For the most part, Overwatch‘s Winter Wonderland event seems to have been well-received by the community. The Mei-themed “Snow Brawl” is wildly popular, Symmetra’s buffs have led to her widespread use in competitive and quick play, and players are excitedly opening Overwatch Winter Wonderland loot boxes hoping for a new Legendary skin except for one skin in particular. Mei’s “Mei-rry” has sparked enough of a controversy to get an official Blizzard response.
To provide a bit of context, each item in an Overwatch loot box has a rarity associated with it: normal, rare, epic, and legendary. Each box has just one guaranteed rare or higher item within, though there’s a chance that every item could be a legendary. The holiday Mei skin in question is of legendary quality, which in addition to being a holiday exclusive makes it 3x as valuable as a standard legendary skin.
There’s just one problem: the Mei holiday skin is, for the most part, just a recolor of her standard skin. Usually, skins with this level of recolor, or small visual changes (like Mei’s new Santa cap), are graded at the epic quality. To explain the legendary status of the skin, Blizzard has given Mei’s “Cryo-Freeze” ability a visual update, changing her into an icy snowman rather than just a big chunk of ice. Since most legendary skins typically change the character skin and none of the animations, many players are confused (and some even very angry) as to why it’s not epic in rarity. Thankfully, Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan joined to the conversation to help clear things up.
Jeff, who often talks with the community regarding various Overwatch topics, was candid and apologetic regarding players who saw the skin’s rarity as unfair. He first discussed that the Overwatch team didn’t have any official standards for what was legendary and what was epic, instead of making gut decisions based on “coolness.” Mei’s snowman animation, to the team, seemed cool enough to deserve legendary status.
Jeff said that their “cool meter” apparently didn’t line up with players’, but that the feedback would definitely impact these types of decisions in the future:
“We thought that was pretty special and we had done it specifically based on community suggestions from months ago when people were speculating that we might have a winter event. Apparently, lots of people don’t agree with us and that’s ok. It’s all good feedback and we’re learning something for future events.”
For fans that were worried that this Mei skin might be the only Legendary skin she received for quite a while since the Overwatch team rotates new content through the characters event by event, Jeff had great news. He promised that the team was working on “something pretty awesome” for Mei early next year.
Curiously, few argued that the snowman animation by itself wasn’t an exciting addition to Mei’s kit, but many argued that the skin and the animation should be separate. In this instance, the “Mei-rry” skin could have been released as an epic reward, and the snowman animation could have been released on its own as an epic or legendary drop.
Overwatch‘s Winter Wonderland event and its exclusive loot boxes will be available on all supported platforms through January 2.