The Blizzcon Weekend Wrap Up

There was nothing on the schedule for Blizzcon that gave you that hyped up experience you wanted. They didn’t have any real panels listed. It was hard to get into the spirit of things this year, especially when the digital ticket loot was lacking this year. There was the excitement of potentially seeing some interesting protests, and of course the Overwatch World Cup. When the schedule was finally announced after the opening ceremony, there was still so much secrecy around the closing act(s). Then when it was announced, the digital ticket holders got frozen out of the only decent closing act playing. That was a slap in the face to digital ticket holders, who were able to enjoy much bigger acts in the past with our ticket. Aside from that complaint, let’s see what there was to talk about.

The biggest event was what happened with Overwatch for me. The announcement of Overwatch 2, with PVE was really exciting for me. I’m a huge fan of the lore and story of Overwatch. The PVE modes were some of the coolest things in Overwatch. To have a game primarily centered around these story modes? I’m pretty excited about that. It seems so early in production though to really know exactly how cool this will be. Hopefully next year there will be a beta to get into. On the competitive side of Overwatch, the World Cup was a really exciting event this year. I like that Team Korea had competition this year. I especially like that they didn’t take home the title again this year. Even more exciting than the fact that Team USA took home the gold was how exciting these matches were. Team China deserved their spot and they were insane. Just not as insane as Team USA.

Then, there was the World of Warcraft announcement: a new expansion called “Shadowlands”. I wasn’t too hyped about it, until watching the cinematic. Blizzard knows how to do a good cinematic and this was no exception. Watching it was exciting, but would the xpac live up to the hype? Judging by the Deep Dive panel, I think so. Going back to certain things that players missed, such as being a shadow priest but able to actually heal yourself with something more than the disappointing shadowmend. The storyline seems like it could be really amazing. Then again, so did “Battle for Azeroth” and we know how that ended up. I like the idea of Covenants and the new zones look stunning. I can’t wait to learn more about it at next Blizzcon. Or getting into the beta. Either way works for me.

The other exciting thing was the new Diablo announcement. Diablo 4 looks pretty awesome, but I was really disappointed with Diablo before and I don’t want to get burned again. Sure, it’s fun to play on the Switch when you’re bored, but it’s not something I actively go for when I want to game. I like the changes, the visuals are beautiful, and the new customization features could be awesome. It will be interesting to see how this game turns out.

There were some really great things out of Blizzcon this year, but I feel as a digital ticket holder the whole thing was disappointing. I hope that next year they bring it back up to the awesome level it was last year.

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New Season, New Team?

This seems to be the model for many teams in the Overwatch League during this off-season. While the Uprising taking the time to completely implode their team into oblivion wasn’t shocking (the blasé trade for cash did sting a little.. but not shocking), other teams have decided to scrap 90% of their team and staff. I will take some time to talk about some of these interesting moves, my focus is primarily going to be on the Uprising. (Though, please Spitfire, you’d be dumb not to keep Fury. Please keep him, he’s the only reason I started following your team.)

There have been some changes already, some of which was already leaked during the infamous Sideshow accidental stream from last week. Kariv is now a member of the Defiant (though no announcement on Agilities yet. The theory is because they want to film some great teaser with him and Kariv. Maybe this didn’t happen yet due to World Cup scrims?) Space is now a Gladiator. Things are starting to fall as the “Sideshow” leaks said they would.

But what about the Uprising, a team that is more known for its cutting/trading their entire team at the end of every season? Most of us Uprising fans when into this time of year and get rid of everyone. At least we had the comfort of knowing that blasé, Colourhex, Axxiom, and Fusions would be around next year. Until the surprise announcement that they had traded blasé for “cash considerations”. At first when the trade was announced, I wondered what we got from it. Did we pick up the talented and chill Danteh? Seemed like a long shot considering the “No I don’t play for Boston” joke, but it would’ve been a good trade for us. Nope. It was cash. We just sold our most flexible and standout player. It wasn’t too shocking, but it did hurt almost as much as the NotE/Gamsu departures.

Now, with a few weeks left until the November 15th deadline to have 8 players signed, we have 3 players. Potentially 4 if the leaks are true that the Uprising picked up a solid flex support in Myunbong. That’s only half a roster. Boston has a reputation for being a “farm team” or “moneyballing” but how accurate is that? This could be smart on his behalf, considering some teams are rumored to have money problems due to overspending in previous seasons. This is partially due to the new investments in homestands and traveling, something that was a goal for this league from the beginning. Maybe everyone else had poor planning and HuK actually knew what he was doing after all. (Yes, this pained me to say.) Now he has the money to spend on talent and on travel, while still working to get a discount whenever possible. That’s the Kraft way.

