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Potential Fixes to the Overwatch Anniversary Problem

The Problem

People have been very vocal on Reddit, the blizzard forums, and even other news sites about their problem with the anniversary event: with a whopping 134 items found in loot boxes (previous 5 events had an average of 114.8), 11 of them being legendary skins (previous average: 6.4), it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get all the ones you’ll want. I’ve lost track of how many loot boxes I’ve opened over the past five days, but I’ve played for hours on end and I got a total of one legendary skin. It was Bastion, which was a wholly uncalled for kick in the pants from Blizzard.

In this article I’ll discuss possible solutions to this problem. I’m aware that Blizzard does these events to persuade us to spend money on Loot Boxes, but this event has many more items and much rarer skins than past events. Hopefully Blizzard will implement one of the following changes or something similar to balance this event with previous ones, so the likelihood of unlocking all Anniversary items would be roughly equivalent to unlocking all Summer or New Year items. Grinding for loot boxes only to be disappointed isn’t fun.

Increase in Loot Drops

Every event loot box follows the same rules: you’re guaranteed at least one event item in each loot box, and if you’re lucky you might get more. Most of the items in this event will be either voice lines or player icons, as those combined make up 55% of all items. However, what the players really want are the skins and the new dance emotes. Those combined, however, make up 26% of all items. Changing the rule slightly to not include player icons or voice lines in the “at least one item” rule would get us many more anniversary items. However, I see this change as unlikely as it might make unlocking the skins “too easy” in Blizzard’s eyes.

Personalized Loot Drops

As you can see from the above image, I’m a D.Va main. The game rewards me for loyally playing D.Va for countless hours with a total of one skin drop over the last 85 level up. Actually, it gave me two, but they were exactly the same skin. My original gripe with this started back in the New Year event when I spent hours grinding for loot boxes desperately hoping for the Palanquin skin, which I never got. Naturally, with the dozens of Anniversary loot boxes I’ve opened I was desperately hoping for her event skin.

The game said “Screw you, here’s Bastion”, a hero who I have a grand total of 0 hours, 0 minutes, 0 seconds on. I don’t want that skin, and there are a few other heroes that I’d be perfectly fine with never getting any of their skins. This is a feature that I’d most want to see incorporated: rewarding players for hero loyalty and being more likely to give them items for heroes they play more. Or, an alternative for getting skins you desperately desire:

Trading

Earlier today, I was playing with a friend of mine, when he stopped to open a loot box. It was the D.Va skin I so coveted. He, however, already had the officer skin, and didn’t need the cruiser skin. We both agreed that Overwatch needed a trading system implemented. He’d be able to take the Bastion skin off my hands and I’d take the D.Va skin off his. Measures would have to be taken to prevent abusing this system, but this would be a great way to relieve the frustration of getting a legendary skin for a character you hate.

Extending the Event

This is the final suggestion I have. Of the six events Blizzard has run for Overwatch, four of them have lasted 21 days, and two have lasted 22 (Halloween and Uprising). However, none of them have had the amount of loot that the Anniversary has had, and extending the event by even a few days would alleviate the pressure we’re feeling to grind out loot boxes and hope that we get something for our mains. Playing the game for hours at a time is exhausting and opening one loot box per hour only to receive disappointment doesn’t make it better. My failure in the Lunar New Year event led me to stop playing Overwatch for a few months because it became a chore by the end. Blizzard, on the off chance that you’re reading, I know that you mostly just want our money, but if you balance out the monumental task of “unlocking everything you want” with just one of these suggestions, you’ll make millions of players very happy. And isn’t that your goal as a developer?

Maxwell Broggi-Sumner
Max is a student at Rutgers who likes writing fantasy and playing video games such as Zelda, Mario, Undertale, Earthbound, and Stardew Valley.

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