Yeti Hunting was an old Arcade gamemode Overwatch released three years ago back in 2017. It’s now a recurring seasonal event that rolls out every Winter, which would also have been a much more appropriate time of year to write this article, but I don’t have the mental patience to wait that long. It was pretty much the closest Overwatch is ever gonna get to a Versus Saxton Hale gamemode, pitting five hapless Meis against a toothless Winston who can temporarily turn into a ravenous killer Winston by collecting 4 meats scattered throughout the map.
I’m usually not a fan of Overwatch‘s seasonal game modes because they tend to just remind me of normal PvP Overwatch without 95% of the hero abilities (especially the other winter event, CS:Snow, which is about as slow, twitch-based and frustrating as the game it’s modeled off), but I always played Yeti Hunter whenever it rotated around because it’s the only asymmetrical game mode I can think of. Both teams had a unique and fun playstyle, and Mei herself is one of the oddest jack-of-all-trades in the game so playing her with a vastly different objective than normal puts you in a special train of thought that you can’t get from regular Overwatch. Is the time right to rush the Winston? Should you wait until the team has a few more ults built up? And it’s fun how quickly the gameplay swaps between strategic offense pushes to pants-shitting terror as an enraged Yeti barrels down on your position. It’s like a combination of ‘King of the Hill’ and Payload defense, but if the enemy payload was trying to kill you.
The main problem is that any idiots on Team Mei will quickly lose the game for everyone. Unlike a horror movie, where the monster can kill off the weaklings and leave the competent survivalists to fight on their own terms, in this gamemode the Meis share a pool of lives, and the nimrods will respawn repeatedly and drain it before anyone has enough time to finish off the Winston. But that doesn’t mean the game mode isn’t balanced; after many, many times queuing in as a duo we found that we were winning a fair amount of games even when less-than-ideal hunters were taking up slots on the server.
I don’t have as much advice for playing Winston because it happened to me very rarely; as previously mentioned, I usually queued in as a duo and the game prevents groups of any size from splitting a member off to be Winston. I can imagine a large part of the gameplay involved avoiding the Meis and sneaking around the map grabbing meats, saving the fourth one for when you divebomb into the middle of the hunting party and turn the tables. I know at least a few Winstons would commit suicide by jumping off the side of the map and typing, “Enjoy the lootbox,” which I guess was nice?
All in all, if I hadn’t given up Overwatch after the Blitzchung incident, I would totally be playing Yeti Hunter again this winter.