During its first year of availability, Overwatch established the seasonal events that it still features to this day. Every year, Overwatch fans can look forward to Halloween Terror, Winter Wonderland, the Summer Games, and more, but most of the events are themed around gimmick modes and don't have much bearing on the franchise's overarching narrative. One exception to that rule has always been the Archives event, an annual event in Overwatch that lets players complete lore-based missions in the popular hero-shooter.
As expected, Overwatch is bringing back the Archives event for 2021, with it going live on Tuesday, April 6 and lasting until April 27. The Overwatch Archives event will bring with it a variety of skins for players to unlock on top of story-based missions to complete. Like last year's Archives event, Overwatch fans shouldn't expect any new story missions for the 2021 iteration. Instead the Archives event will once again feature the three previously-added missions Uprising, Retribution, and Storm Rising.
Each of the story missions focus on a different group of playable characters and is set during a different point in the Overwatch timeline. The Uprising mission stars Mercy, Reinhardt, Torbjorn, and Tracer as they battle omnics on the King's Row map. The Uprising mission is significant in Overwatch's lore because it showcases Tracer's very first mission as part of the titular Overwatch team.
The Retribution mission in the Overwatch Archives event shifts the focus to Blackwatch, a subgroup of Overwatch that takes part in covert missions. In this mission, players take control of Gabriel Reyes (later known as Reaper), McCree, Genji, and Moira. In this mission, Overwatch players get to witness what happened that led to Blackwatch being revealed to the world, which would eventually lead to Overwatch being dissolved.
And finally, the Storm Rising mission is set in Havana, Cuba, sometime after Tracer's first mission in Uprising. In this mission, Tracer teams up with Genji, Mercy, and Winston square off with the villainous Talon organization, a group that continues to have a major impact on the events in Overwatch's world in the stories set much later in the universe's timeline.
The Overwatch Archives event gives players a taste of what story-based missions could be like, though Overwatch 2's story missions will likely be a significant step forward. From the looks of it, Overwatch 2's story missions will feature vastly improved AI, more enemy types to square off against, and overall offer a tighter experience than what the Archives event brings to the table. Still, it's something fans can participate in to help tide them over until Blizzard reveals more information on Overwatch 2.
While Overwatch has some of the best hero shooter gameplay around, even more of its success can be attributed to its roster of characters. From the edgy Reaper to the game’s mascot Tracer, there are plenty of heroes that stand out, with each making a large or small contribution to the overall story. With characters from all around the world able to be chosen as well, much of the cast represents people from different countries — allowing the characters to resonate even more with fans.
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