Blizzard Says Their 'Cool Meter' Was Off On Mei's Holiday Overwatch Skin

Overwatch skins might appear to be simple cosmetic alterations, but for some, they're a matter of life and death. Or at least life and death by embarrassment. Fashion faux pas simply will not stand in this endless war of waifus and husbandos.

Overwatch's Winter Wonderland event and brawl center around Mei, who received a new skin as part of the deal. Some players, however, think Mei got the short end of the stick compared to other heroes, with a skin that's essentially a re-colour of a preexisting skin plus a Christmas hat. Despite its relative simplicity, the skin is "legendary," meaning it's pretty darn expensive compared to everything else in the game.

Ever since Winter Wonderland kicked off a couple days ago, people have been grumbling. Recently, Blizzard decided to speak up about it on Overwatch's forums. Game director Jeff Kaplan wrote:

"Sorry you are disappointed with Mei's winter skin. We don't have a specific rule for what makes something Legendary or Epic. We just sort of make a gut call based off of what we think is cool. Coolness is very subjective, and based off of the community reaction it seems like our gauge was off on this one.

Our reasoning for it being Legendary was that we completely redid the visual effects for Cryo-Freeze (we turned the ice block into a snowman). 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."

He added that he's sorry Blizzard's "cool meter" was off and said we should expect another legendary Mei skin early next year.

So basically, Blizzard thought it was cool enough that the holiday skin added a neat effect to one of Mei's most important abilities, and to be honest, I'm inclined to agree with them. It seems like some people judged the skin on a surface level without considering what it did, and then knee-jerked themselves into a frothy rage. Now Blizzard has two possible takeaways: 1) pair cool effects with overtly new and different looks, or 2) focus on overtly new and different looks, because people don't really care about effects. I hope they go with the former!

But hey, at least we got some interesting insight into Blizzard's process for creating skins. As they said, they stumbled into a place where their definition of "cool enough" and fans' definition of "cool enough" didn't align. Now Blizzard can update theirs and move forward. It's kinda funny, considering that some Overwatch fans have a tendency to see maniacal plotting (or at least calculated corner-cutting) in all of Blizzard's decisions.

Meanwhile, Blizzard actually makes a not-insignificant number of choices based around gut feelings and intangible ideas like "cool enough." Big-budget game development is a science optimised to get us hooked and take our money, except when it's super not.


Comments

    Chances are people who are frothing haven't bought the skin and/or seen the snowman effects. Partly blizzards fault for not advertising that enough (I didn't know until reading this) but on the other hand, not advertising it is a nice bonus for anyone who gets it, the fact it's legendary is a clue to there being something more, and at the end of the day... It's a virtual item you buy with virtual currency... If you don't like, don't buy.

    But I forget, it's 2016 ... Everyone has to go hulk-rage at the slightest inconvenience or disappointment.

      I thought it was boring but now that I know about snowman it's awesome.

        Yeah I wasn't too enthused with it and was wondering why it was classed as Legendary until I found out about the new FX. Then I understood and was completely fine with it. Totally worth it just for the snowman :)

    The Blizzard community is one of the most precious and entitled groups of people on the internet. 10 minutes on any of their forums will make you lose all faith in online gaming.

    Cesspool of man children.

      I prefer the term 'girl babies'.

        lmao
        best comment award

          SECONDED!!! OH GOD YES!!!! SECONDED!!!!!

          Being a student of digital media and having to work in the same 'cesspool' as the gamer students..... self-entitled pricks. And the Smell. Oh god the smell when I walk up those stairs.

          Last edited 16/12/16 11:51 am

            lmao
            second best comment.
            ..... self-entitled pricks. And the Smell. Oh god the smell when I walk up those stairs.

    Can't people just play the game and be happy? Getting a bit tired of hearing people complain events aren't fun enough, skins aren't cool enough, taunts are too sexy / not sexy enough and so on.

      Can you imagine being someone who actually gets upset over this kind of thing? Like what? How? Who are you? What went wrong?

      Lmao.

        I just shudder to think what's going to happen to these people when faced with an actual problem in their life.

        Last edited 16/12/16 10:15 am

          I wonder how they even make it out the front door in the morning.

            Not sure they do. Impression I get is they go straight to the car in the garage, which is directly connected to the house, and wait for mom (spelling deliberate) to drive them to school.

            Are people not allowed to be frustrated and sometimes pissed off, when something that they were looking forward to, something that was hyped about... turns out to be mediocre?

            Books, TV Shows, Movies, Games, KickStarter Products - all of these seem to be acceptable to have expectations, but Skins are somehow not acceptable?

            You draw a link between someone's expectations and criteria of value against a persons' Social Ability, Professional Career and Intelligence in general - and yet there is no comparison to be made. A successful Lawyer, a Highschool Student, a CEO, or a Dole Bludger - all have the right to expect a decent product, a decent service, a decent experience for their money.