Tonight, HuK is doing another Q&A which surprisingly didn’t go so terribly last time. In fact, I did find that he was as candid as he could be without A) bad mouthing a player outright or B) other secret constraints such as contracts being finalized. He promised us to be more transparent and this 2nd Q&A shows that he’s trying to keep that promise. There will be some interesting questions, like why trade blasé when he was easily the most reliable player on the team? What about everyone else? Do we have new signings that you are going to announce? What about a venue for the homestands? I personally haven’t bought tickets yet for two reasons. One, I don’t know where it’s going to be and I don’t want to suffer at an awful venue. Two, I don’t want to pay money to support a team that I don’t know will exist.

It’s hard to be an Uprising fan and I wonder how long they can keep up this business model of imploding their team every year. No one will buy named jerseys if a player is barely going to last the year there let alone the off-season. They might buy jerseys or you might piss them off enough that they go for another team with more stability. As a lifelong Patriots fan, I accept that this is the way things go for the team. But it’s a rough life, especially when you go from one of the top teams to one of the worst teams in the league. We got them to stop laughing only to become a joke again, and the fans aren’t laughing. Hopefully this Q&A can revitalize the fans into being the avid supporters again.

The Leaks of the Overwatch League

The big talk this weekend on Reddit was the “Leaks Heard Round the World”. Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Sideshow. Not only is he incredibly entertaining, he also definitely knows his stuff. His insights are generally spot on, even if like Monte you want to get mad at what he says. The leak video that spread like wildfire on reddit disappeared as it was deemed against policy may or may not be true. But it brings up some interesting discussions if it is.

The video in question appears to have Sideshow, neptuNo, and Custa talking about trades in the works until they realize that they were accidentally streaming the conversation. The internet doesn’t forget and you can probably very easily find this video if you want to. Some of the important gems of this rumored trade includes reuniting former Boston tank duo and great friends NotE and Gamsu, with Gamsu reportedly being signed to the Dallas Fuel for an insane amount of money. OGE goes to LA Gladiators. Brothers in OW Kariv and Agilities are reportedly going to the Toronto Defiant together, along with Surefour. (Solidifying dreams of Toronto signing Canadian talent.) And SPACE jumped to the other LA team, making the Gladiators the winners of the off-season “Battle for the LAs”? The other big mention was that neptuNo said Defiant refused to trial him due to his reputation for toxicity.

Is this video truly releasing the juice or is it just a joke? Are these just rumors? Insiders seem to admit that these are all true leaks. But then the question was argued: What should the punishments be? Well, I don’t think anything should happen. Leaks can actually be good for a sport, especially in the offseason and especially when the eSports industry is constantly growing with more official Leagues. By having these leaks out there, Overwatch League is remaining relevant. Even with the World Cup coming up, after that we won’t see these players up on the stage until February. Things have become irrelevant in shorter time. Leaks up the hype, keep people talking about the league. It may not be good for the individual players and teams, but it is definitely still publicity they can milk to keep everyone talking about them.

Was it an accident? Of course. The teams might be upset over it, but the League probably isn’t that broken up about it. Because again, free publicity. The posts on reddit about these leaks are probably up in the 500s as far as comments go and this will only get higher. They should absolutely not let Sideshow go because of it because not only does he have a solid fanbase, he knows what he’s talking about. He’s amazing at his job. It would be the biggest mistake the league did. Especially after removing easily their best analyst when they pulled Reinforce off the desk.

So the moral of this story is that yes, leaks can be bad but this raises the hype for fans who are dying for news. There are teams that haven’t said anything about key players. Was Dante signed to Houston or is he heading to LA Gladiators? What about anything from Boston aside from Persia saying “Not LFT”? (Side note: Please not Boston.) The fans want to know about what’s going on with their favorite players and this gives them something to salivate over and debate about until official announcements happen.

Overwatch League Season 2 Stage Finals: Who Took Home the Trophy?

Prior to the game, my Facebook predicted a Shock win, with either Moth or ChoiHyoBin taking home the MVP trophy. (When I reiterated this quickly prior to the match, I accidentally said Sinatraa or Moth, but the sleeper OT was the one I had my money on. From one OT to another.) For a long time, it was predicted that the Titans and the Shock would face off in the Grand Finals for a match to make all other matches look underwhelming.

…Except the only thing underwhelming was the Titans. In what should have been a nail-biter, a close match that should have gone the extra mile to a map 8, ended with a 4-0 win by the Shock. It wasn’t a battle for the times; it was a slaughterhouse. It was destruction. Just when the Titans figured it out, it turns out they didn’t. This isn’t a knock to the Titans, who made some spectacular plays. It was just that they really couldn’t stop the Shock’s total annihilation of their team. If you thought Sinatraa and Striker were a dangerous DPS duo, then you sorely underestimated the power of Rascal and Architect. These DPS duos couldn’t lose. And Moth? I think if there was any doubt that he was the best western support, no one is doubting that anymore. He’s flexible and talented and such a huge asset to this team. Maybe this is a sign that the USA Overwatch World Cup team won’t suck.

