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Overwatch 2’s item prices are the scariest part of its Halloween event

Like many live-service games, Overwatch 2 is dressing up for the holidays. Special events tied to real holidays are common today, as they can bring some fun, limited-time flair to a game. This month, plenty of games are going orange and black for the season, bringing pumpkin spice and scares into players’ favorite experiences. It’s a cause for celebration, especially for those who particularly vibe with the whole October spooky season aesthetic.

Overwatch 2 Halloween Terror Seasonal Event Trailer 2022

Overwatch 2‘s Halloween event, the sequel’s first special celebration since its launch, is especially scary this year … but not for the right reasons. Instead, its high item costs are providing more tricks than treats this year.

Pricing trickery

Even since Overwatch 2 first released, fans have been critical of its additional cosmetics due to Blizzard’s new pricing structure. A single skin in the game costs around 1,500 coins, which equals around $15. And those prices are now going up even higher due to the limited-time event. Special skins like Kiriko’s Halloween witch outfit are going for 2,600 coins (due to the fact that its packed into a bundle that includes a charm, player icon, and more extras). If you want to dress one hero up like a witch, you’ll need to spend roughly $25 to do so.

That’s not the highest price either. That distinction goes to the Defenders of the Castle bundle, which currently costs 4,400 coins (and that’s 42% off its normal price). That comes out to around $40 for four character skins. For context, the Standard Edition of the first Overwatch originally retailed for $40.

Overwatch 2's store featuring the halloween skins.

Scary business model

I haven’t been an avid Overwatch player since the very early days of the original, but 2 pulled me back in. The big difference between that first title and this sequel is the fact that the original was a full-priced release, while Overwatch 2 is free-to-play. The shift in business model meant that in-game purchases would become a bigger part of the game, as it’s a core way for Blizzard to make money, but the prices and practices here are downright terrifying.

Part of the problem is that Blizzard isn’t quite so generous when it comes to handing out coins this time around. In the first Overwatch, coins could be attained by opening loot boxes, which were unlocked by leveling up. The coins included in these boxes varied per box, but seem fair compared to the sequel’s current approach to currency. Players still were able to purchase boxes outright, but they could simply be earned by leveling up, which allowed them to grind coins for skins without ever spending a real dime (they might have even gotten the skin they want in a loot box while they were at it). I’ve seen my sister build a giant library of comsetics on two different Overwatch accounts without spending a single cent.

That doesn’t currently feel possible in Overwatch 2. This time around, you unlock coins by completing weekly challenges. You can earn up to 60 a week and 540 throughout a season. That means you won’t be getting that big skin you’ve been eying unless you’re completing these challenges every week for literal months — and you’ll be lucky if that skin you want is still in the shop by then.

Soujourn, Kiriko, Junkerqueen, and Mercy posed together in their halloween costumes.

Overwatch 2 going free-to-play is the right move in a lot of ways. It feels built for the business model, as it can welcome in newcomers without asking them to spend a dime. However, the trade-off of that decision so far is that cosmetic prices have ballooned, putting a greater cost on fashion. It’s been a concern since launch, but the Halloween event shines a light on just how much players will need to spend if they want to express themselves.

So while I may want that Halloween Kiriko skin really badly right now, my wallet is too scared to come out of my pocket.

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