3 Things We Learned in Stage 1

Courtesy of London Spitfire

Stage one is in the books and this is what we’ve learned.

Stage one of the inaugural season of Overwatch League has come and gone. First off I would like to say congratulations to the London Spitfire on winning the stage one playoffs over the New York Excelsior. A lot transpired during the first stage and there’s plenty more to come but here are three things that stood out during stage one.

 

Don’t judge a team by its roster

Before the season started analysts, broadcasters, journalists, and content creators all put out their projected power rankings for the first stage. Boston Uprising were synonymous with the bottom of the barrel everywhere you looked. But, that was put to bed several weeks into the stage when Boston became the first team to beat an all Korean roster in the London Spitfire. Boston shocked so many people, myself included, and became energized by that win. Boston went on to miss the stage one playoffs after losing a hard fought game 3-2 against the Houston Outlaws but Boston showed that it’s not all about the names on the roster but about the heart and synergy among the players on the team.

This is only getting bigger

During the first stage of the Overwatch League a lot of things transpired. Some players were suspended and/or fined, expectations for teams changed, Overwatch League added more talented personnel to the broadcasting team but, what stood out the most was the sponsors that bought into the league. The season began with big name sponsors such as Intel and HP but given that those two companies are basically synonymous with esports no one batted an eye. After a few weeks though things began to change and new sponsors began jumping on this wagon including T-Mobile, Toyota, and Sour Patch Kids. Nate Nanzer, the commissioner of Overwatch League, said that they already are looking to expand the number of teams and are looking to get more teams from Europe and Asia as well. Overwatch League is doing a lot to help grow this community and I’m sure with the addition of these major companies others will follow their lead and hop on OWL or other esport competitions.

The style is helping to grow esports

This may be a personal opinion but the Overwatch League makes finding your favorite team and players significantly easier than other leagues. The way they set this all up is helping to not only grow, but legitimize esports to the world. Esports has grown a lot and is still far from being widely accepted but, the Overwatch League is a major step forward towards the ultimate goal. Having the games four nights a week also helps. Knowing when the games are on makes it much more like traditional sports.

You know that Sunday’s are for football. The way they managed to set this up, you know Wednesday through Saturday will be Overwatch League days. Keeping it scheduled well, providing excellent coverage and exposure, the social media accounts of teams are constantly interacting with the fans and each other. Blizzard has done great with the Overwatch League and we’re only a quarter of the way through the season!

How did your team do during the first stage? What are you looking forward to the most during stage two and beyond? Let us know and be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel! Links down below!

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OWL leading to map fatigue

Only two weeks in the community is getting tired.

Courtesy: Blizzard Ent

If you’re like me you’ve been following the Overwatch League since the preseason. The games for the most part have been very fun to watch and watching the crowd reaction in stadium, as well as online, has been great. But one issue has emerged. Map Fatigue. After week one people on Reddit and the Blizzard forums were starting to mumble about being sick of seeing the same maps.

The two maps in particular that have dominated stage one have been Junkertown and Horizon Lunar Colony. Now if you don’t know this, the Overwatch League is broken into four stages that are six weeks long. Each stage has a predetermined selection of maps. The first stages maps are Horizon Lunar Colony/Anubis, Oasis/Ilios, Numbani/Eichenwalde, and Junkertown/Dorado.

Repetition has it’s ups and downs.

After watching week one we were seeing that since these maps were so common it was forcing teams to change strategies and routes. Seoul at one point ran a triple tank composition on Junkertown which is incredibly rare. The same maps at the same time also create an “even ground”.

But this does give mid-tier teams an opportunity to focus of specific map strategies and further attempt to hone their skills as a unit. Teams are being forced to come up with new ways to attack payloads. At the start of the season Junkertown’s first point was absolutely dominated by the “Pirate Ship” composition. If you’re unfamiliar with the comp itself you park a Bastion in turret mode on top of the payload and have Orisa lay down a protective barrier in front of him. At first this strategy was working but with familiarity teams are finding ways to slow down or stop that entire composition.

SO what changes after stage 1?

After stage one concludes on February 10th teams are allowed to add players to their rosters. One thing I’m sure Florida will be heavily in favor of. The stage two map selection has not been released yet but guessing by the fact there’s a ten day break in between stages, that will give Blizzard time to select the maps and let the teams know.

The main issue here is that map fatigue is a difficult problem to solve. The Championship Series allowed teams to pick/ban maps which led to teams constantly playing the same maps even more then. Shrinking the map pool is not something that would help this league at all.

All we can do is sit and hope that Blizzard is listening to our concerns as fans of the league. But seeing as Blizzard has invested incredible amounts of money, time, and talent into making this league something fun for people of all ages I’m convinced that they will do their absolute best to keep the fans, as well as the players, happy.

Are you getting map fatigue? Do you have any ideas on how to fix the fatigue problem? Let us know! Also be sure to follow The Game Haus on Twitter, Like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Overwatch League news!

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Player Spotlight: Babybay

Courtesy of Babybay

Overwatch League Player Spotlight: Babybay

Every week here at The Game Haus we will be highlighting one player from the Overwatch League. This weeks player is Babybay of the San Francisco Shock.

Andrej “Babybay” Francisty is the main DPS/Flex player for the Shock. He is part of a very strong roster of talented players but Babybay manages to separate himself from his peers. He was one of the biggest stand outs from this years preseason where his Widowmaker play was simply something to behold.