It seems that there was a difference that ended up paying off in the end. The Shock was relentlessly mocked for their willingness to drop so much money on the underaged-at-the-time Sinatraa before he could even play. And when he got on the stage last season, he was criticized for being overpriced for his skill. Turns out, with a good coach to hone those skills, Sinatraa became such a force to reckon with. As someone who had a distaste for his arrogance in the past, I appreciate the newly humbled DPS starter who has learn to balance that arrogance and humility. Then they were mocked for stacking their DPS ahead of the GOATs meta, while other teams either focused entirely on GOATs or tried to balance. This is where the Titans may have made their mistake.

The Vancouver Titans seemed to center around their tank Bumper, who was seemingly unstoppable in GOATs. They had some DPS stars in Haskal and Seominsoo, but they didn’t seem as strong as other DPS stars particularly on the Shock. They were good, but ultimately they just weren’t good enough. They didn’t lose the match because they played poorly though; it was just that the Shock utterly dominated them and the Titans didn’t have an answer for it. The closest map seemed to be Anubis, where the second attempt at capturing the points seemed a bit slower for the Shock. Aside from that, there was really no competition who the better team was.

This week, you can expect the onslaught of trades or cuts from teams. I suspect this is particularly true for us Uprising fans. Aimgod will likely be the first announcement of players who have been let go. I’d love Axxiom stay in place of Fusions because I still believe he’s a more well-rounded and talented tank. But for the love of whatever entity, can we please keep blasé and Colourhex. Maybe even Stellar. I don’t care if you dump the rest of the team but I would really love these 3 players to stick around. It will be an exciting off season to match the awesome season. I think the league will be even better with the addition of traveling.

Overwatch League Season 2: Grand Finals

As the league mourned the last Overwatch League games in the Overwatch Arena, many fans are excited for the new chapter. Except for those of us who can’t afford the insane prices for the matches, which in some areas are much more expensive than others. (No, I won’t pay that much to see a team that bombed last season and may likely just get rid of all of their players again as much as I love and support the team still.) But, there is still excitement to come: the Grand Finals!

I admit, I liked this format so much better than cramming in the playoffs and Grand Finals in a single weekend, burning out players and fans. This gives us the excitement we want, the drawn out money grab for the league, and the much needed break before the finals for the final 2 teams. But, who will take home this years title?

I’m rooting for the San Francisco Shock. I like the story of a team who struggled last year to becoming arguably the strongest team in the league. I like Striker, the Uprising’s former star. I like Crusty, who worked hard for the Uprising. I like this team. The Titans may be the new kids in the league who feel as though it’s already in the bag. But it isn’t. If the past is any indication on how this game is going to go, this will certainly be an exciting match between two of the best teams this season. The story of a Contenders team running the Overwatch League as the Titans did would make for a good story, but I like the rise from the ashes story from the Shock.

Why will they win? The Shock has more versatile players on their bench and they are not afraid to sub in to adapt as needed. They have solid DPS players that can play any roles depending on who they choose. Sinatraa has been a consistent force on this team and between him and Moth, can motivate their team. Choi is an insane off-tank. These are solid players that as long as they don’t get tilted too much can destroy any team in their path. As strong as Haskal and Seo are, I don’t think they are stronger than any DPS duo put up by the Shock.

The Shock may show signs of arrogance, but these are kids. They have shown an equal amount of humility. I don’t think I can say the same about the Titans, especially when one of their players is so confident that he says “I can beat any team as any player”. It’s no wonder that this level of arrogance and cocky play is why he didn’t end up as the tank for the Korean World Cup team. There’s aggression to take the win, and there’s aggression for your own stats. That’s the difference between a player like Tom Brady and a player like Peyton Manning. That’s the difference between a solid tank like Mano and someone like Bumper.

Fortunately for me, the Patriots game will likely be over before the Overwatch League matches start. 3:00pm EST means that the broadcast will start at 3 with a pregame show then a move into the musical acts and any other thing they do before the players take the stage. My estimate is the game will actually start at 4, so I won’t have to switch between my phone and television. This will be a great match to close out this intense season. I can’t wait until the new traveling mode of matches begins because watching your team play in the home field is always more exciting.

