Overwatch players have spent several months mulling over very cryptic clues from Blizzard, trying to figure out just who Sombra is and when we'll actually see her. And while the answer is still anyone's guess, recent signs have given us renewed hope that the mysterious hero will make her way to players in just a few weeks.
What sort of signs? I'm glad you asked! Allow me to elaborate.
The Halloween Event Leak Shows Her Icon
Recently, an advertisement for an October Halloween event appeared early on the Xbox store. It wasn't up for very long before being taken down, but that was long enough for the internet to grab everything it needed. The most interesting part may not have actually been the Halloween event, though — keen-eyed players noticed that Sombra's skull icon appeared on one of the candies.
Naturally, this has led to wild speculation. A lot of people now suspect that Sombra will release alongside whatever patch introduces this Halloween event. Now, when exactly that patch will be is still debatable, but we do have somewhat of an idea.
"A Moment In Crime" Is Counting Down To October 17th
If you've been keeping up with the Sombra alternate reality game (ARG), you're probably familiar with amomentincrime.com. If not, then allow me to get you up to speed (it won't take long).
This website appeared a few months back with a counter that keeps going up. Slowly. Very slowly. As of this writing, the counter is just above 81 percent. If you're like me and don't want to do the math, the internet has already done it! At the current rate, the counter looks like it will finish on October 17th.
If this ends up being the case, that means that we'll have something — an official announcement of Sombra, perhaps? — on the 17th. The timer ends on the 17th, the 18th is a Tuesday, and Blizzard always releases major updates on Tuesdays. This would also work perfectly, as the Halloween event is going to end on November 1st and this would mean two weeks of the event.
So, for now, signs point to: Sombra release on October 18th.
A New Hero Might Be Celebrating Previous October
This one is a bit more of a stretch, but Overwatch officially went into closed beta on October 27th, 2015. If Blizzard wanted to celebrate the anniversary of this event, they could be doing so by releasing Sombra — the most built-up hero in the entire game — around the anniversary.
Now, this works slightly less well because the 17th is obviosuly not the 27th. Granted, the 27th isn't a Tuesday, but Blizzard still has a Tuesday closer to the anniversary that would make more sense if this were their goal.
An October Hero Would Give Pros Time to Practice Before BlizzCon
With BlizzCon coming up on November 4th and 5th, it would make sense that — if Blizzard does plan to release a new hero before the 'Con — players would have plenty of time to get used to this new hero.
For one, anyone competing at BlizzCon would likely revolt if a new hero were released and usable without any time to practice. Similarly, not giving players enough time to test a new hero wouldn't give Blizzard any time to do proper balance adjustments. Yes, the week-long PTR that usually accompanies new heroes is designed to help with balance, but it's never the only step taken.
It's also not unprecendented for Blizzard to debut a new hero (albeit, in Heroes of the Storm rather than Overwatch) and then have that hero usable in an upcoming tournament. Having a few weeks between release and BlizzCon would give players and Blizzard enough time to make the hero a great way to shake up any tournaments without becoming a point of contention.
Kaplan's Recent Comments Suggest A New Hero Very Soon
Very recently, Jeff Kaplan provided a developer update that — among a very in-depth discussion of upcoming Symmetra changes — mentioned that new heroes were in the works. In particular, he said that one hero is "very far along" and would "see the light of day sooner rather than later."
Now, outside of the obvious mention of a new hero coming soon, notice how he specifically mentions seeing the light of day. Perhaps I'm reading into this a bit much, but given "Sombra" means "shadow," it seems more than likely that this was an intentional play on words.
Plus, saying a new hero would be out sooner rather than later says, to me, Kaplan is trying to let players know this hero won't be a BlizzCon reveal, but will in fact be revealed earlier than that.
Of Course, It Could Always Just Be A Teaser For A Teaser
Simply put, the Halloween candy image could always just be teasing another teaser. It's very much in Sombra's wheelhouse to string people along with small teasers that don't reveal the info we've been expecting — namely, who the hell Sombra is, and if she's actually Alejandra from the Hero short.
This would also explain why the Halloween teaser has appeared now instead of closer to the 18th. Typically, Blizzard gives a week of PTR to players so they can test the changes before officially setting them free. It would be a little awkward to have the countdown finish on October 17th and coincide with Sombra's official release if players had already been testing her for a week.
If, however, Sombra is being officially announced (but not released) on the 18th, then Blizzard could still start the PTR on the 11th with the only Sombra teaser being the icon on the candy. Then when it launches a week later, they could reveal her.
This might be a bit frustrating for players hoping to get their hands on the long-teased character, but it would fit with the modus operandi of Sombra thus far. Regardless, it seems like we'll be getting some sort of Sombra info very soon.
When do you think Sombra will finally be released?