The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are starting on August 5th, but the developers over at Blizzard decided to bring the celebration early with an update to Overwatch, their fabulously popular cartoon shooter. The new update includes a seasonal gamemode called Lucio-ball and over 100 new items.
This new gamemode is played using all Lucio teams (hence the name) with the goal of getting a soccer ball into the opposing team’s goal. This is done using Lucio’s different abilities, especially his sonic push. Lucioball shakes up the teams a bit as well, pitting 3 player teams against each other as an orange team and a blue team.
According to the game’s assistant director, Aaron Keller, understanding Lucio’s unique abilities is crucial to dominating in this gamemode. But players should also be aware that a few tweaks have been made to Lucio’s move-set in order to make him better suited to soccer and not battle. For example, his primary fire was changed to a melee attack for getting up-close to the ball. Lucio’s songs now only effect himself and the ball, and his ultimate now brings the ball towards him instead of healing his teammates. Note that these changes are only made in the Lucioball gamemode, not regular Quick Play or Competitive play.
This new Olympic event will be available until August 22nd, which is just around the closing ceremonies for the Summer 2016 Olympics. And according to Blizzard, if fans really like this type of content and game modes, there could be more coming in the future. This was revealed in a recent developer blog by Jeff Kaplan, one of the people on the Overwatch team:
“This is the first event that we’re trying, and if it’s really cool and successful and you guys like it, we’ll probably have this event run again next summer as well. Maybe it’ll have some new content in it as well. This is the type of thing we want to do where sometimes we explore very hardcore, competitive parts of the game, like you saw us do that in the June update when we added Competitive Play.”
As for the items, they cannot be purchased separately unlike regular items, but instead come in their own loot boxes at the current going rate of two limited edition loot boxes for $1.99. These special Rio loot boxes contain four items limited edition items of varying rarity, but one Rio Olympics item can also be found in regular loot boxes during the promotion. Regular loot boxes can be earned by leveling up in game, or by purchasing them for real money. All of these items can only be earned for a few weeks which will make them extra rare, and considering the specificity of these items to the Olympic 2016 games, it’s highly unlikely that they will ever make an appearance in Overwatch again, even if Lucioball might come back.
The fact that these items are so rare and can only be earned quickly by purchasing loot boxes has angered many players, many of which are already finding it hard to earn loot in the base game without spending money. Because regular loot boxes can only be earned for free by leveling up, many high-level players have a harder time getting them because as their rank goes up, the harder it is to level up. The reason for the rarity of the 100 or more Rio Olympics items was addressed in a recent developer blog for the game.
“We wanted the seasonal loot boxes to feel more rare and special and the items within them to feel more rare and special. So for that reason, they’ll only be available for those few weeks and you won’t be able to buy those items with credits, either.” -Jeff Kaplan
It does make sense, but it’s still troubling for many players that it will be neigh impossible to earn all the items without spending money before time is up. However, there is a silver lining here. Many more events could be coming in the future, with more rare items. Blizzard has been known to listen to its customer base for feedback, and it is possible that a different system will be implemented for the next time seasonal items are introduced.