Over the last two months, I’ve been mostly playing Overwatch 2 and Marvel Snap. These are two very different games but with one significant similarity: they are live service games. Even with that one common trait, they both approach it from opposite angles. As of this blog post, I’m still playing one but not the other. In both cases, the reason why is how they handle their battle pass.
Overwatch 2’s season content sucks
For Overwatch 2, I got the first season’s battle pass and proceeded to complete its 80 levels in about a month. After you reach level 80, you can continue playing and unlock player titles, which are probably the dullest rewards you can give. I rarely see people use them in-game, and they feel so unnecessary. Each season lasts two months, and it’s too much time when you can get to the end of the battle pass rewards in about a month of regular playtime.
To unlock rewards from the battle pass, you need to earn XP from the daily and weekly challenges. The dailies typically cycle the same dozen or so challenges with a few showing up every day (mostly queuing challenges). You can easily earn the 9000 XP in about 30 minutes. But the weekly challenges are a bit more difficult to complete. There, you earn XP for each one you complete, but completing these also earns you battle coins that you can use in the store. The problem here is that you can only get a maximum of 60 coins each week.
Never once in the two months of playing did I ever manage to complete all 11 weekly challenges. The best I did was 10. As this is the only way to earn currency, it’s a rather disappointing reward system. It doesn’t help that the rewards in the battle pass are pretty weak. While I like some character skins, the other stuff like voice lines, sprays, charms, and poses don’t do enough to want me to keep playing.
Marvel Snap’s season content is great
On the other side of things, Marvel Snap’s seasonal content is monthly and its challenges and rewards are significantly better. Dailies are broken up into six challenges, with you getting two every eight hours. These are random, and you always get one normal and one hard challenge. In all honesty, neither are very difficult. The harder ones just take longer. For example, instead of winning two games, you need to win four. You don’t have to play the game every eight hours. The option to bank the challenges and do them all at once is possible. However, the oldest ones will change after a full 24 hours have gone by.
Then you have the weekly challenges. Here, these are revealed once per day, but they don’t go away or reset at the end of the week. You can tackle them immediately or bank them for later. When the season is done, these do go away. But if you started the season at week 4, you can still complete the week 1-3 challenges and quickly level up.
But the best part here, the rewards are nice. Yes, there is some exclusive content. For example, November’s season is Black Panther-themed. You can’t get the Black Panther card without buying the season pass (apparently, these become collector’s rewards later). In all honesty, his card is pretty good, so I forked over the $14 CDN to get it. The rewards you get for buying the season pass outweighs spending the similar amount of money on the in-game currency.
Even if you don’t buy the season pass, the free rewards you get are still decent. You will earn a decent amount of credits, boosters, and gold to help you improve your collection. Once you reach level 50 (which is very easy to do), every level you reach earns you another reward which is also free.
To be fair, both have areas where they can improve
Overwatch 2’s first season is a disappointment but even with the praise, Marvel Snap’s isn’t perfect. A nice thing about Overwatch is that the Daily Challenges don’t follow a set time. The challenge begins when you log in for the day. You don’t have to start the game every day at exactly 10 am PT to begin the challenge. Let’s say you start playing at 3 pm PT, then your Daily Challenge begins at that time, and you have 21 hours to complete it. In Marvel Snap, it’s every eight hours and their “new” day starts at 7 pm PT.
Marvel Snap’s competitive aspect isn’t that fun. I hear stories of people reaching the max rank, but I’ve been stuck hovering between levels 38 and 44. From what I gather, your collection score determines your opposition. I have a collector’s score of almost 1000, and I’m facing off against people who have better decks. That results in me constantly streaking. Winning two or three matches, then losing three or four.
The randomization is also a bit frustrating. Cards are broken up into series. I’m currently still trying to unlock all the series 3 cards. There are some really nice ones, but I still have yet to get them. So, if you want to create better decks to take on new environments and opponents, you’re out of luck. Then you have the random locations, which will always benefit certain types of decks over others. If you get a location like Bifrost and have a movement-centric deck, then you’re at an advantage over your opposition if they don’t. Meaning, any time you know you’re at a disadvantage, it’s better to just retreat than to continue playing the match.
It’s a tricky juggling act
Both games are meant to last a while. They want to retain players, and it’s clear from my perspective, one is doing a much better job. Overwatch 2 could keep me playing if I was actually enjoying myself. Marvel Snap is frustrating at times, but I keep coming back because I have a lot to do. I’m constantly trying to improve my collector’s score, so I can unlock better cards. Overwatch 2 doesn’t do that.
On top of that, it doesn’t feel like Blizzard is trying to make meaningful improvements to how it handles its games as a service. Their store continues to offer overpriced skins that aren’t that impressive. The rewards for the battle pass are still padded with stuff most people won’t use. There is no sign that you’ll get more coins for completing daily or weekly challenges.
I have 2350 coins, so I can purchase the Season 2 battle pass, but I don’t see the reason to. In all fairness, I’d like to skip it just so I can see how bad it is for players who don’t buy it. Marvel Snap’s system still gives you plenty of goodies for being a free player. Heck, even other free-to-play games do a better job than Overwatch does.
Keeping an eye on things elsewhere
Considering these are the only two “games as a service” games I am playing at the moment, maybe my perspective is a bit narrow. I should consider jumping into a few others, like returning to Fortnite or finally trying Call of Duty: Warzone to see how they are doing things. I’m certain there are games doing it better and worse than the two I played. It’s probably impossible to find the one that does it perfectly, but it’s always important for the player base to have as much fun as possible.