Overwatch loot box hoarders say goodbye

Streamer opening Overwatch loot boxes
(Image credit: Pixipui / Twitch)

The original Overwatch is coming to an end, and loot boxes are the first thing to go.

Starting today, all leftover loot boxes will be automatically opened in preparation for Overwatch 2's arrival next month, but some Overwatch players wanted to do it themselves before Blizzard took control. Tuesday was the last time you'd ever be able to see the box jiggle like a Poké Ball and spew an assortment of skins and other cosmetic items into the air, and some streamers marked the occasion with hours-long box opening frenzies.

Over the last few days, Overwatch players held last-minute unboxing sessions like it was 2016 again—a more innocent time, when loot boxes weren't close to being banned in several countries, and when it was still exciting to see all the creative little doodads you could show off in your matches.

Outside of purchasing bundles of loot boxes for real money (which is no longer possible), you can gain loot boxes a number of ways in Overwatch. Every time you gain enough XP to level up your account, you gain a loot box. If you queue as an underplayed role—which is often tank—you gain a loot box. And if you maintain a high endorsement level from other players voting on your attitude in a match, you'll randomly gain a few as a reward.

Most people open them immediately (their contents are decided the moment you earn them), but some people, like me, find it fun to hold onto them and watch the number on the main menu go up.

Twitch streamer Pixipui spent almost five hours unboxing 1,228 loot boxes on Tuesday. "Get your blankets people, because this is going to be long," she said at the start of it. The rest of the stream was basically a Just Chatting stream, mixed with the strangely popular gacha pull videos you see every time a new Genshin Impact banner drops.

"Oh I'm not playing for a while," Flats, a popular Overwatch tank streamer, said to his chat as he prepared to open all of his loot boxes earlier this week. Like Pixipui, Flats turned the stream into a Q&A with his fans as he clicked through over 200 boxes filled with duplicate items—as expected for a long-time Overwatch player who has most of the cosmetics already. "I don't have too many, because I used to open mine all the time. Then I just stopped opening them and got kinda lazy," he said.

Bro You Wack, another Overwatch content creator, opened his last 100 boxes in a YouTube video. "I've been opening loot boxes ever since 2016, where my first video was a loot box opening video," he said, cycling through the various types of loot boxes that reward cosmetics themed around different in-game events like Winter Wonderland, Halloween Terror, and Summer Games.

If you log into Overwatch today, Blizzard will do the job for you. I am a loot box hoarder and when I logged in, all 300 of my boxes were drained from my inventory. No fanfare or anything; just gone into the ether. At the end, a graphic pops up that informs you that they have been opened and that all of your credits will carry over to Overwatch 2 where they can only be used for items in the Hero Gallery—separate from the sequel's new in-game shop.

As frustrating as Overwatch's loot boxes were—and dangerous for gambling addicts—it's still a little sad to see them go away, if only as a sign that the original game will soon be gone altogether and consumed by the sequel on October 4. Overwatch 2 will introduce a battle pass in their place which will at least be less manipulative, but the recent confirmation that they'll include new heroes has set hundreds of fans off.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.