Another reason he is able to separate himself is that he is American. Americans aren’t known for our Esports prowess. Babybay is more well known for his Genji, Mcree, and Soldier 76 which was part of the reason his Widow stood out to so many people. After the matches during the preseason he was interviewed and seemed to relish in the crowds cheering.

History of Babybay

The last time Babybay played in a LAN competition was the Overwatch Winter Premiere back in January of last year. That isn’t to say he hasn’t been competing for longer than that. His history in Esports runs fairly deep. The last team he was a part of was Kungarna. He was part of their roster on two separate occasions.

The Shock have two more players joining their roster later this season as they are ineligible to play due to the Overwatch League age requirement. Babybay and the Shock will look to keep up the high level play as they not only fight for the Overwatch League title but fight for California supremacy as they are joined in California by the two Los Angeles teams, the Valiant and the Gladiators.

Are you a Shock fan? How do you feel Babybay has started off the season? Let us know and be sure to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Youtube channel! Links down below and as always stayed tuned to The Game Haus for all your Overwatch League news!

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Overwatch League’s Uprising may cause some upsizing

Big numbers in Day two of the Overwatch League. Big numbers coming out of cities hosting watch parties 

Boston Uprising watch party at The Greatest Bar.

Upsizing not Uprising

This is a picture taken last Thursday at the Boston Uprising watch party held at The Greatest Bar (clever name, not my opinion.) inside the TD Garden where the Celtics and Bruins play. Over 125 people crammed into the two floors of a Boston sports bar.

Now I don’t know if any of you have been to Boston sports bars, I’m sure some of you have. This is the last thing anyone expected. Especially The Greatest Bar. Boston Uprising hosted the event and also had people there giving out free merch to fire up the crowds. To see people cramming themselves into a bar to watch video games gives me immense hope for this sport. For this league. For the next generation of geeks.

Watch parties like this have been held all over the country for the Overwatch League. San Francisco hosted one and had Sinatraa and Super, players who are currently ineligiable to play, there to meet and take pictures. Around 100 people showed up to watch that one.

Picture of Houston Outlaws watch party.

Houston, from all the pictures Posted around the internet had what appears to be the biggest watch party of them all. Over 600 people came out in support of the Houston Outlaws! That’s insane!

Some fans even drove across the country to the Blizzard Arena to watch their favorite teams complete.

These two guys drove 2,700 miles to watch the NYXL. Viewership on Twitch yesterday peaked at just about 250,000. I know it’s still early. I know it’s the “cupcake phase” or however you want to say it. It’s still new and exciting but even people who aren’t fans of Esports have to at least admit this is impressive.

Did you attend/throw any watch parties for your favorite team? Let us know! Also be sure to follow The Game Haus on Twitter, Like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel! Links are down below!

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Why Overwatch League Matters

How Blizzard can change the Esports scene in North America

Courtesy of Blizzard Ent.

 

I feel as though I’ve had to explain to multiple friends and family members what exactly Esports is. I have several friends who understand the basic concept of it but don’t understand how fun and entertaining it is. This is where the Overwatch League steps in.

After being announced over a year ago, January 10th was opening night. Twitch viewership peaked at just over 400,000. 400,000 people tuned in to watch a video game competition. In the grand scheme of things people gather to watch this number is relatively small, but also very big. Let me explain why Overwatch League matters.

Why does it matter?

The United States is known for a mulititude of things but Esports prowess is not one of them. In Korea they’ve been showing Esports on television since the days of Starcraft Brood War. TBS signed a deal with ESL to broadcast CS:GO on their station and I made sure I tuned in.

On January 9th Blizzard Entertainment held their first ever media day for the OWL and announced that they signed a deal with Twitch for a two year broadcasting agreement. It’s been reported but not confirmed that Twitch spent in the area of 90 million dollars to obtain exclusive broadcasting rights.

If you’re like me you tuned in to the games opening night and saw one of the best Overwatch matches I’ve ever seen played between the Dallas Fuel and the Seoul Dynasty. Seoul ended up winning the match but it was as close as they could be. Nearly to half a million people watched that game. It’s very early into the first year for OWL but from what I’ve seen online they’re living up to expectations. They loaded the booths with experts on the broadcast team. The analysts, shout casters, and production teams are insanely talented and above all engaging.

So why does any of this matter? Personally I think that it matters because this is giving the kids who were picked on for being a “nerd” or what have you a safe place to gather. The word nerd has lost its sting and gamer culture has become celebrated and cool thanks to sites like Twitch. Streaming has exploded over the past years resulting in communities of kids and now adults having a place to embrace our passion, gaming. The average age of an Esports fan in the US is 28 years old. Right on the nose for me and my friends.

Overwatch League can bring people together

Another reason OWL is important is it gives kids and parents something to bond over. Several of my friends have kids of their own and are always looking for a way to connect with them. This offers them that opportunity as well as a way to see if their passion will grow into something more than just a fan. Overwatch League is important because it’s helping to legitimize Esports as a whole throughout more of North America. If you told me 5 years ago that Robert Kraft was going to own an Esports franchise I would looked at you upside down.

I haven’t been covering Esports actively very long in the grand scheme of Esports itself but even in the “short” amount of time I’ve been around, the scene has flourished. There are major companies/sports franchises buying teams for video game competitions! Is this a business move? Yeah, probably. But even so it helps to legitimize this crazy thing we call Esports. While we’re only a couple days into season one of Overwatch League look for it to continue to do well and if things go the way they’re projected to, expand exponentially.

What do you think of the Overwatch League so far? Do you think it’s going to sustain viewership or will it die it over the season? Let us know and be sure to stay tuned to The Game Haus for more Esports news!

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