Toxicity of the Overwatch City

Normally Monday’s blogs are dedicated to gaming. Typically during the Overwatch League season, it sticks to that. But the Summer Showdown ended up with a great battle that ended in a whimper between the two APAC teams: Chengdu Hunters and Shanghai Dragons. It would have been cool to see the Hunters win, but Shanghai has gone through so much that it was nice to see the back-to-back tournament wins. Plus, Fleta is just a monster and I image they might win it all in the countdown cup and Grand Finals with him getting another MVP trophy, this time for the Grand Finals MVP. As for my favorite team? I’ll just be happy to see them in the final tournaments. I’d be ecstatic for a win. But I’m a realist. Maybe if they actually keep a full roster for once, next year could be our year. If they actually keep their full roster for once.

There’s something about games that end up bringing out the worst in people. Take, for instance, when the San Francisco Shock once again failed to meet the high bar of excellence that they have set as the first back-to-back Grand Finals champions. Their “fans” turned so fast and so hard. The hate the community of gamers seems to just easily spew is a little bananas. I’m not sure that they forget that they are targeting real people with real feelings; rather, I’m a cynic that just thinks people don’t care. Maybe it’s because my oldest is about the same age as some of these kids (and they are just kids when you think about it), but I just can’t. I want to punch all of them because my protective mom instinct kicks in. Or in another instance, when a fan had a poster with a mascot sexually assaulting another mascot. Eek. Toxic.

But it just isn’t towards the pro players and anyone associated with those teams; it’s when you play the games. Normally when playing Overwatch, I stick to mystery heroes. I’ve discussed before my aversion to the other game modes, since I typically play tank or support and this will require me to talk on chat. Girls being on chat is a hit or miss. You get some people who don’t care, or the majority who decides that they are already going to lose because they have a girl on their team. Mystery heroes doesn’t necessarily require chat. It’s generally far less toxic, though my games yesterday (and lately) really test that theory. Like when this girl came on chat and kept repeating “You guys are lucky I don’t want to get angry. So lucky.” Being annoyingly passive aggressive is just as toxic as the guy screaming on chat about everyone being trash. Or this other girl who went off on this guy for seemingly no reason, trying to pull the “I’m not the a-hole, you’re the a-hole”, then making a show of throwing while smoking a bong on voice. It was a super fun match. Or the one guy that was actually so bad I blocked him. I have a very high tolerance for things, so if I block or report someone, it was something extreme.

The point is that there’s toxicity all around in the gaming world. Overwatch I feel is no more or no less toxic than any other game. At least the team behind the game tries their best to curb this behavior. They do what little they can, and I think that makes them stand out from other games that just sorta go “mad cuz bad” rather than figure out ways to address the problem. I think that’s an important distinction to make. Will it get better? Probably not. Because before the equation was exactly as the team at Penny Arcade said with their Anonymity Equation: Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Jerk (paraphrasing. I like to keep things at least PG, if not PG-13). The problem is that now people are emboldened to be the jerk even without anonymity, meaning that they get even worse with it. Maybe solve the “stop raising jerks” issue, then we can go back to normal levels of turds on the internet.

The Shadowlands Patch: Chains of Domination

I was looking for great story and in comes Tyrande, flying in and seeking vengeance for her people. Only to.. fail? Ysera appears alongside her friend to help her through this moment of failure. It was a decent story. I gasped as Ysera appeared again, even though I knew she was reborn in the Shadowlands. The story wasn’t disappointing. It was decent. I did want more. I hope I do get more. But then the questing started and I was hoping to get much more excitement back into retail than I did.

