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.

As It Turns Out, You Can Go Home to Goldshire Again

After being down and out from a bad cold for the last few weeks, I am officially back and ready to take on my Monday’s gaming blog. Previously, I discussed the idea of WoW Classic, and wondered if you really could go home again. Even after playing a little of the beta and demo, I was impressed but skeptical. There was something special about the original game that drew me in. I’m not normally some social butterfly that makes friends easily. But in this game, I was making friends and getting help to achieve goals in the game. It was amazing and no wonder so many people flocked to this game.

After each expansion, you lost more and more of what made it special. The story was still great, keeping you around until you finished that part of the story. Then you left and never looked back until something new happened. While I always found something to do, there was just mindless grinding all by yourself. You didn’t need anyone else. You could just hop on LFG or LFR to get whatever group you wanted. It did become easier. You have more flexibility in playstyle. It’s no longer “well I have to be a human priest that heals because of the human spirit trait”. It’s now “what character looks the coolest?” Which adds its own interesting element, but it’s not the same as the spirit of the game that attracted so many of us to begin with.

I wasn’t able to play as much as I wanted to at Classic’s release, as I was too sick to really function as a normal human being. But from what I played, I remembered everything all over again. I chose my current and original main: a human priest. It started off fine until I remembered that I’m a human healing priest and Westfall sucks. After a warrior friend hard carried me through some quests, I went to the significantly easier Darkshore to quest. Things started to speed up there, and I died a lot less questing by myself. I haven’t been in any instances yet, but from what I can tell they are just as long and difficult as they were.

It was lonely by yourself and once I joined a guild, I remembered everything all over again. People helped each other. They ran instances together, gave items to help others succeed. People ran by and gave you buffs as they passed. People formed groups to complete quests together. It was just like the original game. I felt at home again. I spent so much time worried that I’d remember Vanilla wasn’t great or that going back wouldn’t be as satisfying. But it was satisfying. It was everything I wanted out of this game. It was like I remembered. I put on a playlist, and just fully immersed myself in a game. It took me away from here. It took me to a community, where people helped each other and were kind to each other. It brought me to a place where I felt the world should be: a community where people work together to accomplish a goal to make the world a better place. The goal is to get rid of the baddies from Azeroth so the residents can be safer.

You can go home again in the World of Warcraft Classic. They managed to successfully recapture the essence of the game that meant so much to its players. When things were going wrong or stressful in life, you can count on your pixels to make you feel better. When you felt alone, you know that you can have your guildies or WoW friends there to talk to you about random things when no one else will. This is the game that we love and I would love to thank the Blizzard team for giving this back to us.

Overwatch League: Season 2 Nears Its End

With the upcoming Rivalry weekend comes the end of the regular season for the Overwatch League. There have been various ups and downs this season that the league can learn from. For instance, Comms Check makes my day every time that I hear it. I enjoy watching the players have fun and it’s great to show off their very colorful personalities. The new pre-show/post-show Watchpoint moments are also great. The desk is great, though I do miss Reinforce playing a bigger role as an analyst. The new All-Star set up was also great, as was the longer breaks for the players. I felt these were things that made the league better for the players. The Homestands were fantastic, showing what energy was capable when the teams moved to their home cities for matches.

The Boston Uprising has 2 matches this upcoming weekend and I really hope that they pull off a win in one of those matches. This stage was supposed to be great for us, with our star DPS set up. What was the Uprising’s issue this stage? As much as I think Fusions is a solid guy who is talented and passionate, I still feel like he’s a GOATs Rein one-trick. His Orisa is slowly getting better but it’s not great. I feel like next year if Sigma is a good pick, you should keep him to off-tank as Sigma and give Axxiom the main tank role. The fact that they haven’t even put him in with the season over already anyways is annoying. The fact that they aren’t playing Aimgod is annoying. The reason this stage was tanked is solely on the backs of the management who are making these calls with 0 transparency at all and expecting fans to just accept it. The times of “In Huk we trust” are long gone. As Patriots fan, we still live by “In Bill We Trust” because even when he trades someone off or doesn’t play someone we think he should, it works out. It doesn’t work out for Huk. He is no Bill, no matter how hard he tries to run his team like he is.

I don’t blame blasé for the issues. He’s doing the best he can as a DPS being forced into an off-tank role, for whatever reason he’s playing. (The general consensus is that this is because rCk has an eye injury, but again, 0 transparency so who knows.) I think Colourhex (I know I hated him as Zarya, but that Widow tho) and Stellar are great and I hope that we keep these 3 DPS stars. I think we rebuild the team around them. Presumably they are selling off Aimgod as soon as they get the chance, but I also think that Fusions and rCk are going too. Persia may be good if he gets some better coaching, but I’d rather just get a solid player instead. Kellex, I could give or take him. He’s the only remaining player left from the original roster and he does show some technical skill.

