Welcome to another episode of Make Me A Gamer! It just so happened that when we recorded this, it was at the exact same time that the Washington Justice were playing the London Spitfire in Overwatch League. Since TMan and HarveyZ are both fans of the Justice, they ended up multitasking and talking about Overwatch League and Overwatch in general for basically the entire episode while watching the game! TMan goes into detail explaining some of the finer points of strategy and new & old Overwatch metas to HarveyZ. This was a bit of an experiment, but we hope it turned out fun, entertaining, and informative! We hope you enjoy! (This episode was recorded February 21st, 2019.)
It’s Friday, and despite having an off week this week I’m not going to let a Friday go by without a top 5! So in celebration of the second season of Overwatch League starting this week, it’s time for my top 5 teams in the OWL!
This week on Make Me A Gamer, there’s a lot of news for TMan to catch HarveyZ up on. There’s updates on Pokemon, the Rockstar 100 hour work week controversy, as well as new info on the Overwatch League and a brand new Overwatch character! We also discuss the latest Super Smash Bros Ultimate information, the Diablo Immortal drama that’s been circulating the internet, and a little bit about the Fallout 76 beta bugs. HarveyZ does get a chance to update everyone on his XCOM 2: War of the Chosen adventures at the end, though! (This episode was recorded November 5th.)
On this week’s episode of Make Me A Gamer, TMan & HarveyZ open with talking about XCOM and why they like games like it. Then they jump into some Overwatch League news, discuss the upcoming ability to change your PSN name, and HarveyZ gives his requirements for getting a Make Me A Gamer tattoo. We also discuss The Witcher and get into what we’d like to see if Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn is actually made into a game. (This episode was recorded October 13th.)
We’re now officially past the halfway point of the first season of Overwatch League. Clear leaders have emerged (the New York Excelsior who have the best record in the league by far), there’s underdogs (the Shanghai Dragons who have yet to win a match) there’s general favorites (the Houston Outlaws, much to my chagrin) and there’s the teams with drama that make the non-game days exciting (both the Dallas Fuel and Los Angeles Valiant). Blizzard has really been pushing their premier eSports league and while the OWL is definitely suffering growing pains, it’s slowly but surely been on a decent course to a more mainstream popularity.
Action has already been taken by his team – the Uprising has terminated his contract already (in under 24 hours). It seems like other members of the Overwatch League and OW pro scene have been instructed to keep quiet about anything else as the matter is investigated by actual police and what-not – this is thanks to a now-deleted tweet by one of the OWL broadcasters who said as much, but now that it’s deleted even just acknowledging that may have been deemed too much sharing.
But DreamKazper’s contract termination and (assumed) expulsion from the Overwatch League brings up a bigger question about the maturity of the Overwatch League and whether it’s really ready for the big time – both in its players and how the general league functions.
Last Thursday night, the Dallas Fuel played the Houston Outlaws in the Overwatch League. Going into the match, it was expected that the Dallas Fuel would destroy the Houston Outlaws because the Fuel was considered to be one of the better Western teams in the league and near the top in talent. The Outlaws then ended up crushing the Fuel 4-0 and it looked really, really bad for Fuel. There was no communication, a lot of bad playing, and just in general they did not look like a top tier team.
That night after the match Felix Lengyel aka xQc – a tank player for Dallas who didn’t even play in this particular match – got on his Twitch stream (which he has thousand of follower for and is one of the more notorious and/or popular Overwatch streamers) and insulted the main tank player for the Houston Outlaws, Austin Wilmot aka Muma. Muma is openly gay, and xQc’s insult was homophobic in nature. You can see the clip of xQc’s comment here. (Warning: Graphic language in this clip.)
The Overwatch League started this past week and it’s kind of a big deal. It’s the first real push to make e-sports into a viable, watchable event in the same vein as regular sports. Normally e-sports are focused around tournaments – a company or organization sponsors a particular team who will work together and compete in tournaments across the globe all year for money and prizes. One organization can sponsor teams for multiple different games – Cloud 9, for example, sponsors teams in Rocket League, Dota 2, Counter-Strike, and Overwatch among others. In certain genres, though, there aren’t teams and it’s just individual players who play at all the tournaments that are hosted at different conventions. Fighting games are a specific example – for tournaments like EVO it’s all individuals who are competing for the prize money.
Overwatch League is an attempt by Activision Blizzard to make e-sports more than just single tournaments that happen across the year. They’re specifically using the popularity of Overwatch as the game to launch their bid into a possible multi-billion dollar sports league that will generate revenue through thousands of fans watching the games. Like regular sports teams, the teams competing in the Overwatch League are based out of particular cities so there are “home” and “away” teams just like other sports. There are owners of teams who are forking up the cash to get the team in the league – Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, is the owner of the Boston Uprising team in the Overwatch League. If that doesn’t make you realize how big a deal this is and just what Activision Blizzard is attempting to accomplish with the Overwatch League, I don’t know what will.