Overwatch 2's Winter Wonderland event is back and actually has an earnable skin this time

Winston in Yeti Hunter in Overwatch 2.
(Image credit: Blizzard)
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Overwatch 2' (opens in new tab)s second seasonal event is here, and unfortunately it seems Blizzard is still struggling to capture fans with its culled rewards and recycled game modes.

The Winter Wonderland event makes a return from the original Overwatch, offering four frosty arcade modes to dive into. Anyone who's been around for a Winter Wonderland event in the past will be familiar with the modes as they're all returners from previous events. There's the 5v1 Yeti Hunter that pits a gang of Meis against one Winston attempting to leap across the map, scoop up meat and transform into a killing machine. Mei's Snowball Offensive is either a team-based or free-for-all mode that swaps out the hero's usual ice ammo for snowballs. The final mode, Freezethaw Elimination, has teams attempting to fully freeze their opponents, with allies able to thaw each other out.

Thankfully, this event actually comes with an earnable reward skin. While the first game's seasonal events traditionally had earnable challenge skins, Overwatch 2's Halloween Terror had a notable lack of any decent cosmetics. Blizzard promised it would start plonking in skin rewards again, and this year there's a frostbitten Brigitte skin up for grabs for completing six event challenges. Other challenges offer smaller rewards like weapon charms and sprays, too.

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Unfortunately, the majority of new winter-themed skins have been relegated to the Overwatch store. It's to be expected, but the move still hasn't gone down too well with some fans on the game's subreddit. A post (opens in new tab) with over 2,000 upvotes lamented the paid skins and reused game modes, writing "For Christmas this year we basically get some recycled brawls from years ago and the gift of gawking at skins we have no chance of getting unless we buy them." A comment (opens in new tab) on another Reddit post asked "so this year's winter event is just old game modes and more shit on the store?"

Others appeared happy to at least see the return of earnable skins. One Reddit poster (opens in new tab)said they "don't mind getting skins this way if it'll always be this easy," with a few other commenters saying it only took them around an hour to complete enough challenges for the skin. Actually playing the game beats watching Twitch for six hours for a skin, at least.

I don't particularly mind recycled game modes for annual event staples—besides, Winter Wonderland's game modes are some of my favourite out of all the seasonal events. But minimum earnable rewards and a lack of excitement around the event makes them nowhere near as exciting as they used to be. Regardless, the event's running from now until January 4. That should offer plenty of time to dive in over the holiday period and launch some snowballs. 

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.