For the most part, it seems as though Blizzard has made the right call with the way it handles microtransactions in Overwatch. Players have the option of purchasing loot boxes with real world cash if they so choose, in order to obtain more cosmetic items for their characters, while substantial content like new characters and maps are added for free. The problem presents itself during the game’s special events, as the themed loot boxes are only available for a limited time, which some construe as Blizzard trying to force people into buying loot boxes.
Those that still refuse to buy loot boxes instead grind excessively to unlock them, right down to the last minute of the events. Unfortunately, for unknown reasons, Blizzard decided to pull the plug on the game’s Halloween event earlier than its announced 4pm Pacific time yesterday, instead ending it at 3pm. The result is a number of angry Overwatch fans that are flooding the game’s forums with complaints.
People that were saving their in-game currency or otherwise would have purchased loot boxes had they known Blizzard was cutting things off early have expressed disappointment in Blizzard’s decision. Some have called for the company to rectify the issue by bringing the event back temporarily, and to add a countdown timer for events so that everyone knows exactly when they will end in the future.
It seems like another way to mitigate this issue would be to make the event skins available even after the event itself ends. After all, the special events in Overwatch aren’t just about new cosmetic items. They also feature game modes like Junkenstein’s Revenge or in the case of the Rio Olympics event, the Rocket League-esque Lucio Ball mode.
Speaking of Overwatch‘s Rio Olympics event, it’s hard to say when the skins from that event will ever be made available again. The Halloween skins will presumably return to the game next Halloween season, but Olympic events only take place every couple of years, and the games are unlikely to return to Rio any time soon, if ever. Considering this, one has to imagine that Blizzard does plan to make event-exclusive skins available outside of events at some point down the road, or else there will be some players that simply can’t unlock everything in the game.
Maybe Blizzard will discuss this issue at BlizzCon 2016, which is scheduled to take place this coming weekend. Blizzard may explain why the Halloween event ended prematurely, and tell fans the steps it will be taking to make things right. And if fans are really lucky, this explanation will be paired with a proper introduction for the long awaited DLC character Sombra.
Overwatch is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.