One of the things that I love about retail over Classic is the fact that I don’t have to nearly kill myself using Shadow Word: Death to tag mobs since the patch that occurred in late Burning Crusade hasn’t happened yet. The one where I can tag mobs just by putting my dot up instead of having to wait for that first tick. The one where people can’t ninja my mobs because I didn’t realize anyone was around and didn’t open with a Shadow Word: Death. I also love that mobs can be tagged by anyone, as long as it isn’t tagged by a group or the opposite faction first. I can just dot everything people are killing, get credit for the kills/get to look the bodies for quest items, and call it a day. I don’t like in retail that they make these quests where only one person can grab and item and the rest of the realm is trying to do the same quest only they can’t because only one person can grab it and the respawn timer is apparently 20 minutes. (Needless to say, as soon as I see these types of Maw/Korthia quests, I just don’t. I don’t need the rep that badly.) If I wanted to get annoyed by questing, I’d play Classic.

And I do play Classic a lot more now that I’m not struggling as a holy priest in Vanilla. Turns out, being a healer is more fun with friends you make along the way. Shadow has practically no downtime when questing, which I like. I’m only 63/64ish, which isn’t bad considering the limited play I’ve been able to get.

I just want flying. I’m sure if I had flying, I’d play retail more. Mostly because Revendreth is the worst zone and I refuse to do dailies there until I get flying. Also, it’d make leveling up my alts a lot easier. I have a lot of those. I know. I’m spoiled by the ease of retail, but that doesn’t mean I’m not thriving in Classic either. The fact that I have leveled so many alts means that I’ve done the quests enough that I know how to cheese things a little to make life easier. Like farming up glowcaps and fertile spores before you get to the Sporeggar rep in Zangarmarsh. Free XP tip, courtesy of BluishOblivion.

This patch is a bit lackluster from the patch that they hyped it to be. The zone is okayish looking. But it’s nothing spectacular. So far my favorite thing about it is that I don’t have to stop doing Maw stuff because of the Jailer debuffs. I think I like that even more than being able to mount there finally. I’ll still play because I find the game to be mindless fun that allows me to just play games without taking things too seriously. But, the next expansion better be a stellar one because eventually people are going to stop throwing money at this game. Looking at you, Activision.

Finding Your Way Back to Classic

Lately, I’ve had a bit more free time than usual. I decided to get back into WoW Classic and boost my character up in preparation for the Burning Crusade release. I tried to level as a holy priest as I did back in Vanilla, but it turns out that it’s less fast and fun if you don’t have a group of people to play with. That was something that I never did manage to experience during my first round of Classic’s release. I topped out at 28 and never looked back. The idea of boosting my character so that I could play B.C. helped me decide to give it a go again. In the original release, I was holy up until our guild started raiding Karazhan since there was the need for a Shadow Priest. This time around, I decided to just skip the step and go into SP (Shadow Priest) leveling.

In Burning Crusade, I seemed to find my love of classic again. People were helping each other. I joined a guild that seemed perfect for a casual player like me, rather than being booted repeatedly from guilds because I wasn’t hardcore enough. It was thrilling to hear the sound of the Fel Reaver while the screen was shaking and run on instinct, fearing for my life. It was even funnier watching people who didn’t know better try to fight rather than accept their fate or even who thought that at 60 they could solo one. Even leveling as shadow has proven to be a more enjoyable experience than leveling as holy the first time around. Aside from the annoying fact that there wasn’t a patch until later on that allowed you to tag mobs with your dots. Of all the quality of life changes that they should have included upon release, that was the the one.

I tried to go home again in Classic. I even wrote upon its release of whether or not you could go home again. Whether the nostalgia was better than the experience. Going back, I realized that it was more nostalgic than actually enjoyable. Especially as someone who has sworn off any real raiding due to burnout and annoyance from past experiences in my last raiding guild. It wasn’t worth getting stressed over a video game. The feeling of isolation while in a guild was depressing. It wasn’t good for the mental and I refuse to look back.

But with the release of Burning Crusade, I did find a bit of that original magic. I engaged with people. I had fun. It was truly magical and reminded me of why I love the game. I’m not someone who makes friends easily. I do have an admittedly abrasive personality that most people don’t appreciate. But in World of Warcraft, that didn’t matter. There was a connection with others over a common goal. I would argue that some of my best friends were made through the game. Some that I still talk to outside of the game. One of the greatest of them, Tars, I wish I could still talk to today. Even years after his death, I still think about him as I would anyone else that has died and left an impact on my life.

