Every Ana is Now Bastet… and Other Things Overwatch

The Bastet Challenge was released and completed by most people already. Which means every Ana is now a Bastet Ana. Makes sense, considering this is (in my opinion) the only cool Ana skin in Overwatch. The short story itself was very well done, even if people are complaining about the fact that Soldier was announced as being a proud member of the LGBT community. I love the fact that this game represents the diversity that exists in the world. Go Overwatch! Plus, this was a backstory I felt like we needed. There is such rich lore in Overwatch that I would start reading novels or watching an Overwatch show. Or movie.

Before getting into the big news in Overwatch, a sincere congrats to Fusion Academy for yet another championship in Contenders. The games were thrilling to watch, and even more hilarious to listen to Bren’s play by play of it. You made me question some of your comps, but I can’t argue with results. Here’s to more Symm in OWL?

The first thing that should be discussed is the XL2 academy team deciding to get rid of their roster in favor of “Hometown Ladder Players”. Players like Mangachu were pushed aside in this move. Something I’m partial happy about, as a fan of the Uprising who desperately needs another flex DPS to join our team. Was this move a way to make them appear to be more of a “local team” to represent NY? Or was it a budget thing that just made them look good for PR? Though, honestly, it seem to do more to hurt their PR, not help it. Everyone is making fun of this move, rightfully so. It really seems like a silly play without a lot of reward to it. It makes them seem like they don’t care about the Path to Pro or even acquiring their academy players. With SBB and Pine, it’s easy to see why they just want to keep the solid players that they have.

The next topic of discussion is the PTR changes in Overwatch. The D.Va matrix nerf may be a nerf, but it just means that you have to get better at using it. You can no longer just hit it whenever you want. It’ll be an adjustment but it’s hard to say definitively if this is a nerf yet. I say this as a D.Va main. The Brigitte nerf seems like it would be more effective at slowing her down, something that she desperately needed. Especially if you went against 2 Brigs in Mystery heroes. Or more. It’s scary. The real talk of the town is the Reaper changes, something edgelords felt like needed to happen for a long time. They gave him a boost that may have been way more powerful than it should have been. Will they tweak it? Probably not. But all of these changes do have interesting implications as we head up to the next season of Overwatch League. Will we see more Reaper and less GOATS? I guess we’ll see.

Advertisements

Overwatch Discussion: Hero Bans, “Ellie”, and More

The holidays are over, which means I’m back to the Monday gaming posts. For today, it seemed most fitting to discuss some of the latest topics in Overwatch right now. I won’t talk about GOATS. Not really, though it may come up naturally in the conversation about Hero Bans. But GOATS is a tired subject and the only GOAT I want to talk about is Brady before he fades away into retirement somewhere. So, let’s get into this.

The first topic is all about Hero Bans for Overwatch League Season 2. The supporters of this feel as though it can offer more diversity in games, making them more interesting for both players and viewers. People against them worry that bans like no Rein or D.Va will be put into place all the time, which can hurt teams. Where do I stand on it? I’m honestly indifferent to it. There has always been a meta in place. There have always been players who play whatever they want without caring about any meta. Hero Bans will only prevent certain GOATS comps, not get rid of this meta. Metas come and go. Who knows what will happen after the next balance patch? Only Jeff knows. Well, I mean I guess his entire development team knows too… but, you know. Hero Bans could be fun during All-Star Weekend, but otherwise I’m not entirely sure the league should worry about doing this just yet.

Then, there is the whole “Ellie” thing. In case you haven’t heard, Second Wind attracted a lot of attention for signing an relatively unknown female player known as “Ellie”. Seemingly as quickly as she was announced, she resigned due to “toxicity” among players. This lead to an uproar about women in games, a topic I have discussed a few times on here including my own quitting comp due to harassment over being a girl. Rumors started popping up about whether or not this was a real girl, as some things seemed odd about her. (Things such as delayed coms in chat, avoiding public attention…etc.) It turns out she wasn’t who Second Wind thought she was, allegedly a “social experiment” by another unknown player Punisher.

