Overwatch’s 2021 Archives event, taking place between April 6 and April 27, received a somewhat unusual reception from the playerbase.
Overwatch Archives Skins: sinking without a Trace
The annual Archives events allow players to engage in special time-limited game modes as well as to earn some unique new skins that they can pick up through lootboxes or through achievements.
Overall, the gameplay experience was typical of previous events of its kind: a classic take on the Overwatch storyline, being able to play as certain heroes and progress through the storyline of trying to fight through waves of enemies and complete objectives.
Typically, the Overwatch Archives events also come with a whole new set of skins that pertained to the hero’s past, such as Talon Baptiste or Blackwatch Moira. However, this new set of skins were not as popular as they had little to do with the story of Overwatch and were more focused on the typical fun, quirky skin that Blizzard normally puts out.
Skins like Cavalry Tracer or Solder: 1776 may have seemed unique when they were being created, but it wasn’t quite what the players wanted. The skins themselves aren’t the issue, it is the fact that players wanted to have themed skins for the themed event. While the ‘theme’ could be a time-warped take on the Overwatch team, players wanted to see the storyline progress a bit more and for the skins to reflect that.
Overwatch Archives gameplay: can’t live without it
While players may have been disappointed with the skins, the reaction to the gameplay was quite the opposite. In the game mode Storm Rising, players were able to chase the evil Maximilien while fighting off members of his nefarious team, Talon. The second game mode, called Retribution, also has players fighting off members of Talon, but this time as the members of Blackwatch.The plot here really allowed players to jump into the Overwatch story and see some of the game’s most popular heroes in action. The final game mode is a classic, called Uprising. Here, players get to play as the members of the classic Overwatch team and fight their way through King’s Row and destroy as many Nulls as possible.
While some of these game modes may be similar to those from the previous Archives event, the fact that there were new changes to each map made the gameplay experience that much more interesting. It would have been nice for a bit more storyline progression, but that story may be saved for the release of Overwatch 2.
This iteration of the Archives event introduced new challenges to the event’s popular game modes, which are broken into three subsections. They are not all necessarily harder than the last, but instead are unique modes that allow players to challenge themselves with new rules to the events. An example of this would be in the Retribution story, where players have a mode where only critical strikes can do damage, or in Storm Rising where there is a mode that prohibits players from choosing support heroes.
As Overwatch 2 inches ever closer, the role of these events will change in the overall Overwatch player experience. Whether this will be in line with what the players are looking for remains to be seen.