So next year, I say our roster should consist of blasé, Colourhex, Stellar, Axxiom. Maybe pick up Nevix or Geguri as the off-tank. Then, maybe move Swimmer up from the Uprising Academy and Sleepy for your support duo? I’m picking players that may not be the best only on the grounds that the Uprising won’t pay top dollar for the big stars, so I’m sticking with players that I feel are “budget players”. Of course, this is assuming that they don’t just release everyone like they did last year and pick up players we probably never heard of.

Maybe the Uprising will surprise us and actually try something new for Rivalry weekend, which could give us a win. I just don’t want to go 0-7 this stage, or any stage really. But, we’ll see what happens.

Overwatch League: Season 2, Stage 4, Week 3: Will Boston Go Winless?

This week was a little less crazy than last week, with matches going mostly as expected. I won’t focus too much on that. As an avid Boston Uprising fan, I’m going to focus on that. Because, ffs. Wtf. Srsly. Those are the best ways to explain what is going on right now.

First of all, the only good news out of the match: At least we did better than the Titans did against them. And… well, blasé is actually good at Roadhog. Not the best D.Va, but neither is rCk so we didn’t lose too much there. blasé has proven to be such a versatile and valuable player to our team that can fill any role. Maybe next, he’ll take the role of Persia since apparently we’ll never see Aimgod again. Of course, we all know what this means: Boston will sell blasé after the season is over because they always sell off their good players.

When LiNkzr was playing instead of Jake on roles that Jake excels at and LiNkzr, well, not that great at, the people did what they normally do: why did you make that call? Now, when we ask why Aimgod isn’t playing, we get nothing but radio silence. Not even some BS excuse. Nothing. The organization doesn’t respect their fans enough to give us any answers. At least lie and say he’s not feeling well or injured. But the Outlaws? They gave an answer to their fans. Something is going on internally and that decision was made as a result. The Outlaws respect their fans enough to give them some answer. It may have been vague, but it was something. As an Uprising fan, we deserve something even something vague. That shows you that they don’t value their fans.

Why didn’t rCk play against the Justice? It could be because his Roadhog wasn’t great. When fans saw blasé in the tank role, most knew that he’d been practicing Hog/Orisa with Fusions, so it made sense. But Persia over Aimgod? There is still no way that makes sense. Even if he has been outperforming Aimgod in scrims, something is happening on stage to make everything fall apart. This would be like sitting Tom Brady without giving any reason at all. Let’s tank a season without giving any answers while a star player is sitting the bench. Is it because of an internal issue and you don’t want to talk about it because it will ruin the trade value? Maybe the problem is with the organization, not the player? You would think if you wanted to increase his trade value that you would play him to get more value for him. The tank line isn’t working. The support line isn’t working. And the team management/coaching decides not to even try anything new, like maybe Axxiom over Fusions. But, we’ll put a DPS player as an off-tank. I don’t get it.

I’m a Boston sports fan. These are my home teams. I was raised to support them when they fail, because we’ve seen a lot of fail in our time as Boston fans growing up. But it’s really hard to support a team that doesn’t value their fans as they should Will I support them still? Unfortunately, yes. Because they are the hometown team. But it’s getting really hard when the fans seem to care more than the organization does.

You Guys Had it All Wrong… It Was the Video Games!

It was only a matter of time before the conversation came back to the favorite scapegoat: video games. Of course it isn’t the fact that these psychotic people shouldn’t have been able to legally purchase those guns to begin with. That isn’t the problem. The problem isn’t the fact that society has become more emboldened again to show off their racist and hatred-filled rhetoric to those youth that are vulnerable to those things. No, it’s the fact that a kid likes to play Fortnite or Overwatch that’s the problem.

For the people who are all about “guns don’t cause violence, people do” to turn around to go “guns don’t cause violence, but people do because they play video games” is a ridiculous argument. Look at the eSports community across the globe. Last I checked, Korea and Japan don’t have a mass shooting problem in their countries and those are probably the biggest countries for gaming. But please, tell me how I’m a terrible person because I enjoy games that may or may not be considered “violent” and allow my kids to play video games. Spoiler: I allow them to play video games because video games don’t cause violence. People cause violence, if you want to use that same line to protect your precious guns. I will fight for my right to play harmless video games more than I will fight for yours to have a gun that can shoot off 100 rounds too many per minute.

There have been the same amount of legit studies that show that vaccines are harmful as there are legit studies to show that video games cause violence. Spoiler #2: There are none. But science doesn’t matter when you want a scapegoat that doesn’t make you lose millions in lobbying money from the NRA. If video games had lobbyists that spent as much as the NRA does, this wouldn’t even be a conversation right now. But politicians don’t care about people; they care about money.