That’s the thing that people don’t understand about video games, especially ones like World of Warcraft. It isn’t just about the game. It’s about the experience. It’s about the connections that you make with real people, who may not be just like you but have the same general interests and goals. That was the original magic of Classic that somehow got lost along the way in retail. While it may be hard to go back home again in the sense of forming that community and connections with others, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some magic in those small moments that you have when you’re playing the game. That’s the beauty of the fantastic worlds that video games create.

Overwatch League: June Joust Knockouts and Lost Hopes

I’ve pointed out on many occasions that I’m a lifelong Boston fan. Which is going to happen when your family is from Boston. Even though now I don’t follow baseball or basketball since living on my own, growing up I remembered the pain of being a Boston fan. How they either just set the bar low for expectations and keep it there or raise your expectations, only to hit you in the face with “psych!” Then, you stick by your team in hopes that one day your loyalty will pay off. If it doesn’t, you’re stuck because you’ve already purchased all the merch and you’re too cheap to jump ship. I’m more on the “wait for the loyalty to pay off”, because it did work for my beloved New England Patriots. We’ll get there again, hopefully in my lifetime.

The Boston Uprising and the Houston Outlaws fans are both used to this pain. The Houston Outlaws fans so far have had quite the rollercoaster ride, with solid performances in the qualifiers only to fall very short in the actual tournaments. I actually feel bad for these fans because they did have signs to backup their hopes for greatness. The Uprising, on the other hand, have not really had the best start. Going 1-3 in the May Melee qualifiers was a very rough start. But then, we start the June Joust qualifiers and we are dominating teams. It was exciting! Could we make it?! The next 2 matches were going to be rough as both Paris Eternal and the Los Angeles Gladiators were both really solid teams, especially with this hero pool meta. Even if we lost both matches, if we could at least get one map each and other pieces fell into place, we could still make the Knockouts. Right?

….Well…

We did lose both matches. We did get one map off of the Los Angeles Gladiators and 2 off of the Los Angeles Gladiators. We played (mostly) strong, but there were things that weren’t working out. Why was Im37 way over wherever he was and dying all the time? Why did the team go super aggressive and practically spawn camp when they should have stayed closer to the point? It wasn’t the result of one person failing, not with either the Outlaws or the Uprising. It was about the team not coming together or silly mistakes that were made by everyone. These are humans, who have real emotions that soar during these matches. They get angry because they are losing and make silly mistakes. They are so desperate for a win to show their fans that they are capable and that their fans should stick by them. Because even when you lose, real fans will always stick by if there’s a glimmer of something to root for.

They did make it into the June Joust Knockouts, which was exciting. Could we shape up and beat Atlanta Reign? Even if we could, how well would we do against the San Francisco Shock, the back-to-back Grand Finals champions who have had their own struggles this season? Well, we got 3-0’ed and only really put up a fight on Numbani, which we then didn’t put up a fight and just fell apart when we were so close to victory. At least the Reign was also a strong enough team to beat the Shock… so there’s that to comfort us?

The Uprising seems to have reverted back to their days of “Let’s bash our heads against a wall doing something that obviously isn’t working” and refusing to find a way to adapt. They did that well in earlier matches, making adjustments to comps and strats during the match. They didn’t win, but at least they would try to adapt. Why didn’t Punk come in on Numbani, especially after that last time when he absolutely dominated on the map? Why didn’t we try going with mirror comps? Why didn’t we play to our strengths instead of forcing something that wasn’t working perfectly? I get that you practice something so much that you want to get stubborn and stick with it, but when it doesn’t work it is as frustrating for the fans as it is for the players. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom and most of these players are the same age as my oldest, but I feel so sad for those players when I see how those losses affect them.

I believe in my team, though. I’m rooting for them to shake it off and come back stronger in the Summer Showdown. I like this team and they have such potential if they only have the support staff to help them. I trust in Lori and I even trust in Ascroft. But I feel like there’s something behind the scenes that isn’t clicking and I’m not sure it’s on Lori. I think if we just leave him to do what he does, the team is going to make a great comeback.