            Especially in the modern Digital Era, where you are not buying a Physical product, and in Skins where you are not buying a game advantage - you need to look at what people are actually paying for.
            They are paying for an experience, they are paying for an enjoyment, they are paying for something to stand out from the rest. And if that Something turns out to be pretty shit, then surely they are entitled to vent their displeasure.

              The only person they should be frustrated at is themselves for hyping themselves up for things that weren't promised. This goes for Pokemon Go and No Man's Sky haters.

              They're cosmetic skins for a video game.

              They paid for the game. A brilliant game of top tier quality and polish that Blizzard continues to provide free updates to, along with free cosmetic skins. emotes, etc etc. The end result is people stamping their feet in rage their free update isn't good enough. Cmon....

              Of course people are entitled to vent their displeasure, but the level at which they do so on Blizzard's forums over something so insignificant is ridiculous. People are genuinely upset and angry over a character skin.

    Well, CMIIW but it IS the first legendary that is just a recolour of a regular skin.
    The snowman change is pretty cool though. I wouldn't buy it, but I wouldn't complain if I got it in a loot box.

      I wouldn't buy it either. Winston's Yeti skin or Torb's Santaclad however...

      Unfortunately the only Christmas skin I have so far is the Lucio Andes one. Nice but not really eye-catching.

        My first one is Zarya's frosted skin. It's pretty lame.

          Still one of her only good skins at all.

            I already had the one it's a basic recolor of, so it wasn't much of an improvement for me, lol

        I actually got Torb's Santa costume out of the free Winter loot box they gave everyone. Was pretty stoked :)

        Still wish his turret went gold along with his gun and hammer, though :(

        I actually ended up getting all the Xmas costumes already as I had a ton of currency saved + buying 50 loot boxes helped ;)

        The Zenyatta Nutcracker costume is amazing, as are both Pharah's and Reaper's new costumes.

        Still don't get the Lucio one. Can someone enlighten me as to what the Andes logo/costume name is referring to, if anything?

          I think Andes is referring to the mountain range (which only barely touches Brazil by the way). There is snow there, so it might explain the fluffy hat? Pretty lame if you ask me...

            Yeah I didn't think it was a reference to the mountain range. I kinda thought it might be a RL ski resort and that the costume was meant to be Lucio's skiing outfit.

    I expect there are two groups of people. The first group, complaining about it being a recolored skin, who just want pretty pictures for their desktop, and the second group, who care more about what effect it has on the gameplay.

    That second group isnt going to complain when the visual change happens when theres action, so all you see are the whingers that just care about static shots.

    Blizzard thought it was cool enough that the holiday skin added a neat effect ... It seems like some people judged the skin on a surface level without considering what it did
    Not quite. There are already legendary skins that change effects/weapons just like the new Mei skin but all of those also redesign the appearance - Hanzo's Okami for example completely changes his ult and sound effects but it also gives him a complete visual change.

    Mei has the only legendary in the game that is 90% recolour (+ a hat). I'm not saying 'grrr Blizz must change this!!' or any of that shit but I think most people had an idea of what quality/rarity represented (and the value tied to that) and now that's not so clear so perhaps the team just needs to work on that - which it sounds like they are going to.

      Yeah, it was laziness. They could have added bells or tinsel on her costume and changed her weapon to fire candy-striped icicles or something more awesome than a lame snow-dude.

      I think Mei's firefighter skin is where it's at.

      Blizz hinted at the Chinese new year skin for Mei. 2017 is the year of the Fire Rooster, so some sort of chicken costume with feathers for Mei? Maybe a 'Gong hei fat choy' voice line and some firecrackers emote?

        I still think she needs a Satan costume to represent her true nature, complete with fire effects replacing the ice ones! :P

    I find this outfit offensive to [insert random religion group here] group

    Meiwatch players are again upset about Mei and have taken to the internet to voice their Mei-rage at something to do with Mei.

    Oh Mei God.

    How could they expect people to appreciate all those special effects when you can't see them unless you have the skin? (or spend time watching others who have it).

    It's really no surprise people had this reaction. They would've booted up the game all "yeah lets see these new skins!" opened up the hero gallery and seen Mei and, well it's not that impressive looking is it?

    The problem is that the Snowman doesn't change how bland the regular skin looks,

    If it was like TF2 or Dota were we could mix and match things that'd be great, but it's not worth a legendary for a recolour with a Santa hat.

    It sucks because i play a lot of Mei and was excited for a new skin, especially because it's a winter themed event so of course Mei is gonna get something cool! but instead it was immensely disappointing, even with the snowman.

    I'm not calling for it to be removed or changed, i'm just not going to be buying any loot boxes like i did for the last two events because i found all of these skins pretty lacklustre, especially compared to Halloween.

      I dunno about all of them being bad, Mei's is a bit dissapointing (in fairness I actually like it but it should just be an epic) but have you seen Winstons?????? That thing is boss.

      You think Winston's, Zenyatta's, Torb's, Reaper's and Pharah's new Xmas costumes are "lacklustre"?!

      Did you perchance mistakenly type "lacklustre" when you meant to type "amazing"?

      :P

      Last edited 17/12/16 1:01 pm

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