What was this social experiment? No one knows. But what this really does is make things look even worse for girls in gaming, not help us. There are those who think that girl gamers are loving playing the victim, that we are making excuses for our bad play. It’s real; and it sucks. All this does is make it a topic of conversation again for people to ignore and mock. It’s an awful situation to watch unfold and I doubt we’ll ever get any real answers about what went down here.

We are over a month out of Overwatch League Season 2, so let’s start looking forward to this. What are you most looking forward to? Do you think hero bans should exist in OWL? Which team has your support? Here, I’m all about Boston Uprising, with my side support of London Spitfire. (Seriously, Fury is just too amazing.)

What Blizzard Does Right

When scouring the deep dark places of the internet, otherwise known as reddit (yes, I have finally grown an appreciation for this god-awful app. I like memes.), I was trying to figure out what to write about for today’s gaming article. To be fair, my reddit reading is typically limited to the r/90DayFiance, r/BostonUprising, r/wow and r/CompetitiveOverwatch subreddits though I do find myself on various other ones like r/nottheonion, r/ThisIsUs, and r/GilmoreGirls. Don’t judge. I have a variety of tastes.

Back to the original point. I read through r/CompetitveOverwatch and I considered writing another congratulations to Monte and Susie Kim while berating the culture for how she thought she couldn’t be openly happy with the public because they’d dismiss her many talents and accomplishments. Because women can’t do anything without men. But there was enough of that and they should just be allowed to be happy in private or in public. That wasn’t blog worthy for my needs. I considered talking about the new team reveals, but people seemed to have forgotten that Washington DC and Vancouver even had teams so that didn’t seem too important.

Then I traveled to the r/wow and finally something interested me enough to write about it. A debate about the state of Blizzard. How they just take something that was already there and made it better. That they weren’t innovators, they were “make-betterers”. That’s a valid point. They didn’t do anything that was absolutely original or new. They just did it better. To dismiss that is the same as simply dismissing any of Apple’s products because they aren’t innovative. They aren’t. Though the difference is that Apple products just aren’t better than the other options available. Blizzard is, at this point. Name an MMORPG that is better than WoW. Overwatch is becoming a top eSports game and is considered to be one of the top FPS games. So what if they are remastering Warcraft III? That’s something the fans wanted. Who cares if they are redoing Vanilla WoW? The fans have been begging for it. They could have charged for the game, and people probably still would have bought it. But they didn’t charge us despite the fact this could have been a decent cash cow for them.

Because at the end of the day, that’s what Blizzard does right. They value their fans. The issue is that people expect them to please everyone, and that’s not realistic at all. But they try their best to make the majority of their fans happy. Blizzcon is a testament to this. So many fans couldn’t afford the trip or get tickets in time, so they gave us a digital ticket that does just enough to make us still feel like part of this massive community of fans. Chris Metzen and Mike Morhaime proved their appreciation for fans every time that they walked on stage at Blizzcon or walked around the floor where they happily listened to their fans. Mike always gave the best and teary-eyed speeches as he opened up Blizzcon, something that will be missed. (Please don’t ever stop). I never once questioned whether or not they valued their fans, which is why I’m absolutely a Blizzard fangirl. That’s what they did right. That’s what they continue to do right.

The OWL Roster Announcements are Slowly Coming In

Fans have been anxiously waiting for their teams to announce the finishing touches on their rosters for the upcoming season, which doesn’t start soon enough in my book. Like most fans, I want to know what my team is going to look like in S2. I want to watch the streams of new players to see if they are the missing link that would have gotten us further in the playoffs. The early estimates once again put Boston Uprising in the lower seeds of the rankings, but again I think they are going to be severely underrated. However, I’m just going on my ride or die relationship with my Boston teams. So let’s look at what we do know.

