Overwatch League Season 3: Talent Edition

With the hype about the players winding down as deadlines started to close, most teams have already announced their official roster for the upcoming season. While the players are an important part of the broadcast, much like regular sports the on-screen talent is also very important. For instance, when I see Collinsworth is casting the Patriots game I want to stab my eardrums. You need casters and analysts that offer incredible insight while also being entertaining. You need a team that is full of hype and that people like. I would argue that the talent team that the Overwatch League has it part of the reason why this eSport has been so successful.

Now that localization begins this season in the Overwatch League, this ambitious task does cause some questions like “What does this mean for the talent?” This means that they are going to need more people, to deploy around to every game as they currently do. The analysts are probably going to remain in LA to do their thing, just like it’s done in the NFL. Nothing has been mentioned to the fans. All we have to go by is that Custa has joined the desk crew as an analyst and unsurprisingly, JAKE has joined as a new caster.

There have been some cryptic posts from names like Puckett and Bren that hints to some major changes. But what? Are there going to be more casters? Are we losing desk people? What about #justice4reinforce? My theory? They’d be dumb to break up Bren/Sideshow especially with the addition of Custa, who they get along so well with. Puckett is a staple at the desk and it would be really hard to see him go. As much as I love Soe, I loved her more during the interviews than on the desk. So would the analyst desk consist of Puckett, Sideshow, Bren, and Custa? Are the theories right that Puckett will make the switch to COD and puts Soe as the host? I could see her doing well as the host, but I’m still team Puckett here.

There’s no announcement yet for additional casters. My theory is that the casting duos remain unchanged, except for the additions of new ones. My predictions? I feel as though Achilios and Wolf will stick around, only they will stay in Korea/Asia for the Asian homestands. Uber and Mr X. may relocated to the east coast to focus on homestands on that side of the country. Monte and Doa may be floaters that are primarily centered in the south. Then, JAKE and his unnamed partner will remain in LA for the west coast matches. I think separating the teams like this could make the most sense, from a logistics standpoint. But who will JAKE’s partner be? Some have suggested LemonKiwi, his world cup casting partner. Other’s have said Avast. I think Avast may work well moving up from Contenders casting to Overwatch League, but I’m not sure how well he’d work with JAKE. I think they are both pretty high energy guys who need a calmer presence on stage with them.

We still have some time for the Overwatch Season 3 to begin, so a lot can happen between then. It will be interesting to see who on the cast and crew are sticking around and who will be leaving. It may even be a little heartbreaking to see. I can’t wait though. Season 3 hype-mode: activated.

Raising the New Generation of Men

I’m a mom of boys. #boymomlife? It’s never boring. I spend more time using plates and cups that aren’t glass, not because I don’t have them or am too lazy to do the dishes. It’s because they break things. I don’t subscribe to boys being boys, but boys can kinda be monsters. They wrestle and nut shot each other. They hit each other to the point that I just let them as long as they don’t kill each other. Honestly, that’s my motto. If everyone comes out relatively okay at the end of the day, I didn’t fail.

I always say that we are responsible for raising the next generation of adults. It’s an important job being a parent because you really are shaping the future. It’s a heavy burden when you really think about it. I have made all of my parenting decisions on that premise of I’m not raising kids; I’m raising future adults. Adults that could be the next president or working the beat as police officers or teachers that help mold their next generation. Sure, you could do everything right and your kid still ends up a serial killer as an adult. But, that’s not something to dwell on.

I also always point out about how my parents didn’t really stick too much to those “gender roles” that so many people force on their children. Sure, I can cook, knit, sew, and other “domestic” things, but I’m also able to do minor repairs around the home, and various other “men” things. I was raised to be a strong, badass Irish woman. My boys spend a lot of time learning from both myself and my husband. I teach the boys how to do laundry and lately, how to cook. My oldest even cooked a pretty awesome pot of curry. My youngest wants to start learning how to cook. I don’t want my boys to rely on their wives to take care of them. I want them to be able to take care of themselves, or their partners, or me when I’m old and unable to do anything for myself.

