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Overwatch 2’s new Halloween event has great ideas and paltry rewards

Halloween Terror’s new co-op mode is fun, but monetization is a bummer

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The first seasonal event for Overwatch 2 brings with it something new: a four-player cooperative PvE mode that plays like a preview of the replayable missions that Blizzard plans to bring to the game next year. But the rest of Halloween Terror 2022 feels like Blizzard holding out its hand, looking to squeeze more money out of players — in a way that sours one of Overwatch’s most beloved holiday-themed events.

The co-op mode, Junkenstein’s Revenge: Wrath of the Bride, is a sequel of sorts to the wave-based horde mode from Halloween Terror’s past, and it’s pretty great. As Ashe, Junker Queen, Kiriko, and Sojourn, players battle their way through the streets of Adlersbrunn, a spooky rework of the game’s Eichenwalde map. Wrath of the Bride throws waves of zombie-like robots, enemy versions of Winston (here as a series of vengeful gargoyles), Symmetra, and Sombra at the four-player team, who are searching for the lord of the castle. Some light puzzle-solving, a few jump scares, and a spooky encounter with Echo (playing the role of creepy marionettes) make Wrath of the Bride worth playing. It’s a promising peek at Overwatch 2’s PvE.

But don’t expect much, if anything, in the way of exciting rewards for Overwatch’s annual take on Halloween. Unlike previous years, where players could earn dozens of cosmetics, Wrath of the Bride pays out some XP, voice lines, a weapon charm, sprays, and more. Players do get a free Reaper skin for playing during the event, as part of a make-good for Overwatch 2’s rocky launch.

The other big component of Halloween Terror 2022 is the opportunity to buy more skins for Overwatch 2 heroes. There are two legendary ones: Witch Kiriko and Executioner Junker Queen, and they cost 2,600 credits and 1,900 credits each, respectively. That works out to roughly $25 and $19, if one were to buy credits from the in-game shop. Alternatively, you could, say, play for the next 32 weeks, earning the maximum 60 credits per week by completing weekly challenges, and hope that Executioner Junker Queen comes back next Halloween. (Older Halloween Terror skins from the original Overwatch are also up for sale, both stand-alone and in bundles.)

Unsurprisingly, the prices of those two marquee skins — which, combined, are more than the cost of the original Overwatch on PC — have been met with scorn from many Overwatch players and content creators. A popular sentiment from players on Blizzard’s own Overwatch forums is that Overwatch 2’s style of monetization is “killing my excitement of the game” and that even the paid offerings feel meager. Popular Overwatch streamer Stylosa criticized the game’s pricing scheme on Twitter, and later ranted about skin prices in a heated YouTube video. The game’s subreddit is currently overflowing with anger about Blizzard’s monetization tactics, the Halloween event’s paltry rewards, and the high prices of cosmetics — a source of fury since the game’s free-to-play launch. Blizzard’s latest tweet hyping the event has mostly been met with criticism over the cost of cosmetics.

Whether any of this blowback will alter Blizzard’s plans for future events (or the cost of cosmetics) remains to be seen. But with pricey skins dominating the conversation around Overwatch 2, and Halloween Terror being preview of events to come, something may eventually have to change.