It’s Friday! And since it’s resolution week, it’s time for yet another New Year’s resolution from me! Well, sorta. If you haven’t noticed, there’s been a post on the blog every day of the week this week. As I mentioned on Wednesday, I wasn’t terribly happy with my output quantity by the end of 2018, so I’m looking to change that this year. So my goal is to have a post on this blog every weekday. To create some semblance of a schedule, here’s what the content will look like:
Monday: Gaming Related Article
Tuesday: Podcast Episode (no real writing in this one, but keeps with my current schedule of posting podcasts on Tuesdays)
Wednesday: Grab Bag (article can be about anything)
Thursday: Music Theory (as seen yesterday)
Friday: Top 5
As I’ve noted before, I like lists. And as such, for Fridays I’ll be posting Top 5 lists for all sorts of different categories. Maybe this way I’ll get some of those sweet, sweet BuzzFeed clicks. I’m guessing some of the lists will be more in-depth than others.
To start us off, I’m going with my Top 5 Favorite Overwatch characters in honor of me recently opening and playing some Overwatch for the first time in a long while. They’re my favorites all-around, including the actual character, any story they might have, and if I enjoy playing as them as well. Here we go!
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.)
This week on Make Me A Gamer TMan & HarveyZ go on a wild ride of gaming tangents. We talk about the leaked Harry Potter RPG footage and somehow end up on the topic of how the world of wrestling and fighting games intersect. We also talk about Civilization 6 and Diablo 3 coming to the Switch, along with our views on gaming collectibles and collecting art in general. (This episode was recorded October 6th.)
This past NFL post-season when the playoffs reached the final 4 there were three teams who had never won a Super Bowl Championship – the Jacksonville Jaguars (go Jags!), Minnesota Vikings, and Philadelphia Eagles. The fourth team was the New England Patriots who have been to the Super Bowl 8 times in the last two decades and won 5 of them. Needless to say, the majority of people were rooting for a new team to win the Super Bowl while mostly only New England fans were hoping for the Patriots to win. Similarly in the first season of the Overwatch League, the New York Excelsior were the dominant team for the entire season and people quickly divided into two camps: the NYXL fans who wanted to see the team completely destroy the competition in the playoffs and win it all, and the people who weren’t fans who wanted to see an underdog topple the champions.
It’s an interesting phenomenon that exists – when people are on top of their game in a competitive sphere, they’re everywhere. And if you’re a fan of that person (or team, or group, or whatever) you can’t get enough of them. But if you’re not a diehard fan, you tend to gravitate towards anybody but them – and in some cases start developing outright animosity towards those so good that they’re constantly on top. When you practice and practice and practice, and get to be so good at something you’re probably on top of the world and your fans are right there with you – but you’ll likely have also accumulated a group of haters.
Which brings me to my point of this article: I hate being that good at anything, especially in regards to video games.
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.