In a surprising but not-so surprising move, SoOn is no longer with the LA Valiant. The rumor has been floating around for a long time that he’s going to end up on the Paris OWL roster, though that hasn’t happened yet. He may be a little on the streaky side, but when the guy is on fire he can be very deadly. We know that Shanghai Dragons are in the process of completely gutting out and redoing their team. The Dragons went in as fan favorites and surprisingly despite not winning one game, still had the hearts of fans. I look forward to seeing the changes. The Spitfire sent Closer to Dallas, a solid support that Dallas could certainly use. Though, I would have loved to have him on Boston.

Speaking of Boston, much like other teams they have been very tight lipped about the moves. They slowly trickle out information, but this has primarily been coaching staff changes. As of now, our only official roster is NotE, Gamsu, Striker, Kellex, Neko, and AimGod. There are rumors of Neko being the next to go, which doesn’t make me happy. It’s one of those “In HuK We Trust” statements that we grit our teeth saying as we do when we say “In Belichick We Trust” when the Patriots make a roster move that we find stupid. Neko is a solid performer and a fantastic Zenyatta to watch. On Ana, he had one of the highest sleep numbers in the league. In fact, I want to say that I remember he had the most sleeps but I can’t say that for certain and I can’t seem to find that statistic. Losing him could be a very big mistake. (Sorry, poor choice of words but it was really the best one there.)

Then there are rumors of shopping Striker around to other teams. Striker! That cute, lovable, and sensitive kid. When he cried, it almost made me cry. He played his heart out every time that he went out there. He had fun. He upset Pine in the Widow vs. Widow battle but lost to Carpe, which also would have been a respectable loss. The idea of losing Striker is more ridiculous to me than getting rid of Neko. I would even argue that it would be just as stupid to lose NotE and Gamsu, who both have become the face of our team. The rumored pick-ups are just rumors, but Colourhex is an addition to the team that I’m pretty excited about. Asking can be a great pickup too. But the core of NotE, Striker, and Gamsu should be held together. I don’t want to see Neko gone, but AimGod is a decent player with arguably better stats. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Until then, I’ll be frantically checking the Competitive Overwatch subreddit to stalk my team. I don’t want to be surprised. I want to see the shocking changes that Kraft teams are known for at this point before they hit me.

Dark Irons, New Torb, and other Interesting Blizzard Gaming Topics

Even though I already have the coolest, the bluest, costume for Sombra in Overwatch, there is something even cooler about the Demon Hunter skin. It almost makes me want to willingly play Sombra to learn how to not suck at her. (Because really, not sucking at her would really be my best case scenario here). I should learn to play a DPS hero that isn’t a mediocre Junkrat style or easymode Soldier style, but I just can’t. I do much more DPS as D.va and I find it far more fun. All this rant is totally not the point.

Easily one of the biggest bits of information from Overwatch this week are the Bride of Junkenstein and the Torb changes. I’m not sure what Bride of Junkenstein is going to be but I have a feeling I’m going to love it. I think I live off of the Junekstein event when it goes live and I think between me and my boys, we could pretty much dominate. I do hope for some really cool new skins. Ana, Winston, and Moira are desperately hurting in the “Cool Skin” category, so I would love to see something that doesn’t suck for them. The Torb changes seem to drastically change who he is as a character, despite the fact that they didn’t want to fundamentally change who he was as a character. I’ll be streaming a bit from the PTR before I get into WoW stream today, especially since I want to see the Orisa changes as a partial Orisa main. Torb, as you probably know by now, can now shoot lava out during his Molten Core. According to Reddit, you can even get more out of it if you shoot it up in the air first but I have a feeling that this is going to be fixed soon.

In the Overwatch League, Danteh has unsurprising joined the Outlaws. They needed a strong Tracer/Sombra/Genji and he certainly fills that role. That lets Jakerat go back to what he’s good at and makes it so they have a better shot in Season 2. Ark, one of the most personable supports in the entire league, was rumored to be looking for a new home. If he is, I would strongly suggest heading to Boston. That would be awesome, as a huge Boston fan. There still hasn’t been too many announcements about the final rosters for teams yet, but I predict we are going to be slammed with all the exciting news soon enough.

