know five of the founding members of Overwatch–Torbjorn, Reaper, Soldier 76, Ana, and Reinhardt–but there was a sixth: Liao. The name appears in an in-universe news article and many fans predict that the character may be present in this aging photo of the early members of Overwatch (above).
Maps even bring along their own lore; Oasis is a city built in the middle of the desert founded by scientists. While this may not further any specific character, yet, it does give us more insight into the world as a whole and will likely be riddled with Easter eggs and clues.
As more characters and maps are released, we eagerly await their companion comics and animated shorts. The most recent comic, “Reflections,” gave a deeper look into the personal lives of a number of characters and confirmed Tracer’s place in the LGBTIA community. The Sombra “Infiltration” short ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, so we expect that storyline to be explored further in the coming year.
Finally, Overwatch League is positioned to change the face of eSports in the United States. Overwatch League will operate similar to how traditional sports team operate, meaning there will be tryouts, minimum salaries, benefits, and contracts. All hopeful players will enter a global talent pool where coaches and owners can evaluate and draft players. The League will offer players the opportunity to turn eSports into a legitimate career as opposed to a very time consuming hobby that may or may not provide enough to pay the bills.
Still in its early stages, the organization is currently staffing up for the inaugural season, which will begin later this year 2017. In the meantime, if you aspire to join the Overwatch League, continue training, learning, and making yourself better. Climb those ranks, post videos, and make a name for yourself.
What are you looking forward to in Overwatch this coming year? Let us know in the comments!
Image credits: Blizzard Entertainment