Even though Overwatch has only been out for 6 months and was already incredibly polished at launch, the game has received 2 new characters bringing its roster to 23 (Ana / Sombra), 2 substantial events with their own custom maps/modes and tons of new items (Summer Games / Halloween Terror), competitive play with golden weapons skins as rewards, a new map (Eichenwalde) with another on the way (Oasis), as well as tons of balancing that has mixed the game up keeping competitive play fresh.
Ever since Blizzard tweeted out a Santa-themed Torbjorn even before the game launched, and then a bunch of holiday voice lines were datamined back in September, players have been expecting a winter holiday event. Honestly every major update has not only improved the game but each has raised the bar based on feedback from the last. The skins for the Summer Games weren’t all that great on top of 3 being recolored duplicates, there was no way to buy the skins with in-game currency, and Lucioball’s take on Rocket League while fun was somewhat poorly implemented. When the Halloween Terror event came around, all 12 skins were top notch and even the loot box itself looked way cooler, they redecorated/lit a whole map for the season, the new mode was the first real PVE content (4-player co-op horde/tower defense) and was met with almost universal praise, and all the items were now purchasable with coins for those that would rather save up coins prior vs playing a ton or spending for boxes during the event period.
With the Christmas / winter holiday event now confirmed for December 13th, 2016, that sets a trend of 42-49 days (6-7 weeks) between events, and the other two lasted almost exactly 3 weeks each, so the winter event should follow suit to end on January 3rd. The quick gif confirms a wintery makeover of the London-inspired map Kings Row, much like the Halloween Hollywood [Interactive 360° Video] of the prior event.
Datamined / Leaked Info
- Many Holiday voice lines from pre-Halloween patch.
- Christmas Music and “The Arena” – A number of clips came out of the most recent patch, most notably what is clearly Christmas music for the main menu or a level intro, and lines from Athena the robot narrator alluding to an Arena, its possible Intro Music, and challengers and gladiators to fight within it. One might expect them to do another holiday-oriented mode playable only during the event like the last two, but the contrast of a gladiatorial arena and Christmas makes me think otherwise. In this context an arena sounds to me like another co-op PVP mode, but against more substantial “bosses” (hopefully with telegraphed mmo-style attacks to dodge or even traps and variant layouts to mix things up). I could see them launching that mode permanently with or without temporary holiday decorations, I could see it being just a holiday mode, but there’s also the possibility that it’s an addition to come later down the line and has no connection to the winter event at all.
- Cosmetic Count per Character – As outlined in the chart below, those looking at the new item IDs have determined the number of skins/emotes/highlight-intro/victory-pose each hero would get (from 0-2), that there should be 12 skins and at least 50 sprays total, and that all heroes would get unique voice lines and sprays just like the past events.
- “Winter Wonderland” Name – On VK, what is essentially the Russian version of Facebook, the postcard gif was uploaded by an official account with the file name “OW_WinterWonderland_Postcard-Facebook_RU_RU_640x459.gif“. Considering it is a worldwide game and the two word naming trend, this seems all but confirmed.
|Holiday Skins||Summer Games||Halloween Terror||Winter Wonderland|
|Zarya||Legendary (2)||? ?|
|Click each for a preview image!||? = Skin / Emote / Highlight Intro / Victory Pose|
Assets and screenshots are often teased/leaked closer to launch day, but for now, here are a bunch of fun holiday skins designed by fans! [click to expand]