Lastly, Dark Irons. Sometimes in WoW, you get a new race and you’re super excited about it only to be let down. The Highmountain Tauren: nope. Nightborne: a little disappointing so far, but I’m only level 30ish (coming from someone who has wanted to play  one since the Suramar quests opened up for me). Void Elf: Love. Lightforged: Kinda love. The Dark Irons, I wasn’t so sold on. Mostly because I never played a Dwarf race because I never wanted to. The voices are annoying.. and I want characters that look cool. They definitely don’t look cool. But then I found out that Dark Irons had a Mole Machine. A MOLE MACHINE! Yeah, that needed to happen. No regrets, I hit 60 over the weekend and today on stream, I will bore everyone by searching for all of the mole machines I can. They are fun. They are cool looking. And their home is in a freaking volcano. With elemental changes coming in the next patch, I may not even totally hate playing it. I highly recommend them to anyone who wants a cool new option.

This was just my brief overview of interesting topics from this past week in gaming. Don’t forget to check out my stream and my YouTube channel for past streams. Links are on the side.

The Overwatch League: All-Star Weekend Edition

As much as I loved Overwatch, when they announced plans to do a professional league that they hoped would be as big as the NFL I was skeptical that they could accomplish that. Still, I was going to watch because I loved the game. I loved reading about Fury, a D.Va I really tried to learn from who ended up on the Spitfire. (Which is why, for those who complain about my having both Spitfire and Uprising gear, I support them whenever they are not playing the Uprising.) I was even more excited when Kraft decided to purchase a team in this new league, allowing my love of the Patriots to merge with my love of Overwatch. And NotE just might have taken over as my favorite D.Va. And Striker makes me want to hug him every time he cries. My mom instincts just kick in, I can’t help it. Avast is the meme king. These are a fantastic group of guys and I really hope to see them all back next season.

The year was an amazing ride and I loved being a part of it every second. I also loved being able to write about it and have people enjoy the posts. I’m sad I have no more OWL to post about for the next few months, but at least I can still enjoy my mediocre play and the fact that my beloved football starts soon. The league exceeded my expectations. It was well-produced, the casters and analysts were entertaining and knowledgeable. My only complaint is that Uber and Mr. X weren’t casting Uprising matches all the time. I bet next season is going to be even bigger and I can’t want.

Now that I’ve wasted your time reading about my overall happiness of how the league played out, it’s time to talk about the highly anticipated All-Star Weekend. I was disappointed that no Uprising members made the main squad, but Neko, Gamsu, and Striker all ended up on the roster as backups. Unfortunately Neko was unable to make it due to visa issues, but Gamsu and Striker made us proud.

The first match of the All-Star weekend was Lucioball, one of the game modes I never tried and refuse to. This 3v3 special map is only available during the Summer Games. After some savage trash talk before the match from the Pacific side, namely Fissure, the Atlantic team beat them in this first head-to-head of All-Star weekend. Next up, was one of the matches that I was the most excited to see: Mystery Heroes. Mystery Heroes is hands-down my favorite arcade mode in the game. In fact, I probably spend more time on Mystery Heroes than anything else in the game. Again, the Atlantic team came out on top in a hilarious show that even pros struggle against the ridiculous comps that come out of Mystery Heroes’ RNG. Then you have the Lockout Elimination round, which I was super excited the it featured Gamsu. The Atlantic team won this, giving them a 3-0 head start against the Pacific.