Overwatch League: June Joust 2021, Week 1

The June Joust began with hero pools in effect. The heroes that are out are: Sombra, Tracer, Reinhardt, and Zenyatta. Hero pools are the perfect way to shake things up… and boy did they break the pick’ems. I could go on and on about how the mighty teams so far have fallen, but really I’d rather just talk about my favorite team this week: the Boston Uprising.

The May Melee was definitely disappointing, though we did win our last match of the tournament. It still wasn’t enough to get us into the bracket. This win, despite it being over my other favorite team (London Spitfire, who’s had their own very disappointing season this year), wasn’t necessarily that much of a win. They had as bad as a start as we had and is widely considered to be one of the weaker teams in the league. Still, it was a win that I think we all needed.

Over the break, offtank GaeBullSsi was signed and him and Fusions made it to America before the June Joust began. Who would start: Punk (who’s been a solid player for us), or the new guy? The answer for the first match of the tournament against the Toronto Defiant was GaeBullSsi. His synergy with the other players from WGS Phoenix (Valentine, Faith, Im37) and their coach Lori made this the best choice in my mind. And I can’t say I was disappointed. I loved Punk, but the aggression and new blood seemed to give this team new life. It was amazing to watch as a fan. I expected a close match and hoped for a win. What I didn’t expect was a 3-0 win over the Defiant in such a solid showing. Was it close? Absolutely. But it was still solid play from the boys in blue.

Sunday’s match was against the Washington Justice. This was a team that had a strong showing in the May Melee in the qualifying matches. This was probably the match I was most scared for. But, the Boston Uprising ended up rolling them in spectacular fashion. I correctly pegged Faith as the Player of the Match because he had such a strong showing. We also saw something very rare for the Uprising: a substitution during the match. Punk showed that he does have a place on this roster with his excellent performance on Sigma. This also showed that substitutions can be a good thing, allowing you to let players play to their strengths. It was incredible as a fan to see. I have some high hopes right now, but as a Boston fan for life, I know it can either lead to disappointment or a surprise championship.

It’s just great to watch and I’m going to enjoy the ride while I can because I am a Boston fan and know that you always have to celebrate the wins because you never know when they’ll stop. But for right now, I’m so happy with how well our team is doing.

Overwatch League: Season 4 May Melee Knockouts

As an Overwatch League fan, this past weekend of knockouts were some of the most exciting ones yet. While the Boston Uprising didn’t make it in, there were so many other great teams that were really due this opportunity to show off just how great they are. And they didn’t disappoint. Well, I guess unless you’re a Shock fan… then you were really shocked and disappointed.

My picks to make it into the May Melee were the Houston Outlaws and Florida Mayhem. OGE is a tank that I definitely like to follow. He seems like one of those guys that just gets the short end just because of the teams he lands on, and I was rooting for him to show everyone that he wasn’t the problem on those teams. Spoiler: He wasn’t. They easily beat the Toronto Defiant to go onto their match with the Washington Justice, a team that may have only been in the top seed because of how easy their schedule was throughout the May Melee. OGE had such a strong performance in this match, where they went on to secure their spot in the May Melee tournament by beating the Justice 3-1.

The real shock of the weekend was when Dallas Fuel played upset for the entire knockouts. First, they 3-0 the San Francisco Shock. Then they proceeded to do the same when the Battle for Texas came to the knockouts, when they faced off against the strong looking Houston Outlaws. The Outlaws just had no answer for the Dallas Fuel’s refusal to follow anything that may be meta. Dallas will also be going to Hawaii to enjoy the May Melee.