I’m not sure if they don’t care to find a solution, because as long as they are making millions it doesn’t matter if people they don’t know are getting shot and killed at these mass shootings. There has to be a solution, but politicians are too dumb, lazy, and greedy to figure it out. Maybe if there was more God in the culture they say. What they mean to say “If there was more Christian God in the culture”. Sure, you can vote new people in, but people can be easily bought to trade in their morals and integrity. They can make big promises but they won’t deliver. Our kids will continue dying. One day it will be someone in our family, maybe yours. Maybe even some day a politician’s family will be affected by these tragedies. Will it matter then?

The fact is that there is a solution, somewhere, that’s a compromise. Asking for stricter background checks before you let people buy guns that shoot multiple rounds at once is reasonable. Making laws that have people convicted of violent crimes or have proven to be a danger to others have their legal guns taking away is a reasonable answer. There are reasonable solutions that don’t interfere with your right to have guns and for other people to have the right to live. But it won’t happen, because no one wants to come to the middle since this whole damn country is a divided place where people hate just because. Where they won’t open their minds to hear another side. Where if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, you’re automatically enemies. I used to think we were better than this. I try to teach my kids that we are better than this. I’m really starting to doubt if we are as we slide further down this path of disregard for other people. And that isn’t the fault of guns or video games or a lack of God. It’s our fault.

Overwatch League: Season 2, Stage 4: Week 2, also Known as “What Just Happened?”

As it turns out, the 2-2-2 lock brought more surprises than anyone thought it would. One question that was waiting to be answered was how the Vancouver Titans, a team known for their GOATS despite their powerful DPS line, would fare outside of the GOATs meta. There were a lot of exciting events this week, so let’s get into it.

The London Spitfire was a strong team that did struggle a bit with the 3-3/GOATs meta. They found just enough success to stay in the playoff running, but they were expected to really take off when the 2-2-2 lock happened with their solid DPS duo in Birdring and Profit. Sure enough, they had a solid start to the stage. So when it was suggested that a strong looking, but still in last place Florida Mayhem could give them some trouble, the analysts laughed. Until it happened. While London did tie on one map, Mayhem still walked away with the win against London in a 3-0 match. Was the Spitfire just outplayed by Sayaplayer? Yes. This insane DPS player poppped off hard, taking out the Spitfire players easily. It shows that even though they are out of it, the Mayhem is still going to play hard until the end.

And what about the Spitfire? Did they just not prepare as hard because they underestimated the team? Did they just not play at 100% thinking they could get away with it? Or, is London just not as good as we think? I think they may not have given the match their full attention, but they also severely underestimated the skills of Sayaplayer, who is a versatile and deadly character that you can’t ignore.

The Washington Justice, also known as the second worst team in the league who’s also long out of the playoff running, went against the Vancouver Titans, who has been a solid team from the beginning and only lost 1 game during the season. It was a no brainer that the Titans would beat Washington Justice… well… until they didn’t. In fact, they lost in their first 4-0 match. They didn’t just lose… they got rolled hard. At least the other losses had the other team put up a fight. There was no fight to be had here. As someone who likes to see top teams lose, I was delighted by this. Corey was unstoppable and Stratus was just as solid. This is an amazing DPS duo that doesn’t get the attention that they deserve, but they certainly will now.

You’d think that would be the end of surprises, but then there was the NYXL vs. Chengdu Hunters. The Hunters… 4-0’ed NYXL. NYXL was expected to have an amazing stage with 2-2-2 but they keep falling short of expectations. Their DPS lineup just isn’t working for them and I think everyone is wondering why they aren’t putting Pine in. That’s the one thing they haven’t tried yet to dominate teams. Are they saving him for the playoffs? Are they trying to trade him? I’m not going to lie, I would be happy to see the Uprising pick him up.

Why are these solid teams struggling? You could use the excuse that they are sandbagging or that they just aren’t trying because they assumed they’d win anyways. But maybe there’s something more? The teams that are doing better seem to have mastered what is now likely going to be called the “Mei” meta. A great Mei, particularly with a great Hanzo or Reaper, can make or break these teams. I think that as long as Mei is meta, teams are going to suffer. We may have thought that the 2-2-2 lock was going to mean that dive was back, but we quickly see that this isn’t necessarily the case.

The rest of the stage is looking to be an exciting one and I hope that there are plenty more upsets to come. I’d like to see a team like the Justice or Mayhem go 7-0 this stage, because I want these underdog teams to show that they aren’t the jokes everyone made them out to be. Only a few more weeks until the stage playoffs and the Grand Finals stage, so these teams better shape up if they want to make the cut offs.

Overwatch League: The Final Stage of the Season Begins and a Watch Party

Stage 4 and the 2-2-2 lock has officially begun and honestly, there were some surprises but mostly things have gone as people thought. A big surprise was that the analysts thought that the Boston Uprising would start destroying this stage, since their DPS duo had such great potential. I guess that’s what happens when analysts finally believe in the Uprising. Here is a brief summary of what happened with this massive change to the league this week, and my more in-depth Boston Uprising discussion.