The Widowmaker 1v1 was something I wasn’t entirely excited about. I mean, how entertaining could this have possibly been? I watched, to write this blog and because I wanted to see Striker show everyone how underrated he really is. I predicted the Sayaplayer was going to be Carpe, because Carpe had the tendency of being very streaky. I was wrong. I then predicted the SoOn was going to come up on top over Architect, which also happened. At this point, it was more thrilling than I thought it was going to be.  Then, the match I was really excited about: Pine vs. Striker. My husband picked Pine, because as much as he loves Striker, Pine plays a lot more Widow than Striker. An accurate call, but I chose Striker anyways because I had faith in him. If he lost, at least it would be to Pine and that’s still respectable. This was one of the most entertaining of the matches, if only because of the hilarious dance-off that they decided to do mid-match. You put 2 pranksters in a map together, you are bound to get hilarity. In a close match, Striker came out on top and Pine could not be happier for his competitor. Surefour, another underrated player who I thought was going to make it to the finals, also came up on top over Fleta. Striker eventually fell to the unstoppable Carpe and Surefour took out SoOn for a matchup that no one saw coming: Surefour overpowering the man who declared himself the best Widow in the league (Carpe), to end up the winner.

Then it was the second match I was the most excited about: The Talent Takedown, where the casters and analysts had their fun playing on the big stage. Aside from Reinforce, none of the talent qualifies as pro OWL players. Reinforce is representing Team Sweden in the World Cup, but despite the walkout and jokes he didn’t actually entirely carry the team. Soe represented well and Semm made me jealous at his D.Va play. This was still easily the most entertaining of all the matches. The Pacific took away their first win with their Talent Roster of Puckett, Soe, Reinforce, Semmler, Hex, Crumbz, and Monte. This was followed by the aforementioned 1v1 Widow final where Surefour brought home the second Pacific win.

The Final match was the actual All-Star game, which saw everyone on both rosters play, including Gamsu and Striker. Gamsu was stoic, with a rare smirk the entire time while Striker, SBB, and Pine were having the time of their life on stage. (Including SBB dancing during the pre-match interviews.) Mickie was also the life of the party, as always. After a easy 3-1 takeaway from Pacific, they played a 5th match anyways that was just as entertaining as the whole event. I would love an All-Star weekend every weekend until OWL starts up again.

Final notes to wrap up. Mickie was the obvious choice for getting the Dennis “INTERNETHULK” Hawelka Award, which was awarded to the person who had the most positive impact on the OWL community. He’s always so positive and hilarious to be around  (it seems) that it was definitely earned by him. If he didn’t walk away with it, his former teammate and retired OWL player Seagull would have deserved it as well. Even in his speech, where he said he didn’t want his fans to be sad if he was sad, showed off what a remarkable person he is. He makes me proud to be a fan of OWL.

The fact that OWL ended up broadcast on cable channels live shows that this is growing faster than people anticipated. With the new teams they are hoping to acquire next season and the growing list of sponsors, this could actually make eSports tournaments more mainstream. This makes me happy. If boring sports like baseball, golf, tennis, poker, and bowling can get as much screen time as they do then OWL should get more attention.

 

Overwatch League: The Quarterfinals

It was an interesting and quite surprising week in the Overwatch League, with the inaugural season’s playoffs starting this week. It was the Philadelphia Fusion versus the Boston Uprising and the London Spitfire up against the LA Gladiators. It was an extremely exciting week that I can’t wait to break down for you. So here we go.

The first day of matches was the 11th, with all of the teams starting off. The first match of the game was the Fusion vs. the Uprising. The Uprising got utterly destroyed in the first match of the game, which was set on Dorado. The Fusion just walked all over their defense and Uprising’s offense didn’t do much better. Uprising took the second map in a strong showing on Oasis. The next map, Eichenwalde, was a nail-biter but Fusion ultimately took the map away for a 2-1 lead over Uprising going into the 4th map. Boston must’ve felt very confident going into Volskaya Industries, a map they have never lost on. Well… until they did against the Fusion. The Fusion walked all over them, getting both points while holding Uprising to 0 points, winning the match 3-1. The next match of the day was the LA Gladiators and the London Spitfire. I can quickly sum this match up for you: Gladiators destroyed London 3-0 for the day.

