The first stage of Overwatch League has come to an end — how is the most high-profile esports tournament to date shaping up? What worked and what could have been done better?
After a month of heavy competition between twelve teams of Overwatch players from around the world, England claimed the inaugural victory, represented by the London Spitfire. The Spitfire took home the $100,000 prize, but it was far from easy — scheduling issues resulted in that team having to play 14 matches in one day. League commissioner Nate Nanzer promises things like that won’t occur again: “Let me save you some time from tweeting @ me about the schedule: we are looking into playing Stage Finals games on Sunday starting Stage 2. That and other schedule news soon,” he tweeted after Stage 1 was finished.
On the opposite end of the hype spectrum China’s team, the Shanghai Dragons, wound up in last place. A rough first weekend resulted in no wins for the team, and they just seemed cursed from there. Things may turn around for them in the next stage with the addition of Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon, renowned Overwatch gamer and the first female to enter the Overwatch League.
When the twelve teams return at the end of this month for Stage 2, they’ll find the game has changed a bit. Junkrat and Mercy have had some of their moves toned down — both their support abilities were nerfed in the latest patch. Those characters were frequently used in OWL. It’s normal for Overwatch to be patched and rebalanced every now and then, but it remains to be seen if it could potentially affect the outcome of a major tournament.
Stage 2 of Ovewatch League begins February 21 and will be streamed live on Twitch.