Who is Sombra? Or, I suppose, “¿Quién es ‘Sombra’?”
Blizzard has deliberately teased Sombra, the game’s next hero, since July 12, 2016. That’s the day Ana debuted in a video, and that video featured a hex code.
I won’t go into the alternate reality game (ARG) specifics. I won’t break down each and every hint and clue. That’s not what I’m doing here.
Instead, I offer that Blizzard’s gone too far with this tease.
The ARG was cool, initially.
Blizzard dropped subtle hints like breadcrumbs on the trail to Sombra’s release. Or, so we all thought.
Hidden messages appeared in videos. The official Twitter account constantly responds to probing about Sombra with “¿Quién es ‘Sombra’?”. Barcodes turned into QR codes. QR codes turned into messages in Spanish. Translated into English, the character of Sombra delivered more riddles and puzzles.
It was cool in July, neat in August, annoying in September and downright infuriating now. Head to any fan forum for Overwatch, and you’ll find angry fans slamming Blizzard for playing this game too long.
And they’re right.
Blizzard’s taken this silly marketing thing too far.
I didn’t think that until this week. Really, I was fine with the teasing and breadcrumbs until yesterday.
At some point, Blizzard made a post on Battle.net glitch out. That post lead to a URL that references a Junkrat and Roadhog comic. amomentincrime.com. Again, the site sits in Spanish.
This time, though? The site was loading. Fast at first, and then the loading slowed down to a grueling pace. Not hours. Not days. Weeks. Months, even.
Yesterday, the timer expired. Did Blizzard reveal Sombra? No. Some line connecting Sombra to Bastion was added.
Today, Bastion is now beeping Morse Code on Dorado in front of a monitor. That supposedly translates to a string of incoherent text, but I’m not sure.
The community has gone absolutely bonkers. Funny to watch if you’re on the outside? Sure. Think about this, though. The fans following this ARG like they’re Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory are hardcore. They’re invested. These are the biggest fans Overwatch has, and Blizzard’s led them on for months.
A countdown that expires and reveals a countdown? That happened. When that countdown expired we got a single line of text about Bastion. That happened.
Blizzard, what are you doing?
Common sense says that Sombra is really close. This image leaked not too long ago. She’s just about ready. Heck, I could see a reveal coming next week. Reveal her on Monday, put her on the PTR on Tuesday and then the full game the following week. Or she could come today. Or in November. Or not at all. I don’t know.
I’m excited for a new hero. I think the formula needs the addition. This crazy game, though? I’m happy sitting on the outside.
Until Sombra’s release happens? Blizzard’s managed to turn hype into anger, and I don’t think any future ARG marketing will be received too well. For good reason, as far as I’m concerned. This whole thing has been like a chapter on how not to market in a college textbook. Players aren’t hyped by the game anymore. They’re angry. I’m sure it’s turned more than a few off entirely.
Are you one of the hardcore spurned by Sombra’s teasing? Are you upset?