Now, for fellow Boston Uprising fans, I didn’t forget you. We lost the first match of the weekend against the Washington Justice, which eliminated us from the knockout rounds of the tournament. But, the bright point was when we actually won our first match against the London Spitfire. Otherwise known as a match where we should’ve went 3-0, but we outplayed ourselves with silly mistakes. I think this was the match that both the fans and the players needed to win, to show that they are as good as we hope that they are. When they were on fire, they had solid performances where we looked unstoppable. I can’t wait for the June Joust to see what else we have to offer, now that we finished the first round of tournaments off with a win.

Overwatch League Season 4: May Melee Week 2

After the hype, the Boston Uprising finally had their first matches. This team, with some really solid fresh faces and returning ones out for redemption, had a lot of hype around it. The preseason tournaments had strong showings for the team, coming in 2nd in the SteelSeries Tournament, then winning the Overwatch Experimental Card Tournament. They looked great in the preseason and that gave a lot of us fans hope that this upcoming season would be the beginning of the Boston Uprising redemption arc. But did we get there? We’ll see. But first, a JJANGGU appreciation post.

How does he keep getting away with those ridiculous, big brain shatters? Does he whiff some? Sure. Does he make massive shatters when it counts (even when it really doesn’t)? Absolutely and it’s insane every time. If he keeps this up for the rest of the season, I think he’s definitely making a strong argument for OWL’s 2021 Rookie of the Year. Houston, a team I’m heavily rooting for this year outside of my normal Boston Uprising and London Spitfire hopes, looks so strong right now and honestly, they really deserve it. Even with star player Danteh in the hospital, they looked unbeatable. I think they could win the May Melee tournament. And I’ll be so happy for Outlaws fans to see their pain turn into joy after some rough seasons.

Now, back to the Uprising, a team that also brought so much hope to fans. Only to bring us pain.

I’m not sure what went wrong this week. They definitely didn’t look like the solid performing team we saw in the preseason. They looked strong, if you can look past those mistakes that they made that you can’t get away with when you are playing some very strong teams. But there were some things that left me going “What was that?” For instance, the Doomfist pick in their match against the L.A. Gladiators. I get it, in theory. Shu and Moth are deadly good supports and if you can get a Doomfist in to disrupt that, you get a nice win. Only, that didn’t work. Shu and Moth were just too good and at some point, realize that and fix it. Don’t stubbornly stick with picks that are obviously not working. That’s a complaint I think myself and other Uprising fans have had about this team since the beginning. Then obviously a Mei is a solid pick on most maps, but we decide “Nah, let’s put a Doomfist against a Mei.” (?!?) Enter in the full 3-0 sweep.

During the match against Dallas Fuel, even though we also got 3-0’ed, it was a much stronger showing. We almost won 2 maps, had we not made some small mistakes or just let Doha pop off and destroy our entire team. Doha is easily the strongest DPS on their team. You can’t just let him go running free. You handle Doha, you win the map. Letting his Sombra just walk all over you and EMP without anyone there to really stop him was major. Letting his Hanzo just sit comfortably and hit you isn’t going to work. It was just painful to watch.

Do I still have hope? Yes. Despite all of the bad, you can see the hard work, dedication, and heart these players have. You can see their talents. Maybe it was just first week jitters. Maybe something just wasn’t clicking for them. Whatever the case may be, I think next week will be better. We might not beat the Washington Justice, but we could. We might beat the London Spitfire, because that is a team that doesn’t really look strong at all this season. Every week is a new week and I think the Uprising just needs to shake it off and get back out there. Rise Up.

Overwatch League: Season 4 May Melee

Gaming Monday is back now that Overwatch League is back for its 4th season. (Yay!) This season has already kicked off with so much excitement, even if my favorite team the Boston Uprising won’t make their 4th season debut until next weekend. (Sad.) But, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t anything worth watching this weekend.

First of all, this new digital format is amazing. I was skeptical at first because last year it didn’t quite seem as impressive as it does this year. The production team killed it. From the way that they make it look like the casters and analysts are together in one space to the addition of the face cams during game play (more on this later), this feels like a cohesive and well-done setup. I’d also like to mention the 4K broadcast. Because at first I was like “Why is that even necessary?”, but then I had it and I don’t think I ever want to go back.