But the Ads Made it Look So Much Bluer

As you may have guessed from the blog’s name/branding, I’m a big fan of the color blue. Some would say “obsessed”; they may not be wrong about that. But what you may not know is that I’m a longtime Nintendo fan. As far as consoles go, I’m not ashamed to admit that Nintendo is the one for me. I may have enjoyed the Playstation for the “Dynasty Warriors” series (before it sucked). I may have enjoyed the “Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball” games, though my interest was because the soundtrack was awesome and the games were fun. I always made sure my character was in the most modest bathing suit possible.

But Nintendo? I could probably play the classic games forever. Mario Kart. Smash Brothers. And my favorites: Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing. Maybe we’ll even get a remake/new game of Crystal Chronicles (edit: Turns out, we will this winter. Exciting!). We do have a Switch in the house already, but my youngest lives off of that when he can’t play the computer. But then, the Switch Lite was announced in a gorgeous blue color. I pre-ordered it as soon as I could. Then I had it delivered on release day. Thank you Amazon.

With a Switch already in the house, my research informed me that the best approach to get to use the games we already purchased was to link the accounts. Simple enough, aside from the 10000 security measures I needed to get through thanks to my SysAdmin husband. The downside? I don’t get a separate “user” for me as far as I can tell. But I’m also not the most tech-savvy person I know. However, the only other downside is the color in reality doesn’t quite meet the lighter turquoise as seen on the ads. Still, it’s a pretty little thing.

This “pretty little thing” also applies to the picture quality as far as the games go. I never had too much of an opportunity to play the Switch in handheld mode, but the graphics for games seems pretty awesome. The games run smoothly, and you can easily download the games from the main account. After about an hour or so of playing Diablo, I turned it off to go to bed and it was still at a little more than 1/2 battery. The Switch Lite fits nicely in my baby hands, it wasn’t too heavy feeling, and it feels comfortable for those longer gaming sessions.

I’m primarily a PC gamer, but Nintendo is always my go-to console. The Lite is a perfect choice for handheld fans that want to play the “real” games on the go. Plus, I do love the fact that with Nintendo Online I can play some of my favorite NES and SNES games. If the full-price Switch seems too much, then this is a great alternative. I’m not sure which games won’t be able to be played on it, but everything I’ve wanted to play works just fine. I’m hoping when Overwatch comes out, that this will work perfect on it too. As of now, it was well worth the money.

Overwatch League: Season 2, Onto the Grand Finals

Let’s be honest here: Everyone knew who would make the Grand Finals. As much as some of us wanted to have a different outcome than the predictable same 2 teams, that’s what we ended up with. The Titans would try to complete their amazing first year run in the Overwatch League with the title of Grand Finals Champion, but the San Francisco Shock stand in their way. I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’m back and ready to go.

As an Uprising fan I can’t help but to think that if HuK actually let Crusty run the team when he was the coach, that we would end up in this same spot at this exact time. Crusty transformed a team like the Shock, who honestly struggled last year, into the powerhouse that they are now. Instead, HuK learned his lesson too late and we went from a top 3 team to a bottom 3 team and Crusty is leading the Shock to potentially win the championship.

Last week’s playoffs were exciting matches to watch. The matches were close and the heartbreak was real, seeing the Spitfire and Dynasty go home early. Going into this recent weekend of matches, it looked like these would also be incredible matches to watch. Except only one of the four matches was. Every other team lost in a 4-0 fashion. While some of the maps in these matches were insane to watch, they also kinda weren’t. Then the NYXL went up against the Titans in a crazy match that went down to the last map. NYXL did eventually lose horribly on Dorado, only getting 1 point to the Titan’s 3. This knocked them down to the Loser’s bracket to fight for their chance in the finals against the San Francisco Shock.

The match against the Shock wasn’t a total blowout, despite their heartbreaking 4-0 loss. The maps were decently close, but the NYXL has a tendency to choke in those big moments. That’s what cost them their shot in the Grand Finals last year, and they had a repeat of this again. Would Pine have made the difference here? As much as I like Pine, I don’t think so. Shock is a strong team and I think that the mistakes were more mental than a lack of skill. That moment between SBB and Flower though was as wholesome as it was heartbreaking. SBB is a leader on this team and I would be shocked to see him leave though seeing him on my second favorite team the Spitfire would be pretty awesome.

Who’s going to walk away the Champion in 2 weeks? Both teams are strong and we’ve seen this matchup twice before in the Stage Finals, with each team taking home a win. I’m rooting for the Shock though, only because I am one of those people that think the Titans are too arrogant and need to be taken down a few. They get tilted too easily and seem to think that they are just the heir apparent championship winners. They don’t need to work for it; it’s their right. But it isn’t. My unpopular take is that Shock is the better and more versatile team, but anything can happen when those kids take the stage. Plus, Sinatraa and Moth are killing it right now and I would honestly take them over Slime and Haskal.