The Christmas-themed Winter Wonderload update hit the Overwatch servers last night and, as you'f expect, there's a lot of lovely new cosmetic items to be had from Loot Boxes, and even a special Mei-themed PVP encounter to overcome. Be warned that you'll need quick wits to come out on tops of this particular snowball fight...
A little earlier on this month we put together a Christmas guide which outlined everything we expected to see in the game's next special event. Since the new update went live, we've added a huge number of articles to the site which contain all the information you could possible need.
Now the dust has settled a little bit, we've finally had a chance to tidy up this core guide a little bit, and make space for all of the confirmed info. In each section we've added links to the relevant coverage that's gone up in the last 24 hours, although we've left our original predictions in place so you can laugh at us where we were wide of the mark...
First up, if you're away from the game and are missing the event already, listen to the lovely new festive theme which was leaked ahead of the event. After that we'll get straight on to the nitty gritty about what content the new event has brought to the game, and how it stacked up against our predictions.
There are loads of new cosmetic items in the Winter Wonderland update, and you can find links to all of them right here:
- Overwatch: Winter Wonderland Christmas Skins
- Overwatch: Winter Wonderland Christmas Emotes
- Overwatch: Winter Wonderland Christmas Highlight Intros
- Overwatch: Winter Wonderland Christmas Victory Poses
- Overwatch: Winter Wonderland Christmas Voice Lines
The previous two events have been stuffed full of extra Sprays, Voice Lines, Skins and what-have-you, and you'd expect the upcoming Christmas event to follow a similar pattern.
Before we start speculating on what might be included in the next event though, let's look at what was provided last time around, so we can make some educated guesses about what the festive content might actually amount to.
|Summer Games||Halloween Terror|
|40 Player Icons||18 Player Icons|
|22 hero-exclusive Sprays||22 hero-exclusive Sprays|
|1 general Spray||14 general Sprays|
|22 Voice Lines||22 Voice Lines|
|12 Skins||12 Skins|
|9 Victory Poses||22 Victory Poses|
|3 Highlight Intros||3 Highlight Intros|
|3 Emotes||3 Emotes|
Looking at the above, it seems reasonable to expect a total of 23 hero-exclusive Sprays (reflecting the current size of the hero roster), 23 Voice Lines (again, one per hero), 23 Victory Poses (Halloween favoured one for each hero), and a dozen thoroughly festive Skins sprinkled amongst the overall roster of heroes.
Assuming the consistency of the previous two events is carried forward into the next, we're also looking at 3 Highlight Intros, and 3 new Emotes to unlock as well.
Start and end dates
We got the start date of the 13th December bang on, but were a day late with our prediction for the Winter Wonderland end date, which will take place on Monday 2nd January 2017. We'll update the linked article with global shutdown times when we know more.
While we've had no official information about the start and end dates for the Overwatch Christmas event, we can at least do a little bit of science and look back at the dates involved with the previous special events.
Both the Summer Games and Halloween Terror events started and finished on the usual Tuesday patch day, so we'll take that as a given for the Christmas event. For reference, here are the exact dates:
- Summer Games began on Tuesday 2nd August and finished on Tuesday 23rd August.
- Halloween Terror began on Tuesday 11th October and finished on Tuesday 1st November.
Now, the in-game Halloween event began three weeks before actual Halloween, while Summer Games was just a few days before the start of the Olympics on 5th August.
Given how close the Summer Games event was to the no-doubt frantic launch of Overwatch though, we're inclined to believe that the Halloween event represents the kind of start date we can expect going forwards.
Our money is on the Overwatch Christmas event beginning on Tuesday 13th December 2016, and finishing up on the 3rd January 2017. That's a three week period that covers the bulk of Christmas and New Year, without the whole thing beginning ridiculously early, or outstaying its seasonal welcome.
We will, of course, update this section of our guide as soon as we have actual, official information from Blizzard!
There's no new PVE encounter for the festive season, but we do at least get a fresh PVP challenge. Take a look at our Mei's Snowball Offensive guide for some useful tips on how to play this mode.
This frosty fight also adds a few new achievements to the game, and you can find all the details over at our guide to all the Winter Wonderland Christmas Achievements and Trophies.
The Junkenstein's Revenge content included in the Halloween Terror event was incredibly popular, and we would not be remotely surprised to see a similar, Christmas-themed PVE encounter for the next Overwatch event.
It's easy to forget that - while it was a rather simple affair by comparison - the Summer Games event did introduce Lucioball to the game. Even if we don't see anything quite as extravagant as Junkenstein's Revenge, it seems very likely that we'll have some sort of fun, festive mode to mess around with this Christmas.
To add further weight to our speculation, don't forget either that Blizzard has expressed a desire to add new rulesets to the Arcade Mode over time as well. The timing feels right for something new to be added to this part of the game.
Loot Boxes and currency
The Loot Box and currency system is indeed the same as it was in Junkenstein's Revenge.
During the Summer Games event, we were all a bit miffed that we couldn't use currency earned before and during the event to buy specific items. It was all down to to the luck of the Loot Box and that - frankly - was quite frustrating when there was one specific item that we really, really wanted.
It all changed for the Halloween Terror event though, and we were able to use our stash of coins to bag specific items for our collections. Given the uproar over the first event's approach to currency - and the gratitude expressed for the second one's - it seems almost impossible to imagine that Blizzard would backtrack on this system now.
In short, expect to be able to buy Loot Boxes with real money, earn them from levelling up in the game, and also buy specific items that you're missing with in-game currency.