Every year the Overwatch community is treated to an Archives event as they head into spring, but the 2021 iteration has left many of us out in the cold. So, why did Archives 2021 flop?
Even before it began Overwatch’s 2021 Archives event came under fire for being completely “stale.”
Chastised by Blizzard’s announcement that they’d be pulling all of their efforts into the highly anticipated Overwatch 2, fans everywhere have criticized the developers’ decision to release a limited amount of new content into the current iteration.
Archives, for many, was a massive letdown, as it felt like the event was thrown together last minute. Most importantly, though, it didn’t match the overall theme that the event supposed to encapsulate: the history of Overwatch.
Now, it’s over to Blizzard to pick up the pieces.
Archives 2021: An unwanted blast from the past
Some of Overwatch’s most iconic skins have their roots in the Archives event. From Cadet Oxton to Combat Medic Ziegler, fans always love diving into the history of their favorite heroes.
This year, though, they took a very different approach by adding historical themed skins instead of ones celebrating Overwatch’s detailed past. As you can imagine, it went down like a lead balloon.
As a historian, I always love to see history skins in games, but the event itself is meant to celebrate Overwatch. There’s nothing Overwatch about these skins.
We wanted to see a Talon Moira skin, or maybe something that delves a little more into the past of more mysterious characters like Orisa. Even that hilarious little Reaper emote couldn’t save this cosmetic lineup.
As per usual, three Epic skins dropped during the event. Archives, however, has a twist where you have to earn stars by completing (admittedly very cool) missions to earn them. The sparkly currency then contributes to unlocking the three levels of cosmetics for that week’s challenge.
Weekly Challenge skins have unlocked a whole host of amazing concepts, including the most recent Pachimarchi Roadhog skin. So, looking at this lineup, there’s just not much to get excited about.
Corredor Lucio? Meh. Just more punky-looking recolor. Subaquatic Zenyatta? The top part’s cool, the idea is cool, but the bottom half just looks unfinished.
The only one saving this lineup is Camouflage Mercy.
Mercy on call to save the day
As a Mercy fan, this skin is the saving grace of this event. It fits into the historical Overwatch theme much more effectively than the rest. After all, it would make sense for our favorite combat medic to have a camo version of her normal uniform.
You can easily imagine this version of the Swiss icon perusing the battlefields in an almost Florence Nightingale style, or whipping out her Caduceus Blaster to fight alongside Captain Amari.
Additionally, what’s great about this skin is the uncanny likeness to Mercy’s voice actor, Lucie Pohl. Lucie is at the heart of the Overwatch community, so to see her virtual counterpart sporting her iconic black bob will bring a smile to many faces.
Fans wanted a cool Mercy skin, and on that note Blizzard delivered.
Looking to the future
While Anniversary lurks on the horizon and may present an opportunity for the devs to redeem themselves, because they certainly need to address Archives. Attacked for being repetitive and, now, unfaithful to its roots, all eyes turn to Blizzard to resurrect this event like they have done with Diablo II.
The answer is pretty simple. Do what worked best.
As a community, we love to learn about Overwatch’s lore, and we do that by playing as past iterations of our favorite heroes. A whole host of characters don’t have Archives skins, and lots of us want to get to know them. Giving some of them future Archives skins would definitely be a start.
The game is also crying out for a new mission. While Uprising, Storm Rising and Retribution are great, refreshing the event by adding some fresh content would really make fans’ hearts race again.
And that’s what we want as a community. We just want to be excited by Overwatch again. We want to grab our mouse or controller and jump into the fray, but Blizzard needs to give us a reason.