The biggest stories that I think should be mentioned of the weekend is the Houston Outlaws, who went 2-0 this weekend despite a very shaky and disappointing season last year. The new additions, especially JJANGGU and Happy, were really able to shine. The JJANGGU and Piggy tank duo were great. These new additions really let Hydration and Danteh shine more than ever, which showed us a fantastic team that all fans can be excited about. Plus, putting JAKE out there on Brig for Dorado was actually quite beautiful.

Now the real story with them was the way that they took down the San Francisco Shock in an exhilarating 6th map. (Those sneaky JJANGGU shatters were on fire.) Though, I would like to mention the earth shatter that shook Super’s world, which was made even better by watching Super’s reaction on the face camera. Seeing Striker take the loss so hard stung a little, but I was rooting for the underdogs to do well this weekend. And they more than delivered on that.

The main story of the weekend is the fact that no one knows what’s going to happen. Houston beating the Shock? Insane. It was a meme pick by the desk and it happened. Chengdu taking 3-0 over Shanghai? Insane. This is likely going to be the best season of Overwatch League to this point. And I can’t wait.

What do I hope for next weekend? I hope that Boston can prove that maybe scrimbucks do matter after all and our new team can come together as strongly as they have so far in the unofficial preseason tournaments. While SoOn was a great piece to have during those tournaments and it really sucks that he won’t be a part of the team for the rest of the season, our new additions and our veteran players are a solid squad this season. I hope that I don’t regret my optimism with them.

Fighting!

Shadowlands: The True Beta Experience

Now that there’s really not much to talk about in the Overwatch Leage, aside from my MVP choice Fleta winning the award and Washington Justice somehow doing exceptionally well in the playoffs before finally falling to the Philadelphia Fusion, it’s time to look at the Beta Experience for World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.

At first, the experience started off well. The story was great. I’m not sure I liked the story more than some of my other favorite expansions like Legion and Wrath of the Lich King, but the story was far more interesting than what BFA turned out to be. (I admit, I did enjoy the BFA story for a while but eventually was bored of it.) The prequel book was good and a great lead-in to the beta… but there was something missing. Things were pretty easy to get through, and it was interesting coming across some of these characters that we have loved in the past to see where they are now that they are dead.

The Bug That Ended it All. And Led to Another Major issue.

But then, things halted. As you can see, there’s this really cool looking effect on the side of the screen. The problem is… that’s not supposed to be there. That’s the effect you get as you travel through the wormhole to get to Oribos. This is how the whole situation happened, though according to the forums these 2 issues are completely separate:

  • I moved on from Maldraxxus, which is a cool zone for those fans of necromancers in WoW, into Ardenweald. This zone in pictures was gorgeous and the creatures and NPCs that were in this zone looked so stunning. I suppose it helps that this zone had beautiful shades of blue everywhere. It was fun questing, finding mischief with the NPCs… until I go to turn in the quest.
  • There was seemingly everyone on the server who was trying to also unsuccessfully turn in this quest. Tried the usual things and even abandoned the quest. I tried to retrieve said quest, “Tending to Wildseeds”, and the NPC was nowhere to be found. Cool.
  • I hearthed, forgetting that my hearth was back in Bastion. Easy enough… just fly back to Adrenweald and try going back again. Except when I landed, now I’m stuck with this wormhole effect that lags and makes playing impossible.
  • Go to the forums, it’s a common issue. Just do an arena skirmish or instance and it will clear when you get back out. Went into an instance, could barely do anything because of lag caused by said instance, then got out and still had the issue.

The Problem With These Issues

As already mentioned, the wormhole effect makes it so that the game lags horribly and I can’t really do anything. Which I suppose is fine, because apparently I can’t do anything anyways. In Shadowlands, the quests are linear. So when a quest bugs and you can’t do it/turn it in, you’re stuck in the game. You can’t get quests elsewhere. You can’t just move onto another zone. While I enjoy the linear storytelling of this approach, when you have a bug that breaks the game so you can’t complete the quest you are stuck in a loop of nothing. You can’t do anything, except instances. Which, with the wormhole bug, makes that impossible too.

