The conclusion of Uprising (the most recent event in Overwatch) happened a bit oddly. It ended earlier than expected, and then Blizzard Entertainment subsequently brought it back online and extended it for a day. Players ended up spending currency for loot they didn't think they would have another chance to get, and a whole bunch of people probably missed out. A similar thing happened in October, with the Junkenstein's Revenge event ending a bit prematurely. The cries of Mercy fans who didn't get the Witch skin could be heard around the world. Clearly, something needs to be done.
Seasonal events are nothing new to a game with a randomized loot system like Overwatch. Many games have events surrounding specific real-world holidays like Easter or Christmas, and they often put out cosmetics, special quests, or other goodies for players to pick up for a limited time. Blizzard Entertainment is no different, and they've continued a practice that they originally began in World of Warcraft with their seasonal events. In addition, many games have events specific to the universe. There are no special holidays in the summer in many countries, but that's when you'll find the Summer Games are happening.
Aside from giving players a fun new game mode to play, events in Overwatch are all about those special cosmetics. Each event has its own special kind of loot box; typically one of the four items (at the minimum) will be from that event. Lucky players will get their desired skins, sprays, and voice lines as rewards in the boxes, and some of the less fortunate players will have to spend valuable in-game currency to buy the things that they want. The end of an event presents a firm deadline: once it's over, you can't get any more event lootboxes and you can't buy the event items with currency.
Unfortunately, some players get screwed when an event ends. The sensible thing to do is to not spend any of your currency until the very last moment of the event. Duplicates only give you 20% of an item's value, and event cosmetics are triple the normal prices. (That is, a regular Legendary skin costs 1,000 credits and an event Legendary skin costs 3,000.) If you get a dupe of something you bought, it sucks. It feels like a setback because, well, it is.
Some other unfortunate souls miss the end of the event. This problem largely falls on Blizzard's shoulders; it's really a mystery as to when exactly an event will end. They'll tell you outright when it begins, but the end time is up in the air. Considering how the system works, this is less than ideal to say the least. Some players will buy stuff too early and miss out, and some players will not be able to buy anything at all and miss out. Both of these situations are unfortunate but entirely fixable.
Firstly, Blizzard needs to be absolutely firm about when an event ends. Some dude at Irvine doesn't just pull a "END THE EVENT" switch at a random time. I would be really surprised to find that it wasn't scheduled to end at some point internally. Why aren't players told about this time? It's patently ridiculous that they're not, and Blizzard needs to fix this. This is such a stupidly simple mistake that they make for reasons I cannot fathom; they need to announce the exact end time for an event and actually follow through. Hell, put a big ol' countdown on the screen so players can be sure. Blizz has the technology, surely; one need only glance at the weekly Arcade rewards timer to see it in action in the game today.
As for the last minute purchases, I think there's a potential solution to hand. Let's get the business stuff front and center: an event in Overwatch is Blizzard Entertainment making a ton of cash from a limited-time event. They want to encourage people to buy stuff due to scarcity. Some players miss out, but if Blizzard made things able to be purchased year round, it would also shrink demand for the event cosmetics and probably make them feel a good bit less special.
With that said, here's my solution: at the conclusion of an event, split the currency for a week. However many credits the player has at the end of the event is shown in parentheses next to their actual credit amount. A little question bubble will explain what this means for the newbies: for one week after an event, players can use this segmented block of credits to purchase event skins. No worries about stalling to open your last loot box, you've opened them all already and you aren't earning anymore. Any credits earned afterwards don't count towards this limit, so a player can't drop a bunch of cash after the event is over to pick everything up; they'd see something like 5,125 (4,526) to indicate that only a portion of their credits can be used to make last-minute event purchases.
These two things combined would make the end of Overwatch's events a little less of a drag. The players have their fun, Blizzard Entertainment walks away with sacks of cash, and much fewer people feel like they took a long walk off of a short pier. And if this is too out there for Blizz, I'll happily settle for just knowing when an event will end for certain.
Do you think Blizzard Entertainment does a good job in handling the end of events in Overwatch? Did you miss out on any cosmetics because of an event ending prematurely or bad luck on the random loot roles? Let us know in the comments below!