Steven R. June 6, 2019
Overwatch has made a consistent effort to offer fresh experiences to its players. With its sizable map pool, a large cast of characters, and regular additions being made to the game, players can look expect a different experience every time they start a new session.
But even when there isn’t a brand new hero or a new map to tinker with, players can often find something to enjoy in Overwatch’s seasonal events.
Overwatch has six seasonal events spaced out across the year. These offer fun and unique game modes separate from the game’s traditionally styled maps. If that isn’t enough to lure in players, they also offer a number of eye-catching skins to collect and show off to teammates.
What game modes and skins can players expect? And when is the next Overwatch seasonal event taking place?
This guide will let you know when to expect the next big Overwatch event.
Lunar New Year - February
The annual event celebrating Chinese New Year is somewhat weak on the gameplay front, with its limited time game mode being Capture the Flag. While most events feature unique game modes that are only available for a few weeks out of the year, Lunar New Year’s pops up in the arcade year-round.
Though it doesn’t boast much of interest on the gameplay front, Lunar New Year crushes it every time with skins. Depending on the year, this can include anything from traditional fabric patterns to costumes that pay homage to legendary military figures from Chinese history.
Naturally, the event begins ahead of the holiday, and runs until a couple weeks after.
Archives - April
Archives is an annual event that revolves around the lore of Overwatch. Each year, Archives brings a new four-player PVE level that fleshes out the origin stories of the game’s heroes.
The event was introduced with Uprising in 2017, which chronicles one of Overwatch’s final missions during the Omnic uprising. This was followed by Retribution in 2018, which allows players to control of Blackwatch team members McCree, Reaper, Moira, and Genji as they take down a key Talon operative. Finally, Storm Rising establishes Doomfist as one of the game’s top villains with another mission that has the Overwatch team looking to apprehend an omnic villain named Maximilien.
During the event, all missions from previous years have been made available for play.
Most of the skins introduced have featured younger versions of the game’s heroes, but various other fancy cosmetics have also been added. The event is not attached to any holiday, but has started in April and ended in early May every year.
Overwatch Anniversary - May
Anniversary is an event designed to celebrate Overwatch’s birthday on May 24, but it doesn’t work the same way as the other entrants on this list. The inaugural version of the event in 2017 introduced arcade mode staples Limited Duel and Lockout Elimination alongside the Black Forest, Necropolis, and Castillo arena maps.
Things changed in a big way in 2018, as Anniversary introduced another arena map in Petra. It notably offered other seasonal game modes for play. That also applied to cosmetics, as Anniversary in 2018 made every seasonal skin available while also offering 11 new ones of its own.
The most distinct part of the Anniversary event is its emotes. Both installments of Anniversary have included unique dancing emotes for heroes that stand out from the rest.
Summer Games - August
The Summer Games event first appeared in 2016 to commemorate that year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It fittingly introduced a number of skins based on sporting events and outfits that paid homage to each hero’s home country. That changed to a beach party theme in 2017, with the two merging together in 2018.
The centerpiece of the Summer Games event each year has been Lucio Ball, a limited time game mode that turns Overwatch into something more akin to Rocket League. Two teams comprised of three Lucios attempt to push an enormous soccer ball into the opponent’s net using melee attacks and Lucio’s Soundwave skill.
The Summer Games typically happen in August, but it’s possible that might be shifted into July with the 2020 Olympic Games taking place earlier in the year.
Halloween Terror - October
Halloween Terror brings the original Overwatch PVE mode, Junkenstein’s Revenge. Four players pick from McCree, Ana, Hanzo, and Soldier 76, fighting back waves of robots while other heroes appear as bosses inspired by classic monster movies. The monster versions of the characters are all available as skins, alongside some other fun additions pulled from the horror genre.
Alongside Junkenstein’s Revenge, Halloween Terror is accompanied by reskinned versions of standard Overwatch maps. The event runs through much of October and ends immediately after Halloween.
Winter Wonderland - December
The annual event for the holiday season is Winter Wonderland, and it has offered a couple different limited time game modes over the years.
The original is Mei’s Snowball Offensive, a best-of-five elimination brawl where players exclusively play as Mei. The game mode uses a unique version of her weapon that fires snowballs similar to her normal alt-fire ice spear, but needs to be reloaded from snow piles scattered around the map. Players are eliminated after being hit with a snowball, with the surviving team receives a point.
The other game mode is Yeti Hunt, which pits a team of five Mei players against one Winston. The Winston has a much higher health pool than normal and gains ultimate charge by finding meat that randomly spawns on the map. The team of Meis wins if they can kill the Winston, while the Winston wins by killing a certain number of Meis.
In terms of skins, the event features a mix of Christmas-themed skins alongside various winter gear. Like Halloween Terror, it also boasts reskinned versions of established maps mixed into the standard rotation. Winter Wonderland starts in mid-December and typically ends on New Year’s Day.
Overwatch League Bonuses
There is no seasonal game mode when it comes to the Overwatch League, but there are loads of different OWL skins up for grabs in the game. Players can earn tokens for OWL team skins by tuning in to watch live games with a linked Twitch account, having it open in Battle.net, or watching directly through the Overwatch game client. Special Overwatch League events like the grand finals and all-star games often offer various bonuses to viewers including sprays, player icons, and extra tokens.
The Overwatch League schedule is still in flux as new teams join the league and the season format is tinkered with. 2019 saw the All-Star game scheduled for May, with the season’s finals taking place in September. Other perks for events, including phase playoffs and the World Cup, may pop up as well.