Overwatch doesn’t have a playable demo or a free “starter edition” that allows prospective players to give the game a try without having to spend money on it. Instead, Blizzard runs free play weekends every so often, and this latest event running until midnight on Monday is the latest.
Free Weekends are a way for Blizzard to keep pushing Overwatch’s player base up. While reviews, marketing and news coverage usually produce the bulk of sales, there are many gamers out there who want to give all games a try before committing money to them. This attitude is understandable, and while there was a time in the past when nearly all games had free demos consisting of roughly one to three hours of gameplay, this practice has mostly fallen out of use recently. Demos are even rarer among multiplayer games, where you can’t just pick the first “mission” and cut the demo off after.
Free weekends, in contrast to the glee they bring to Blizzard executives at the sight of rapidly growing sales figures, are also widely dreaded by the Overwatch community, as during these events the game is flooded with hordes of newcomers who have absolutely no clue about how to play, what any of the terminology means, what heroes counter what heroes, what a payload is and what comps to play (nor do they know not to pick Torb).
Generally speaking, playing with randoms in Overwatch isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be – except during free weekends. Then it’s worse.
This particular free weekend has the added incentive of happening right after the release of a new hero, Moira. The hybrid DPS/Support character has been kicking about for a few days now, allowing the community to get a grip on where she stands in the grand scheme of things, and it seems the majority of players embraced her as a functional and viable healer, even if she doesn’t rival Mercy.
You can try out Overwatch for free until 11:59 PM Tomorrow.