This weekend began the countdown for the Overwatch League Season 2. Of the listings, which have changed a few times since released to the public, it activated hype mode for me. My excitement of a fantasy league also happened, though I fear I’m too late and don’t have enough friends interested in OWL to do it this year. Next year, I want in on that. The most exciting events of the schedule were the Talent Showdown and the 2 1v1 matches. Surefour vs. Pine on Ashe? Yes, please.
I wanted to catch the Boston Uprising scrim, but honestly I thought it would be just like watching NFL preseason matches. You don’t watch expecting Brady, Gronk, and Edelman to play the entire time. You watch to get hyped that the football season is coming soon. So when I saw that Gamsu was Hanzo or NotE on Mercy, I got exactly what I expected. What I didn’t expect was the scathing response to the matches.
Of course they didn’t take it seriously. Last year when they offered a preseason, it was treated by the league as a real thing. They had the casters and analysts on stage. The matches took place well before the season happened. If the league didn’t take these seriously, why should the teams? Did I enjoy watching Jayne pull the analyst and commentator role? Yes. Did it look like an Overwatch League production? No, it looked like when he did one of those unofficial competitions. Great to watch, but something that you want to watch for fun.
Additionally, it took place less than 1 week before the start of the season. With the meta pretty much already set for the season’s first stage (::cough:: GOATS), teams didn’t want to give anything away with their strats. It’s one thing when the preseason start was in plenty of time for the meta to change, it’s another when the season is days away.
Then Nanzer changed it up, disappointed in the teams for not taking this more seriously. He gave us Mystery Heroes. Honestly, I watched more of the Mystery Heroes scrims than I did the “real ones”. It was fun and lighthearted and I wish they did the Mystery Heroes scrims to begin with. Consider it next year. And let’s be real, if you wanted it to be treated as a real thing maybe the league itself should have treated it like the real thing as they did last year.
The league experts and fans seemed torn on this. I think the outrage is nonsense. The argument that you can’t compare the two preseasons because “You wouldn’t see a QB play linebacker” is nonsense. You still don’t see their A game because it’s not in the team’s best interest from a strategic point of view. I’m more concerned with the new players and seeing what they are capable of. If you want your eSports league to mimic the major sports league, then that is exactly what happened this weekend.
I can’t wait until the Valentine’s Day matchup between NYXL and Uprising. It’s going to be great and I can’t wait for the Overwatch League to start back up again.