The last hours of Overwatch 1: a seamless mission for a multiplayer legend

It’s 11:48 am. on Monday October 3rd and I can no longer play Overwatch 1. Strangely, the chat continues, ticking in the lower left corner, even though I can’t navigate past the main menu. “I hope you have a lovely Christmas,” reads one message. “When do they shut down the servers?” asks a chatterbox. “I want to see the Easter egg.” Several players are starting to spam “good game” messages in chat, while many others are trying to sneak curses past Blizzard’s filter. “**** this ******** game” is the last message I read.

At 12:01pm, I enter the splash screen, where I’m informed that the servers are offline to prepare for the release of Overwatch 2. And so ends Overwatch 1’s curse-filled legacy, a mix of the sarcastic and the serious. “gg” spam, and confusion – but no easter egg. What a strange, fitting ending to the game.

The end of an era

(Image: Blizzard)

I spent most of the last weekend of Overwatch 1 playing competitive mode, joining groups looking for healers, or queuing as a flex player with one of my friends. Some of my teammates were shocked to learn that the game was closing, while others knew of his mortality but not the time of his death. “Wait, I only have one day? one asked in disbelief over voice chat. “What the hell, that sucks!”

Overwatch 1’s competitive mode has always been an interesting experience. While I love playing high stakes games and prefer it to the quick play mode, it can get incredibly toxic. Of course, the last few days of the Overwatch 1 comp had its share of quitters who weren’t bothered by the blow they’d take to their ranks by leaving matches early. Several of my matches ended with my team swinging one or two remaining players, their teammates having left them mid-match, a chorus of different salutes from Moira, Reinhardt, D.Va and other iconic heroes ringing out in my ears.

The end of Overwatch 1

(Image: Activision)

Other games were filled with players refusing to disable heroes or blaming everyone else in text and voice chat – a typical Overwatch comp experience, albeit an exhausting one. I ran into a few players throwing open games, including a Mei who kept blocking me from leaving our play area while asking via voice chat why I was angry. “May is mean,” wrote a silent teammate in the text chat. At one point, after a player started spamming the text chat with hate speech, I jokingly said, “Maybe this game should die.” My teammates laughed, while my co-therapist quipped, “A fitting end, isn’t it?”

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