As a fan of both of these teams, I was pretty bummed out about the matches. Still, I keep a positive attitude that my beloved Uprising would #RiseUp going into Friday’s matches. For the weekend, each sets of team would play the entire day. So the 2 matches on Friday were Fusion vs. Uprising and Saturday had LA vs. London. On Friday, Boston did #RiseUp in the second match, but it was a rough ride. Both teams played amazingly but Mistakes certainly stepped up and helped give his team the edge. I don’t care what he thinks, but his performance was much better than the 5.6/10 he gave himself. Also, Note was amazing and he deserves a lot more credit than he gives himself and other people give him. Back to the matches. In the first set of matches, I was pleasantly surprised how well they handled Hanamura, their worst map, which they won in the first match. The second set of matches gave us a different look at the team. Again, Boston destroyed on Junkertown as they did in the first match. However, after that things started going downhill. Uprising was wrecked in Lijiang Tower. Hybrid maps are pretty tough for them and they just couldn’t quite get Eichenwalde down for the win, a map that they chose. The probably the worst mistake HuK could have made happened. I see where he was going with it, but statistics matter. I don’t know if it was arrogance or he figured that they won on Hanamura once today so they could easily do it again. Either way, the safer choice would have been Volskaya, a map they have a much higher win percentage on. Boston lost, and Fusion advanced to the semi-finals against NYXL. More on my thoughts on this match after the recap.

I did lose a bit of hope in the Spitfire, a team that after winning the first ever Stage Championship went into a slump. I watched without too much confidence, expecting a Battle of the LAs in the semifinals. (Imagine the ratings for that.) However, London Swept both matches and advance to go against the LA Valiant in the semifinals. As for the semi-finals, I expect the Fusion to give XL a run for their money but I think XL will walk away the big winners of everything. Spitfire and Valiant could go either way but the way Spitfire played this weekend gives me hope that they could make it to the finals. I’m rooting for an XL vs. Spitfire finals. Then at least my 2nd choice team could win and I can walk away happy.

As for the Uprising, what happened? I’m not too disappointed; they made it much further than anyone expected. However, they had the potential of making it to the next round. They had the potential to make it all the way. They had the potential to win, being the only team to beat the XL as much as they did. So what happened? First of all when you run a single support, that support needs to stay alive longer than 2 minutes in every fight. Because you can’t really see what’s going on, it’s hard to say why he died so much but it was definitely a combination of factors. Maybe at some point they should have just tried Snow in his place (or even Avast) because if they were going to lose, mixing it up to see if that worked could have changed the entire outcome of the match. There is also the issue of being tired. The Uprising only has a few extra players to help relieve the core if they get tired. Unlike the Fusion, who seemed to keep swapping players in and out. They had a team with a break. We didn’t. That’s our fault. We also need to pickup some DPS player with a massive character pool. Mistakes can only do so much and Striker seems like a waste to be anywhere but on his signature Tracer. They have a strong core but this core needs to have a break at some point to keep them fresh. Also, what was HuK thinking when he chose Hanamura? That was a Belichick move: Genius if it worked, awful for him if it didn’t. Unfortunately this time that gamble didn’t pay off. I understand the thought behind it. Fusion put in Hotba, someone who played a surprisingly great Tracer that threw Uprising off on Volskaya and stomped them into the ground. To screw with them, pick the unlikely map to mess with their head. However, we were 3-8 on that map at this point in time. It was dumb. It really was a dumb call. Adjust to Hotba not screw yourselves over.

Adaptability and not resting their players is the biggest issue this roster seems to have. There is a strong core of players that you can work with, you just need to build up the roster even further to give the team more of the tools that they need to adapt to a variety of different situations. Good job though, Boston Uprising. I am proud to be a hardcore fan to such an amazing group of people. I hope they come back even stronger next time.