Overwatch League- The Games and the Drama

This is going to be a very brief recap of the games, with a closer look at some of the drama that unfolded over the weekend of matches for this league. All in all, there was nothing that was really shocking in the matches. Well, except I expected the Spitfire to destroy the Gladiators and that went a completely different way. They played hard though, as did my Uprising who won 1 and lost 1 this week.

The real talk of the league right now is the suspensions and drama that unfolded over the week. The Overwatch League handed down punishments for 3 players and a coach. The coach, Houston Outlaw’s TaiRong, was issued a warning because of a “racially insensitive” meme that he tweeted out. There was no fine as he owned up to his mistake pretty quickly on his own and donated $1000 to the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation. Dallas Fuel’s Taimou was fined $1000 for using “anti-gay” slurs on his personal Twitch stream. Silkthread also received a $1000 fine, for the less scandalous but just as against the Blizzard’s end user agreement account sharing.

Then there is xQc, who faced his second round of fines and suspensions. His fine was $4,000 and he was suspended for 4 games for a variety of different issues, including “repeated use of disparaging language” and using a “racially insensitive emote”. This was his second suspension, which takes him out of play for the remainder of Stage 2. You will remember he was also out for most of Stage 1 for his conduct. He was later released by the Dallas Fuel, which makes sense because why have a guy taking up a roster slot when he spends more time suspended than he does playing for them.

His fans are outraged, complaining that he seems excessively punished and that people are out to get him. How about you tone down a persona that can be a bit extreme so that the league wouldn’t need to punish you? Accountability can go a long way, if you let it. It doesn’t matter if he’s “really a pretty cool dude”. It matters how he presents himself, especially as he chooses to be in the public eye. With age comes wisdom, I suppose, and he’s still young enough to get away with it.

This has been a theme for Blizzard especially since Overwatch came out. They want everyone to be able to enjoy their games. As someone who has been bullied a lot in games, to a point where I refuse to chat with strangers and avoid voice chat as much as possible, I welcome this attempt to develop a kinder community. Especially with the entire world seemingly going down in toxic flames around us. I like the fact that they are suspending the very people that are supposed to be upholding these principles that Kaplan and his team hold dear. As a person who doesn’t really come across this negativity as much anymore and who knows that I can count on a system put in place to protect players, I thank the Blizzard team for sticking to their ideals. This makes me feel better about my choice for being a huge fan of this company, their convention, and their games.


The Overwatch League Opening Week-Stage 1

On January 10th, Stage 1 of the Overwatch regular season kicked off. Since the Overwatch League was announced, eSports fans were excited that there was a “major league” for a game. This could potentially lead to the popularity of eSports on a more mainstream level. (Maybe ESPN eSports? I would love not having to fight with streaming the matches on my TV.) There has been a lot of hype surrounding this league, especially since big names like the Kraft family got involved with their own pro team. (Go Uprising!) I will try not to be too crazy about them in these posts, but I am genuinely excited to have my own “home” team especially since it is run by the owners of my favorite sports team.

After spending the weekend watching the matches, there are some very clear points to make. First of all, if the NFL could find more casters like these guys it would be a lot less annoying. (More Romo please.) They are knowledgeable and passionate about the game, but they also seem to get as excited as viewers do watching the matches. I don’t dread the commentary at all, which is something that I think can make or break a sport.

The next point is the players. There are a few that I watch Twitch streams of when I head to bed, such as Jake, Linkzr, XqC, and Agilities that are just great to watch. Pine, though I didn’t see as much of him as I thought I would, utterly destroyed as McCree. I mean, he obliterated on Ilios so much to the point where it was almost unfair to have him in the matchup against my Uprising. Shaz on Zenyatta also seemed unbeatable. These are two players that are really artists. I also really liked DreamKazper’s performance but I was really hoping to see more of Mistakes. So far though, I can say that it is going to be an amazing journey to watch all of these players evolve over the inaugural season.

Then there is approaching this as a player. I find that since watching the matches, my skills as a player have become a lot better. I have yet to snipe a Valk Mercy out of the air while jumping around as Widow, but I did headshot a Widow who was trying to snipe me back. I won that Widow-War. This is a sport that I think anyone can get into and it would be interesting to see how this league grows if its popularity does.

I hope that this League explodes into the mainstream. Esports is still viewed as something “just for the geeks” but this can be just as thrilling as a “real sport”, though I would argue that it is a lot more thrilling that most of the sports people watch on television. I’m looking at you, baseball. If the first  weekend of matches are any indication of how this year is going to go, I’m excited to be on this ride.