It's hard to imagine there wasn't a day when Overwatch didn't exist. Its sheer presence and popularity are so overwhelming that it's baffling to think only a year has passed since it was released; just the idea that Widowmaker and McCree were once overpowered seems like a laughable, distant memory. However, for a game that has received numerous game of the year awards (which was almost the case for us) and had over 30 million players respond to Winston's recall to reboot Overwatch, it's no wonder it has become so embedded in our subconscious. It shouldn't be a surprise either that Blizzard would mark its inception with a celebratory event called "Overwatch Anniversary," which has been running since May 23 and will continue until June 12.
There are 11 new skins to unlock, which all happen to be Legendary this time around. Some of these include cybernetic versions of Soldier: 76, Hanzo, and Zarya and unexpected ones like Beekeeper Mei and Sentai Genji. As always, there are player icons, voice lines, and sprays to earn in the 100+ event items, including dance emotes for every character. In addition, you can also be on the lookout for new standard items that were patched in, notably including emotes for Sombra, Orisa, Tracer, and a meme-inspired one for Reaper. Never change, Blizzard.
The next big part of the event is found in the return of Elimination mode, which has not one, but three maps you can explore in 3v3 or 1v1 matches. Necropolis is composed of Egyptian ruins, which has been a hideout for Ana within Overwatch's lore during her long absence. Castillo is another area of Dorado where you can find Sombra's home, and you can even make out one of Vishkar Corporation's towers in the backdrop, which we'd wager is where the classic Dorado map is located. Lastly, the long-rumored Black Forest is a rainy, rural locale outside Eichenwalde. For more pictures and information about the event, you can check out those details here.
While that may be a surface level overview of the Anniversary event, there's more to it than meets the eye. The patch notes reveal that new options have been added to Custom Games related to secondary abilities, tiebreakers, and more. There's a curious new control option for "Recoil Recovery Aim Compensation."
By default, weapon recoil recovery is overruled by downward crosshair movement. This means that downward movement during the weapon’s recoil recovery phase will override the weapon’s natural recoil recovery. This option allows you to remove this functionality, meaning a weapon’s natural recoil recovery movement acts independently from downward crosshair movement. In practice, this will make your crosshair move faster if you aim downward during the recoil recovery window.Character alterations include Genji and Hanzo being able to attack immediately after wall climbing and a buff to the latter's Storm Bow charge speed. Reaper's ammo is now fully loaded when activating his Wraith Form, the ability for Reinhardt's Ultimate to "climb" up surfaces has been lowered a meter, and so forth. You can check out other bug fixes and changes by clicking here.
Lastly, it should be mentioned that for those who haven't joined Overwatch, you can play it for free across all platforms starting today until 11:59 pm on May 29. You can find out what you'll have access to and how to install the game here. And should you want to continue your experience into the future with new events and competitive seasons, you can currently catch an amicable $20 discount on Overwatch's standard or game of the year edition on the official Blizzard website that will be active until June 5. We also recommend checking out Best Buy and other retailers like Target for similar discounts, and for those on consoles, the PlayStation store and Xbox Marketplace are offering equally enticing deals for those with a PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold subscription, respectively.
What do you make of the new skins for the Overwatch Anniversary Event? What will you be hunting for in Loot Boxes? Are you going to encourage some friends to hop on Overwatch this weekend? Boop each other in the comments section below and let us know!