The old-fashioned people would tell you that letting boys play with dolls is bad. It isn’t. Worst case, they end up becoming compassionate and caring fathers. When I bought my youngest a kitchen set, there were people even mentioning that this was me teaching my son to be a girl, to be gay. It was a bit shocking. There’s nothing negative about a man cooking. (Then again, there’s nothing wrong with a man being gay either.) Men cook. My husband was even in the kitchen last night teaching our 17-year-old how to make the perfect runny egg. It was a bonding experience that they enjoyed as they talk about anime and comics and current events.

Food brings people together. I appreciate that my boys want to learn my family recipes to cook for their families. We should encourage our men to be compassionate and caring. We should be teaching our daughters to be strong and independent. Maybe the flaw isn’t that we aren’t teaching our children their “roles”; it’s that we are. The fact is, there are no definitive roles anymore. Men stay at home with kids while moms work. Men help out around the house. They are more active in the child rearing. These aren’t negatives. This is the way it should be.

Our New Adventures in Impeachment

I’m not sure what I expected when I turned on the impeachment hearings to watch them. Maybe I wanted to watch because I was old enough to watch the Clinton hearings. It was an interesting thing to watch, the constitution in action. I was never someone who was particularly interested in political science, but I thought it was interesting because it was something I’d never seen before. Looking back, I still recall how the president went from ridiculously asking “what do you mean by _____ ?” to “I apologize for my actions and lying to the American people.” But I was told this was history. That when a president lies, they need to be held accountable for that lie.

When the new impeachments finally started going forward, I struggled to watch it. I still had that desire to watch the constitution work on screen, but it was different. Maybe it’s because now I understand the ridiculous political circus it all is. Back then, Clinton was guilty of having an affair with an intern and lying about it. Something that as an adult now seems irrelevant to me. Silly, even. Politicians cheat on their wives. Especially with interns that they have power over. Hell, the current president has cheated on his wife. “Well,” they say, “it isn’t about the affair; it’s about the lie.” But, couldn’t the same apply here?

At the minimum, there was a ton of lies coming from President Trump. A summary of a transcript is different from an actual transcript. I could write a summary of something; doesn’t mean it covers what it’s supposed to. When I talk to someone on the phone and my husband asks, “what was that?”, I don’t give him an exact statement of what I said. I don’t say “Was just talking about the kids with my mom and how the nursing home search was going for Gramma. Oh, I was complaining about how I never get to sleep in but you always get to and it’s annoying AF.” I say “Oh, I was talking to my mom about the kids and asking about the nursing home search for Gramma.” The summary is very different than the actual conversation. The only difference is my husband isn’t questioning me about potential treason; he’s concerned if there is something wrong with my our family.

Watching this is insane. It’s grandstanding, unless of course it’s your guy you are asking the questions to. It’s asking a question but then not liking the answer, so you scream about how they aren’t answering the question the right way. It’s a little crazy. You can’t accuse one side of being biased when you are clearly also being equally biased. You can’t complain about the Democratic lawyer being a witness on the stand when you say Schiff should be there, but not complain about the Republican lawyer being there despite that Nunes/Trump/White House Counsel should be there. You can’t have it both ways. Except you apparently can. Because everyone up there is crazy.

If you don’t have anything to hide, just show the people what they need to say “You know what, we were wrong. You didn’t do what we thought you did.” But why not just do it? Why not just come to the hearings and clear your name? I don’t understand. Innocent people have nothing to hide. Is the issue that you did the thing? Or that you did another thing that was worse and/or equally bad and it will come out? What is it? Or are you completely innocent? I’m a skeptic. I don’t think anyone is innocent here. It’s just a matter of which scapegoat goes down instead of the president.

Should the impeachment be going on? If you can impeach a president for having an affair and lying about it, you can impeach a president for potential treason. When your defense comes down to “He’s too inept to be guilty”, there’s a problem. If he’s too inept to be guilty, maybe he shouldn’t have access to the military or nuclear codes or I don’t know, be the president. If he is guilty, I think he should be punished for his crimes. I’m a big believer in justice. But this is a circus orchestrated by both sides for political gain. I think he’s absolutely guilty, but no one cares about that. They just care about the politics. Who cares about what’s right or wrong when #amgreelection”?