The fact that Houston lost to Paris was a little shocking to me, but they took a win home against the Gladiators to go 1-1 this week. NYXL struggled this week and Shanghai is still on a tear, especially since pulling out what is now known as “Roadfrog” with Geguri making a solid tank line with her Roadhog and Gamsu’s Orisa. Honestly, she was spectacular and it was great to see her back on the stage. It was also great to see Fragi and Bischu make their first appearances on the stage this season. All that’s left really is to see Pine freed from GOATs jail and all will be right again. Most of the other games went pretty much exactly how you thought they would, such as Titans showing that they aren’t GOATs one-tricks and it paid off for Shock to stack their team with star DPS players.

Boston Uprising Watch Party in Foxborough

Normally they do the watch parties in Boston, so to have one that was easier to get to in Foxborough was really exciting. Naturally, we had to attend. We left earlier in the morning to ensure that even with Cape Cod traffic, we would make the event in time. I’m glad we did. We ended up with a great parking spot, got to enjoy walking around the facility without the mass amounts of people that were there during my first trip to Patriot Place. (Apparently there was an Irish festival going on.) We ventured to the ProShop, happy to see that they had a lot more Uprising gear there. Then after some waiting, we went to the place where the watch party was being held.

The restaurant was pretty big, but honestly the fact that they had such a small section for the watch party setup was a little disappointing. The fact that all of the chairs were a foot off the ground was also a little annoying. (Plus the food was meh at best.) Still, they had giveaways and free Uprising stuff so that made up for some of the annoyance. To my surprise, every other television in the bar was switched to Overwatch League. This was good considering that about 80% of the people in there were there for the Uprising match. There were some “oohs” and “aws” during the Valiant match, but the real excitement came when the Uprising were on.

Until.. there was nothing to cheer about. The match was a quick 4-0 domination by the Charge. It was awful. As a fan, it was painful. There have been some bad losses, but this felt different. This was the first time that I was actually really salty over the game. Primarily because I think that my points have been proven about this team. Obviously I have no insider information or even know how their scrims go, but they did so poorly that you have to wonder if they even scrimmed during the break. Fusions is only good at GOATs Rein. I said that he was a “GOATs Rein One-Trick” so many times that I feel like a broken record pointing that out again. The one reason we picked up rCk was his versatility to switch between a mediocre D.Va and a decent Sombra. We gave away NotE because he could only really D.Va and Roadhog. Well.. now we’re in a 2-2-2 lock so we can’t use rCk for his versatility. But NotE… now NotE gets to shine on D.Va and Roadhog. On another team. The tank line is definitely one of the weakest links so far in this stage. They have no synergy and they just can’t seem to get the job done. On one map it almost looked like Ameng got his Hammod alt 3 times before Fusions even got one. That shouldn’t happen. But it’s been a consistent problem for him… since he’s a GOATs Rein one-trick.

The DPS line did well enough. Colourhex seems much more comfortable now than when he played Zarya. There were some shots that I found myself screaming “You need to make those”, but overall he had a solid performance. People were mocking blasé but honestly I felt like he was doing the things that he was supposed to be doing. That’s always been the problem with blasé. He does what he’s supposed to do, maybe without Colourhex’s flash, but he gets the job done. I don’t think the DPS was the problem.

Then.. there is the support line. Kellex has been doing well, and I admit I have been very critical of him since the beginning. But he has shown to be a versatile support that makes the big plays when he needs to. But then there’s Persia. Admittedly, he did better this weekend than he has in the past. But even in this “better” state, he’s still not even close (in my opinion) to Aimgod. You can count on Aimgod to also make those big plays… and to survive most fights. Sure, Persia made some good sleeps and his Moira was fantastic. But I didn’t see a lot of purple enemy players when he played Ana. I saw Colourhex ask for heals to not get any from Persia as he was standing next to him. I saw his problems with positioning and staying alive. Persia may be doing better in scrims but that has not translated to him playing better on stage.

Saturday was a disaster, but at least Sunday wasn’t as awful. It’s still disheartening to see as an Uprising fan. This is supposed to be a meta where we were going to shine. Instead, management seems to want to throw the matches rather than win. Why isn’t Aimgod playing? Why hasn’t Axxiom scrimmed or been given a chance? You’ve given Persia plenty of chances on stage, but not Axxiom. Axxiom is supposed to be an amazing and versatile tank who probably only didn’t start because Fusions’ GOATs Rein was better. But we’re not in GOATs anymore. I hope during this bye-week that Uprising figures it out, because it’s one thing to lose because we’re being outplayed. It’s another thing to lose because you’re too stubborn to stick with what works or try something completely new. I think the fans deserve better from the management, or at least some answers.