Overwatch League: The Good and The Bad

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The Overwatch esports scene is witnessing a sharp downfall in the number of tournaments and teams participating. Over the past few weeks we have seen several teams let go of their rosters. A big reason for this is the uncertainty prevailing over the Overwatch competitive scene. Professional players such as Seagull started the exodus and were followed by TSM, Dignitas, Splyce, Red Reserve etc.

When the Overwatch league was announced, there was an air of positivity around the entire esports scene. WIth Blizzard targeting the sports teams to invest into the Overwatch League it was expected that the overwatch league will have huge financial numbers.

However Blizzard has not made any announcements since Blizzcon 2016, the consensus has been gloomy. Initial rumors suggested that OWL is set for a launch during Q3 of 2017, however recently there have been news about OWL being delayed ever so slightly.

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In this article we take a look at the various pros and cons of the Overwatch League. The Overwatch League is definitely affecting the game and esports in general, but is it good or bad? It’s actually a bit of both.

 

The Good

Team Stability

While esports is expanding at a rapid rate, we don’t see many tournament organisers benefit from such huge numbers. We have seen organisers such as Dreamhack, ESL attaining much of their revenue from other streams.

Overwatch League will provide a security to potential investors. We have seen several organisations express their displeasure with Riot’s League of Legends which has seen teams being relegated out of the competition.

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Player Stability

Players are also given a stable career path. Each player involved in the OWL will be given a player salary and a secure future. This will bring esports and Overwatch League in particular on par with contracts seen in regular sports leagues.

This is in stark contrast to the existing esports models which see players being at the receiving end of several dubious plots and schemes. Frauds and scams are not uncertain in esports and that has definitely given esports a bad name.

A Truly Global League

Esports lacks a truly global league. With the Overwatch League, Blizzard aims to create a global league which can compete against the best in the world. Blizzard has grand plans with the OWL. They want to establish a league which can compete against the numbers similar to the sports franchise.

Recently Blizzard launched the Overwatch Contenders which is seen as a ladder system in order to help amateur talented players in going professional. It also provides a ready pool to team owners to select their rosters.

The Bad

Despite all the good news about the Overwatch league, there have been much negativity surrounding the Overwatch League. Many of these shortcomings stem from the lack of communication by Blizzard.

Silence

The biggest problem with Overwatch League is the lack of communication. Blizzard last mentioned the Overwatch League during Blizzcon 2016. They have not updated the website, neither have they made any big official announcements with regards to the Overwatch League.

There have been several rumors and leaks regarding the OWL, however these are just leaks. Nothing has been confirmed yet and that raises more questions than answers right now. The community has been demanding more information about the Overwatch League, but there have been none forthcoming.

Lack of tournaments

There is a distinct lack of tournaments in Overwatch. Most of this stems from the uncertainty regarding the Overwatch League. We have had professional players as Seagull quit the competitive game to stream just because there is a lack of events.

Most of the big tournament organisers in esports such as ESL and Dreamhack are not even involved with Overwatch. While Blizzard’s licensing structure is one of the main reasons for the lack of big tournaments, the uncertainty about the Overwatch League also contributes to the same. Tournament organisers do not want to invest in an esports scene at its nascent stage, when they are unsure about the direction that the game will take.

Teams dropping out.

The past few weeks  have seen several teams dropping out of the competition. With major teams such as Dignitas, Red Reserve, Splyce already letting go of their roster, the general mood seems to be pretty grim. This comes on the back of an article which mentioned the prices of Overwatch league teams to be around $20 million. That is a steep asking price and one which is out of reach for most of the esports teams.

The overwatch contenders league is one such initiative which will probably see the traditional esports teams going into the second rung of teams. They will be competing in the Overwatch Contenders league with an opportunity to have their players picked up by the main teams at the Overwatch league.

This is in no way a definitive way of judging the Overwatch League, it presents some of the things that look promising for Overwatch League and then there are things which Blizzard could improve on. The Overwatch league is carefully planned, but Blizzard really does not have a history of organising successful esports. This is their biggest effort to make Overwatch a successful esport, one which can be played competitively and have a massive following. The next year will provide us with answers about the success of the Overwatch League.


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