It doesn’t matter. Even if he is guilty and gets impeached, Senate won’t do anything about it. They don’t care. The Democrats don’t care if he’s actually guilty, they just want to take him down. I don’t care about whether or not he goes down; I’m just a big fan of the truth. I have this silly belief that if people are guilty, then they should get an appropriate punishment for their crimes. I know, I’m old-fashioned. I just wish we didn’t have this clown circus of both Democrats and Republicans running the show because this seems like I’m watching something that is made up for the Onion. I feel like they can’t stay with an intelligent thought or properly articulate themselves for longer than a few seconds before they devolve into toddler tantrums that rival any I had ever seen. America deserves so much better than this.

The Crazy Rollercoaster of an Off-Season

It has been such a crazy off-season for the Overwatch League. From teams gutting their rosters, reuniting bromances, and the retirement announcements, this has definitely been an interesting off-season to watch. Even the Uprising has made some surprising changes. It has definitely activated major hype mode for me, filling a void that needs to be occupied until Overwatch League season 3 starts.

The biggest announcement from the weekend, and a surprising one at that until you think about it one at that, was JAKE’s retirement. He was one of the primary faces of the Overwatch League, groomed to be a representative of the league to turn it mainstream. He is also one of the most easily recognizable with Rawkus, until Sinatraa and Super started making their rounds. Last year, he started taking on casting roles for the Overwatch World Cup where he turned his passion for the game into intelligent and interesting insight. He was sort of like the Tony Romo of casting: He may not have been the best player in the league, but dude knows his stuff. And that translates well into casting.

As shocking as this move may have been, it kind of wasn’t. He was doing well as a caster. With localization happening in the league, a potentially ambitious but amazing way to put eSports on a more mainstream level, there would be a need for more casters or desk analysts. I honestly applaud him for choosing to walk away rather than not give it his all. Some other players should take notes. I can’t wait to see what’s next for him. The same thing goes for the “shock” announcement of Pine’s retirement. It was sad, but not surprising. I can’t wait to catch his streams as well.

Another mention is the announcement of the Boston Uprising’s President HuK’s annoucement of another Q&A. Every time he does one, I expect a train wreck and end up pleasantly surprised. He seems to be interested in changing perception of him and offering an illusion of transparency. He has been primarily successful in that, but there’s one thing to be completely transparent in an off-season than it is to explain things during the season. Like why didn’t you make a swap in the map with a different player when things are clearly not working? Why are you sticking with a tank that has not proven consistently that he’s more than a GOATs Reinhardt one-trick? If he does a weekly Q&A during the season, I’ll consider that transparency. Until then, you know he’s just going to make an announcement. Likely the venues for the homestands. Which should be in Foxborough though they say they are picking Boston venues.

There is still some time before the season starts, giving plenty of time for more shocking turns and bets on “How long Fissure lasts this season”. I say mid-season break. Until then, we’ll see what happens.

The Case of the "Can't Evens"

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a Christmas person. I could tag all of my blogs where I talk about my hatred for the holiday, but I don’t think we have the time for that. It’s all a chore. You run around to get gifts, hide them, horribly wrap them so that people think your kids did it when you’re really just a lefty that is incapable of cutting anything properly, only to have to clean up the mess and worry about paying back the obscene amount of money that you spent on gifts. Then you worry you didn’t get enough. The only real joy is the whole 5 seconds after they open their presents before they move onto the next one. Then they give you a thank you, if you’re lucky. (Fortunately, I am.) You go through all that and then 3 months later they don’t even play with that really awesome thing that you got them, that they really wanted. It’s a thankless holiday that doesn’t even give you brownie points that last more than a week.

I know. It’s supposed to be about important things like family and blah blah blah. But the thing is, between other kids and all of those ads on televisions, you do feel like you have to meet expectations. There’s always those people that brag about how much they have under their tree and you get too embarrassed to show what’s under yours. It’s stressful. People play the holiday to put a price tag on love. My price tag isn’t much, so I guess I don’t love my family as much as those people who go thousands of dollars into debt for the holiday.