The Concern

The game is supposed to be released next month. This has apparently been an issue since the beginning of September and if it’s still an issue today, then is the game even going to be able to be released on launch day? Or are they just hoping that people won’t level that high until some time (/lulz) and they can just wing it? Is the response to just not make that a quest that requires you to move on?

Please Make This Work

The beta in Shadowlands has been fun. I can’t wait to play it more… maybe another toon won’t stay perma-stuck at 57 because of the same bugs. Maybe not. But I’m actually still really excited that this could be a fun expansion with a great story. I’m hoping later this week, with the kids back at “school”, I can get into streaming it. For now.. please make the game work. I really want to try the covenants.

Overwatch League Playoffs 2020: The First Week

I went into the knockouts expecting the Boston Uprising to lose their first match. I still was going to watch and root for them, since I’m not the type of fan that just turns my back on my favorite teams. But I mean, they weren’t going to win right? Even if they were going up against Houston, who has had a difficult time lately. I would’ve been okay with a Houston win, since I like the team. They are good people, have great role models for kids, and are just generally hilarious when you read their social media or watch them stream. But then, the first match broke so many brackets. Because Boston won that first match!

I couldn’t believe it. They did so well the first map. They rolled out with different comps each match. They tried new things. They played aggressively. Our DPS played on characters that they were actually good at. Myunbong was on his apparently most amazing character ever (Ana) and just tossing out sleeps that seemed impossible to get. If this was the team that we had all year, we would have had more than just 2 wins in the regular season. While I admit that when I saw Fusions roll out on the Roadhog I was scared, it turned out so much better than I thought. He was able to play more aggressively, which seems to be his preference. Punk was amazing. They were all amazing. It was incredible and bittersweet to watch. We finally get a meta that works for us, and it’s in the playoffs.

Then the drawings happened for the playoff teams to pick their choices for the next round of knockouts. The first team didn’t pick us. (Gladiators) Then, Atlanta’s resident “villain” picked us. However, instead of his normal trash talk saying things like “ez”, he picked us because he wanted to see the drama and storyline about Decay (Justice) going up against his old team (Fuel) that released him while badmouthing him right before the playoffs.

Now, of course we lost the second round, but I’m not disappointed in the loss. They didn’t get destroyed. They put up a fight. They looked good; just Atlanta looked better.

The playoffs showed me that this team had talent. It showed that I was right; you figure out a way to let these guys play the characters they are good at rather than forcing a meta and they win. They look and play more confidently, which means that they are more aggressive. It was far more enjoyable watching the Uprising lose to Atlanta in the playoffs than it was to watch them lose practically all their matches all season long. Why? Because they played their heart outs. They looked great out there. They weren’t losing because they were terrible; they were just losing because Atlanta was just a little bit better.

What do I want to see next season? I’m definitely hoping for new coaches. Ones that can plan out better strats and work with the strengths of the players rather than forcing something that obviously isn’t working. Is it the coaching or HuK micromanaging? I’m not sure. If he is, maybe he should take a step back and let the coaches do their job. The playoffs showed the potential of this team. I wouldn’t be opposed to everyone staying now. I would even keep Fusions as a tank. I want the team to have more players next season, so that you can swap players in and out like other teams do. Because character picks can be dependent on the meta and the map, so the ability to swap players in and out means that you can get the perfect comps for each map. At least one backup for each position. I’m not asking for a lot here. And maybe next season, actually swap players in and out. Or change strats on the fly. Because there were so many games this season that the team just smashed their head against the wall repeatedly hoping for different results but getting the same exact stomping by the other team. Maybe then, we can have a winning team.

My pick for the Grand Finals winner is Shanghai. I have them in my now deceased bracket going against the Shock in the finals, but I’d love to see a Shanghai win. Plus, Fleta was my pick for MVP so I’d like to see that too. The Shanghai redemption arc would be so amazing if they could add “Grand Finals Champions” to their name.