'Overwatch' Anniversary Event Date: May 23 Start Likely Based On Confirmed Leaks

Overwatch Photo: Blizzard

The Overwatch Anniversary Event start date seems to be set for May 23, based on a recent leak from True Achievements. What was in the Overwatch leak? It appears to be a marketplace item description for Anniversary-themed loot boxes. The description lists what appears to be the Overwatch Anniversary end date, June 5. Here’s the full text accompanying the leak.

Celebrate Overwatch's anniversary with a batch of commemorative treats for your heroes during a new event: Overwatch® Anniversary! Kick off the celebration with a bang by picking up Anniversary Loot Boxes*. Every Loot Box contains up to four cosmetic items, including at least one Anniversary Skin, Spray, Highlight Intro, Emote, Victory Pose, Player Icon, or Voice Line. More than 100 Anniversary goodies are waiting for you! If your Anniversary Loot Box contains an item that is already in your collection, you will instead receive in-game Credits that you can use to acquire many customization options. *Anniversary Loot Boxes are available to purchase or earn in-game until June 5, 2017.  

Since Overwatch special events tend to run for three weeks at a time, if we back up the calendar we get to May 23 (which happens to be the day before the one-year anniversary of the original Overwatch release date). Blizzard more or less confirmed the existence of the Anniversary event on Twitter, but kept mum on any official dates.

So what can we expect when the Overwatch Anniversary Event releases? For starters, a new edition of the game is coming that includes 10 free loot boxes. So if you’re not already one of the tens of millions of people playing Overwatch right now you have a reason to snag a copy.

But for everyone who already has the game, we know two things so far. There will be a new game mode based on teams protecting/destroying an objective. A handful of new voice lines were pulled from the game’s code and all pertain to a new mode in this vein. It shouldn’t be too surprising given that the insurrection event was essentially the same format. Only this time instead of Omnics trying to destroy the payload it’s the enemy team.

The other thing we learned is Symmetra will likely get the legendary skin (or skins??) she deserves. Jeff Kaplan himself confirmed the treat for all my Symmetra mains out there, telling fans on the official Blizzard forum “I think Symmetra fans will be very pleased soon.” As someone who adores Symmetra (yes I assault Symmetra and no I don’t want to listen to you scream about it) I’m feeling a little spoiled lately. She has received some of the best reworks in all of Overwatch . Two ultimates and a floating barrier and a steamrolling attack that lets you SHRED the backline make her a blast to play once you get some practice in. Plus, as much as people will complain about having her on the team sometimes, everybody STFU when they’re spamming the teleporter.

This really feels like the “This Is All For You Mo” event. Because in addition to whatever Symmetra love we’re getting from Blizzard, the new game mode sounds like it was tailor-made for my other main, Pharah. I can just see Pharmercy after Pharmercy making life a living hell for the team on the ground as she rains a ceaseless torrent of rocket fire down from on high. Which begs the question: new maps? New characters?

A one-year anniversary isn’t typically celebrated with much fanfare in gaming, given that most games lose their hype over time. Overwatch is not most games. It is a phenomena. Many fans, myself included, talk about it to others with a near-spiritual reverence. I thought I was done with FPS games forever, until Overwatch . I have had more fun gaming in the last year than I have in a long time (and by fun I mean going through three rage-smashed controllers in 8 months #consolepeasant) because of Overwatch . And since Blizzard is making this anniversary a “thing” it should probably stand apart from some of the other seasonal events they’ve done. Dropping new maps and a new character would be epic.

If it’s new maps, we have our money on something in Australia or Korea. If it’s a new character, it’s gotta be Doomfist. If we’re wrong, we’ll find out on May 23.

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