I’m not sure if it’s the holiday season, my ridiculous levels of sleeplessness, my inability to shake this whatever illness/consecutive illness, or it’s just a case of the “can’t evens”. Spending half my morning arguing with a 7 year old about how maybe his jeans would be skinny enough if he wasn’t tall and lanky like his father doesn’t help. Or that maybe had he not thrown his favorite winter hat in the trash on accident and now I can’t get rid of the smell so I had to make him wear his old Paw Patrol hat. Which apparently was a bad call, since the kids at school made fun of him for it. Which led to him not bringing it home. Which led to me having to give him a Star Wars hat, leading to the “what if they make fun of me for liking Star Wars when I don’t? I just like baby Yoda.” It was a thing, and my eyes couldn’t stop rolling back. I thought I would lose them over this case of the “can’t evens”.

What can you do about the “can’t evens”? My play is to avoid writing articles as long as possible and be lazy. Maybe even brave an attempt to nap. Maybe I’ll blare music and dance around my house. Maybe I’ll actually work on a project I want to work on or get back to knitting that blanket or finally get back to reading Liz Phair’s memoir “Horror Stories”. Because I can’t help but to link my lack of sanity to my lack of knitting lately. Maybe I need to go back to Michael’s to get that awesome yarn I used to knit my baby nephew’s blanket with so I could make a giant one for me.

It’s okay to admit that you’re struggling, especially this time of year. It’s a time when we should be giving back to those in need, not stressing about getting that toy for your child. It’s the time when you have to mentally prepare for 2 week Christmas breaks and Christmas parties where you stand around feeling awkward all the time. Christmas is rough and the only ones who don’t think so are drinking too much eggnog or oozing an annoyingly high level of Christmas cheer as if they are trying out for Elf. (No hate intended. Just sayin’.) Don’t let others tell you how you should be feeling this time of year. It’s as okay to love Christmas as it is to hate it.

Boston Uprising, Season 3

I was hoping by the time today happened, we’d get some sort of roster announcement finalizing our team for the upcoming season. Teams needed to have a minimum of 8 players signed to the roster last week. Considering we haven’t heard any punishments placed on teams for not meeting this deadline, we can assume the Uprising have met this deadline. Or they didn’t and got an extension or this just isn’t something that is going to be enforced.

In case you’re not in the loop, the Uprising again practically gut their team. All that’s left from their Season 2 roster is Axxiom, Colourhex, and Fusions. I was originally excited about the potential of blasé staying since both him and Colourhex had been under contract. Until they traded blasé to the Houston Outlaws for “cash considerations”. (They sold him off.) At the end of last season, I mentioned that they should keep blasé for his versatility. Colourhex because he clicks heads well. Axxiom because he’s a better tank in my opinion than Fusions. Fusions because even though he’s a Rein GOATs one-trick, he was good at it. He’d be a good backup. I wanted Nevix to pick up the off-tank role (spoiler: he went to Toronto), Swimmer as a main support (who we signed) and I got hopeful for maybe a Sleepy flex support. We got an amazing flex support out of Myungbong and I don’t know anything about our DPS pick up Jerry. Mouffin was signed on a two-way as a flex tank, which means that he’s probably not going to be their main. But he seems like a solid player.

Which means we need a main off-tank for the last spot. We also should be smart like other teams and fill up with a max 12 person roster, so that we have some backups to prevent burnout and such as travel starts in Season 3. There has to be a reason why Mouffin has a two-way contract. Maybe they want to try him out on the big stage before committing to him. I’m not sure. No other big off-tank names stand out as who would be a good fit for us. As for the other positions? Let’s just get some good bench players to actually sub in during matches/play when the starters are sick or otherwise unwell. (Fran to Uprising?)

As for my hopes for Season 3? I do think Swimmer is a massive upgrade to Kellex. Except now I have to buy my son a Swimmer jersey because he’s a swimmer (butterfly), he loves the Uprising as much as I do, and because Uprising blue and yellow looks very close to my son’s blue and gold colors. I liked how solid Colourhex was when he wasn’t on Zarya. I’m still not sold on Fusions and I was even less sold watching him during the World Cup. I do think they should take the off-season to move to Axxiom as the starter. It was there fault for putting all of their eggs in the Fusions basket and when GOATs died, we failed miserably.

