Winter Wonderland returns to 'Overwatch' with some a-Mei-zing additions

Blizzard’s wildly popular hero shooter Overwatch is once again in the holiday spirit with the return of the “Winter Wonderland” event on Tuesday, December 12. As with the game’s other limited events, Winter Wonderland brings with it seasonal map variants, special gameplay modes, and — most importantly — those precious legendary character skins.

The first Winter Wonderland in 2016 introduced “Mei’s Snowball Offensive,” a special snowball fight gameplay mode for the ice gun-wielding scientist Mei. The Snowball Offensive returns, both on the original Antarctica map and also now on a new, seasonal variant of the Black Forest arena map.

This time around we also get “Mei’s Yeti Hunt,” in which teams of five Meis will take to the Nepal Village map to hunt down a single Yeti (aka Winston). As the Meis search for Winston, he scours the map for meat power-ups, which eventually put him into his Primal Rage mode. The Meis want to kill him before he gets a chance to do the same to them. It’s basically Blizzard’s spin on the gameplay of Evolve, and also one of Overwatch‘s first attempts at a real “boss fight,” as lead designer Jeff Kaplan describes it in a video. Several other maps will also receive wintry variants for the duration of the event.

As with the Halloween and Summer Games events, skins that were introduced the first time return for the new Winter Wonderland. These cost 1,000 credits, while the new legendary skins cost 3,000 credits. New skins include an icy design for Sombra, a winter-wear outfit for Hanzo, “Avalanche” Bastion, an extreme weather outfit for Soldier: 76, and a skimpy costume for Junkrat that appears to pay homage to Team Fortress 2‘s “Scout” character. Perhaps our favorite is Roadhog’s new costume, “Ice Fisherman” — he’s wearing a leather coat lined with wool, and it appears ready to burst at its zipper. He also has a matching hat, as well as leather gloves to protect his giant hands from the cold.

Overwatch is now available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The first stage of The Overwatch League, Blizzard’s new professional competition, kicks off on January 10. The preseason took place last week, but Philadelphia’s team Fusion had to pull out due to “player logistic issues,” and one of the team’s other players had been suspended for “boosting” accounts for money. It’s unclear if these issues will affect the regular season, with the team scheduled to have its first match on January 11.

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