The Cracks in Overwatch League’s Armor

The Cracks in Overwatch League’s Armor

The Good

Overwatch League has put Overwatch in an even larger spotlight than usual. When the game released in May of 2016, the game received high praise and even won Game of The Year. However, no one could’ve have imagined that Blizzard would set up an official league of its own almost a year and a half later that would mostly be successful in viewings alone with a consistent 100,000+ viewers during any game. On opening week, they even exceeded 400,000 views.

Esports Charts detailed the information in a helpful info graphic.

With changes to Twitch in Stage 2, where you can earn points for skins by watching match completions, cheer on your favorite teams and earn random emotes, the viewership and overall participation the games have stayed relatively high.

The Bad

However, there was a negative undertone, at least for the players….

For the all of Stage 1,  the “Mercy Meta” conquered. Mercy became the most played Support hero. This caused many teams to change up their play-style to much chagrin and negative comments.

IGN released a video discussing the Mercy Meta with professional players. To no one’s surprise, their least favorite hero in the game was Mercy.

 

Thankfully, this issue has been circumvented with Overwatch’s latest patch which reined in a few of her abilities.

The Ugly

However, one of the largest problems is outside of the game. Player’s personalities are breaching the game’s Code of Conduct and negatively affecting the image that Blizzard is hoping to accomplish with their game.

Recently, ESPN eSports News revealed that Overwatch league has punished 3 players and one coach.

In this story, Dallas Fuel’s Taimou received a $1000 fine due to anti-gay remarks on his personal stream. Also, Fuel’s xQc received a $4000 fine due to disparaging language and racially charged emote spam in the League’s stream. Felix “xQc” Lengyel also faces a 4 game suspension with these allegations. This would be his second punishment (the first one being anti-gay remarks against another professional player in the League).

On other teams, Houston Outlaw’s TaiRong has been issued a warning due to what they posted on social media and Los Angeles Valiant’s Silkthread has been fined $1000 for account sharing (something that breaks Blizzard’s Term of Agreement).

Moreover, Shanghai Dragon’s recently changed of roster changes:

Coach changes:

Player changes:

 

On top of player bans, and mid season roster changes, Overwatch League is ironing out a lot of wrinkles in their system. Do you think Stage 3 will see less issues this early on? Or do you think we’ll have to wait for Season 2?

It seems less from Overwatch League itself and more from the individual players. Regardless, all of the negative press sure doesn’t seem to very effective against it’s overall image. Even as I write this at 5:48pm, March 10th, 2018, the current viewer count is 123,754 on Twitch.

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