I also hope that maybe, just maybe, this is the year that the Uprising learn the value of subbing players in and out. Some players just do better on certain characters on certain maps. We had 0 flexibility, primarily due to the fact that we never swapped players. San Francisco Shock had stacked their DPS (4 or 5 if I recall), swapping around as needed for the best results. You know what happened to them? They won the Grand Finals. People were concerned on maps when Muma didn’t play, thinking there was a problem and Muma was being traded. His response? “I’m just not good on that map”. I have maps I’m terrible on. Many players do. Forcing players to play characters they aren’t great at (Colourhex on Zarya) or on maps that they aren’t great at (Muma and said map. I believe it was King’s Row, but I can’t find the quote) is the same as throwing.

This doesn’t mean that everything is final. They can still trade up until June. But what this does mean is that I’m scared we aren’t going to play it smart and have a full 12 for our roster. I’m scared that they won’t learn their lesson and just stick stubbornly to the same 6 people throughout the entire match and just hope for the best. Fans deserve better. They deserve more transparency.

I don’t want to be a laughing stock of the league again. I want to go back to the time when we were an underdog that overcame everyone’s expectations. I want to be excited about matches again. I was so disappointed that this was one of the many reasons I didn’t buy tickets for the homestands. Plus, I didn’t like the fact I was expected to shell out a fortune to see players that I have no attachment to since they keep gutting the roster every year. I won’t even buy a named jersey for that reason. I don’t like the idea of paying money to a venue that doesn’t exist yet. I don’t want to go to watch my team flunk out because the coaching/management consistently fails the fans. I’d rather do that at home in my sweatpants without dealing with the long drive to Boston or the anxiety of being around that many people. I’m a full-fledged Boston fan and will cheer them on with as much excitement as I did last year. But I really hope the team surprises us this year. I won’t hope too much though because I’m a lifelong Boston fan that has been burned too many times by my teams.

Sticking to the Meta

Now that I have my internet back in working order (I hope) I can get back to business. I could talk about the big roster moves in the Overwatch League, but this week is “BluishOblivion Goes Gaming” week because the world is too depressing to talk about right now. When more teams actually announce their final rosters, which teams were supposed to have at least 8 players signed on November 15th, I’ll post about that later this week. Here’s to hoping for something good. (Uprising did pick up Swimmer, part of my dream pickups I predicted when Season 2 ended.)

Instead, today I talk about Meta particularly at the professional level. Meta, for those not in the know, is the most effective group of players currently in the game. We had the dive meta, which was fun. GOATs, which arguably wasn’t. As a tank main in Overwatch, GOATs didn’t bother me too much. This new double shield meta, Orisa/Sigma, is interesting enough. But I argue, it isn’t the meta that’s the problem.

Professional players at the OWL level are expected to be the best of the best. Which to me means that they don’t have to bow down to a meta. Look at what happened when teams played to their strengths rather than just went with the meta because they were supposed to. Houston started to thrive. Chengdu never did things the normal way and didn’t do too poorly. Then look at the teams who struggled with GOATs but still tried it anyways. (I’m looking at you Uprising.) Being so stubborn to go against the grain cost more teams than it should have.

With the new PTR, it seems they haven’t pinpointed exactly what the meta is going to be. And I think that’s great. Maybe this means there were enough changes to give more flexibility to teams. Maybe this means I can venture back into competitive because I won’t get flamed for picking D.Va. Who knows? But, what I do know is that I expect exciting from these top tier players. I expect them to pull out a Symmetra on some maps even though it’s not meta. I love watching the unexpected Torb picks. It adds variety to watching the matches. Best of all, it gives us hope as casuals that we don’t have to pick Sigma just because we’re an off-tank.

I can’t wait to see what the PTR brings to the competitive scene. With Season 3 of Overwatch League coming out in about 80-something days, the PTR needs to get released soon to make sure that any balance changes that need to happen take place before we get mid-season and everyone gets confused. But.. let’s bring D.Va back. Signed, D.Va mains everywhere.