Another year of Overwatch’s Summer Games has come and gone. This year, the event ran from August 8th-29th and was an overall hit. Lúcioball was brought back from the first Summer Games, but this time, with a few twists. The Summer Games also received new themed skins, much to Overwatch fans’ delight.
Lúcioball was introduced in the first Summer Games last year as a play on the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The games take place in both Brazil and Sydney and feature Lúcio as the only hero.
Two teams of three Lúcios fight each other in a unique game that’s something of a cross between soccer and the popular game Rocket League. The matches last 4-6 minutes, and the team who scores the most goals at the end wins. Lúcio’s attacks are adjusted for the brawl in order to maneuver the soccer ball and players can use jump pads and walls around the field to assist with ball movements.
This year a new mode was introduced for Lúcioball: Copa Lúcioball, the competitive version. This mode uses the Competitive Play system and skill ranking. While regular Lúcioball matches are 4 minutes long, Copa Lúcioball increases that to 6 minutes. Skill ranking is based on 10 placement matches and it will match players appropriately. Copa Lúcioball also rewards a few Competitive Points, and the top 500 received special sprays and icons at the end of the event.
New Summer Skins
As the name suggests, the 2017 Summer Games focused on summer activities. Last year’s skins were mainly Olympic in nature, focusing on the sports that the Summer Games were based on. The 2017 skins were a great contrast that highlighted the fun aspect of the game as well as the competitive part. Two “sport” skins were added this year, but they are less traditional than last year’s.
Junkrat received a cricket costume to complement his native country, Australia (though the effect was a little marred by the dirt and rumble tumble he most likely got himself into). Cricket appears to be a far more dangerous activity than one would think, based on Junkrat’s uniform and the many spokes and bombs attached everywhere. The other sports-related skins belonged to Reaper and Mercy, though not as traditional as the other Hero skins. Reaper received a motocross/biker getup to complement his guns and Mercy was pure Olympic in nature as the winged goddess, Nike.
The summer activities skins were definitely fan favorites, representing all the roles of a summer beach party. McCree played the lifeguard watching for any missteps in the water. Sombra had her scuba setup ready to go snorkeling. Back on the beach, Grillmaster Soldier: 76 was in perfect “dad” garb and ready to tend to everyone’s hunger needs. Widowmaker rounded out the cast with perfect beach-side attire for relaxing and sunbathing.
The skins were very clever and a great hit. They really embodied the nature of summer and hit all the points we think of for a perfect summer outing. Lifeguard McCree and Grillmaster: 76 were clear fan favorites, mainly for the level of detail paid to their themed accessories. Grillmaster: 76 even had soda cans to replace his healing biotic emitters. Likewise, Widowmaker and Mercy’s outfits were perfect eye-candy in fashion sense alone. Mercy’s Nike skin was splendid for her wings and saving heroes to bring them to victory. Widowmaker’s skin was the quintessential beach outfit–from her swimsuit, to her coverup, to her matching espadrilles. The art team really nailed this one!
Another highlight was increased availability. Unlike last year, the 2017 Summer Games skins and other cosmetic items could also be purchased with credits for anyone running into a streak of bad luck with loot boxes. Last year’s sports skins, which could only be acquired from loot boxes, also made a comeback — this time available to buy with credits at a reduced cost compared to the current Summer Games skins.
On the activity side, Lúcioball was a lot of fun and offered a break from the normal shooter play and maps. The addition of Copa Lúcioball was also great, allowing competitive players to still participate without feeling like they were wasting their time in a lesser mode. It also allowed more casual players to still earn Competitive Points without the ultra-competitive atmosphere that usually dominates the ranked scene.
Unfortunately, there were some lows in the Summer Games as well. Copa Lúcioball had bugs which prevented some players from being able to participate for stretch of time. The new competitive mode was accidentally using the regular competitive grouping restrictions, which meant that a lot of players couldn’t group up with their friends if they were at a different skill level in the regular game.
There were also problems with players taking advantage of the Lúcioball brawl in order to further their own play. It was quite easy for players to enter Lúcioball and either not participate (in order to easily earn experience without any effort) or to instead troll the other players for mere amusement. A new reporting system was in the works during the Summer Games events, but unfortunately, couldn’t do much to help until very late in the games due to slow implementation.
Also, new skins mean a frenzy of activity as everyone tries to collect their favorites. But this is easier said than done. Some players reported abysmally low drop rates for the legendary skins in the Summer Games loot boxes. Unfortunately, special event loot boxes still have a chance to award permanent skins as well, increasing frustration when the event loot doesn’t drop. The special holiday skins are only available during the event, so when players can’t get them from random loot boxes (or can’t acquire enough credits), they have to wait until the following year for another chance.
Next Year’s Games
The next Summer Games should be even better. Though there were downsides to the event, overall the Summer Games event keeps improving each year. Lúcioball received minor gameplay changes based on the previous year and next year will probably receive even more. Since players enjoyed Copa Lúcioball, we may even see new modes added. The art team did a fantastic job with the new skins and are getting more creative with each round. If it works the same as this year, the 2017 Summer Games skins should come back next year through reduced credits, so there’s hope yet if anyone didn’t get their favorites.