The Overwatch Hard Light weapons are out, expensive, and underwhelming cover image

The Overwatch Hard Light weapons are out, expensive, and underwhelming

After a buggy launch the premium Overwatch Hard Light weapons skins are available, begging the question: Why are they so low effort?

Promised as a feature coming to Overwatch 2 long, long ago, premium weapon skins have finally arrived. Added to the in-game shop this week, the first wave of Overwatch Hard Light weapons offer new looks for Reinhardt, Mercy, and Reaper. Unlike the 'gold weapon' skins players earn through Competitive Mode that merely change the color of an individual skin's gun, the Hard Light weapons offer a fully different model.

And that's all it offers. No new animations, sound effects, or anything else to speak. This would be well and fine if the skins were earnable like the gold and upcoming emerald weapon skins. However, and much like a lot of Overwatch 2 discourse as of late, this boils down to money. Real world currency for a half-baked idea that is more about keeping up with the joneses than anything else.

Which is all the more ironic given that the Hard Light weapons had to be removed from the game immediately upon release. A bug involving the new skins caused numerous glitches. And while the weapons are back and once more on sale, it begs myriad questions. Such as: Who are these for, what purpose do they serve, and why does this feel like the lowest effort possible on the part of Blizzard?

Overwatch Hard Light Weapons are go

<em>Credit: Blizzard</em>
Credit: Blizzard

Weapon skins aren't a new idea. As we've seen with the likes of CS:GO and VALORANT, the appeal is twofold. First, we all like to stand out and look different in-game. It wasn't too long ago that the popularity of Fortnite and its premium skins brought about the negative term of calling someone 'default'--a player who uses the base skin and denoting a wrongness with that.

Second, it stands as a notification to other players that you have the money to burn on a high-price, purely cosmetic item. After all, isn't it all the more embarrassing to kill another player when using a weapon skin that costs IRL money?

<em>Credit: Blizzard</em>
Credit: Blizzard

In that regard, I understand the Overwatch Hard Light weapons. For those of us that have thousands of hours in this game it's nice to look at something different. Likewise, I'd be lying if I didn't enjoy using premium skins with my best Heroes. I derive some real joy from taking out other players with my Wrecking Ball crab skin.

However, the effort at work with the first wave of these weapons feels as low as possible.

Look pretty and do as little as possible

Maybe it's just me, but if I'm going to shell out 1200 Credits (around $12 USD) for a skin then I expect something unique. However, the Overwatch Hard Light weapons are purely aesthetic and a metaphorical neon sign above the playing using them that says "Hey, look at me: I bought this expensive, limited-time thing." As evidence in the above video, the Hard Light skins offer little in uniqueness. There's a tiny bit of a lightsaber-like brrrzt sound effect when swung.

Funnier still is that it's clear not all the bugs are gone, as I use the emote where Rein danced with his hammer and all it does is shimmy the character model around in a circle. Worse yet, given that the developer has shelved its 'inspect weapon' feature plans, I don't see the purpose other than... just owning it?

And maybe that's fine for some folks. Like I said, I'm certainly not immune to the siren song of aesthetic. I jumped at the chance to buy VALORANT's $100 dollar Zed gun pack. However, that was a skin set which included lights, music, visual effects, special sprays, and more. It's good! This is not that.

The Overwatch Hard Light weapons are nothing of the sort. Just a new look and charging an extreme amount for a thing that could have been an in-game unlockable like the gold weapons. So, go with God if this is on your holiday wish list. However, always remember that if you really despise DLC practices like this then you should vote with your wallet, not reinforce bad behavior.

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