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Overwatch 2 players aren’t happy with the game’s cosmetics and store prices

Blizzard’s skins are a very complicated problem

A close-up shot of Overwatch 2 hero Kiriko looking angry and holding her kunai up in a guarding position Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch 2 has had its share of high-profile stumbles in its launch week, but now that players are finally getting into the game, many aren’t pleased with what they’re seeing. Players continue to take umbrage with the game’s cosmetics, particularly how expensive they are and what they’re getting for the price.

Among the largest changes Blizzard made with Overwatch 2 is adapting the game to a free-to-play model. While this is an expected change — and a frequently requested one — Blizzard is relatively new to the rotating store and battle pass models that it’s adopted for Overwatch 2. Some growing pains were inevitable, both for Blizzard and its audience, and players are certainly making those pains known.

After the game’s weekly store reset for the first time on Tuesday, players quickly grew frustrated at seeing the prices Blizzard was asking for some of Overwatch 2’s less-inventive skins. One skin is (slightly uncharitably) basically just “Baptiste but blue,” and it costs 1,000 coins (equivalent to about $10). For players who don’t want to pay, earning a maximum of 60 Overwatch Coins per week through a series of challenges means it would take at least 17 weeks to unlock that particular cosmetic.

A in-game shot of Baptiste’s “Blue Steel” epic skin in the Overwatch 2 shop. The skin shows a price of 1,000 Overwatch Coins. Image: Blizzard Entertainment via Polygon

While these are the kind of skins that the original game’s loot boxes thrived on, seeing prices that can be translated into real-dollar amounts (or a monthslong grind) now gives players whiplash. What’s more, a “bad” skin rotating into the shop will always be a source of frustration for players, which is why some games opt to put rarer and more high quality skins on a weekly rotation, while the more basic and cheaper skins come in and out daily. Meanwhile other games, like League of Legends, make almost every skin purchasable all the time.

Skin quality is also a problem that Blizzard will likely feel more acutely now that Overwatch is a free-to-play franchise. This isn’t to say that Overwatch 2’s skins are bad, but rather that it’s not a game built around showing players how cool the skin they own actually is. While other cosmetic-focused games like League, Dota 2, or Fortnite are third-person, Overwatch 2’s first-person gameplay is fundamentally in opposition with the whole idea of showing off your flashy skin. Other players can enjoy it, and it might even make them want to buy it, but what does the player who already spent money get out of that?

This is a similar problem for other FPS games like Valorant or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but those games get around it by making the guns that players hold the stars of the show. The downside for Valorant players is that its weapon skins are on the more expensive side of the F2P scale, but they’re also enormously detailed and get used many times throughout each match.

An in-game shot of Overwatch 2’s shop, showing the “featured” section that displays images of Sojourn’s Cyber Detective skin bundle, Baptiste’s Blue Steel skin, and Ashe’s Merry Outlaw skin bundle. Image: Blizzard Entertainment via Polygon

These weapons can also be picked up by both enemies and allies, which still accomplishes the eternal developer goal of making cosmetics their own best advertisement, without including extra content that the purchasing player won’t get to enjoy. Meanwhile, Overwatch 2’s character skins are easy for opponents and teammates to see the details on, but the weapons, the things players can see constantly, aren’t often the coolest part of the skins.

None of this is to say that Overwatch 2’s skins and store are doomed to carry only expensive, unsatisfying skins. The system is likely to get dozens of tweaks and quiet under-the-hood adjustments as Blizzard reacts to criticism from fans, including creating cosmetics that emphasize different parts of the skin, including those that players can see a little more.

But until Blizzard is able to adjust its free-to-play microtransactions, it’s no surprise to see players express their frustration over yet another aspect of Overwatch 2.

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