Overwatch one-year anniversary event: Evidence mounts that Blizzard is planning a birthday surprise

Ben Skipper
Overwatch reaper

Blizzard's wildly-successful online shooter Overwatch is approaching its one-year anniversary on 24 May, and evidence is beginning to mount that director Jeff Kaplan and his band of merry developers may celebrate with an event.

As is the case with most Overwatch rumours, the evidence comes from the game's public test realm (PTR) server, where players test out new characters, maps and tweaks before they're introduced to the wider game.

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Blizzard released a new patch to the PTR yesterday (3 May) which included tweaks to heroes Genji, Hanzo, Orisa, Reaper, Reinhardt and Soldier 76, as well as some fixes to the overall game experience.

As is often the case, Blizzard smuggled in files it'll need at a later date in an encrypted form, which players can see by going under the game's hood. While players can't see what the files are exactly, a certain amount of information can be gleaned from where the files have been found.

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Overwatch YouTuber Hammeh has rounded up (video embedded below) some of the files that have been found and did some digging himself. He's taken a look at all the items available to each of the game's heroes, which are handily listed under each of the game's themed events.

So under the Uprising event, which ended earlier this week, is "Event_6", and under that are encrypted files relating to new items that will be available to each hero. That these files are here at all indicates that a new event is coming sooner rather than later, and that fits with the upcoming anniversary.

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By doing this, Hammeh has been able to see how many new items each new character will be receiving. What we can't know yet is what each of these items is.

Reaper will be getting the most new items (eight), with Tracer, Orisa and Sombra behind him with seven each. Ten heroes will be getting six new items, with the remaining 10 heroes getting just five. The full list is embedded below.

Overwatch event count

Additional encrypted files tease the addition of three maps, which could be brand new maps or new versions of existing maps. Like with skins, these fall under or between existing maps: two under Ecopoint: Antarctica and one under Nepal Sanctum.

This could mean a new version of each of those plus a new map, or a new version of Nepal Sanctum and two new versions of Ecopoint: Antarctica. All this, however, is far less certain than the files found relating to new hero items.

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