If you believe in supporting Tier 2 and 3 Overwatch, the last few weeks have been exciting times indeed. The Open Division Breakable Barriers tournament was a riot to watch, featuring everyone from streamers, to ex-professional players, to actual Contenders teams! The games played were the perfect balance of silly causal fun and serious play with a sizeable $2,550 prize pool. The tournament breathed some much needed life into the T2-3 Overwatch scene, which is currently facing some major challenges.
Also, Breakable Barriers did something else, it taught the community some valuable lessons about spectating Overwatch esports.
Team Comms, Team Comms and Team Comms
This is extremely important. One of the main complaints about Overwatch is that team fights can be confusing to watch; imagine a massive ball of colors and abilities that looks like the Tasmanian Devil ran through a candy store. While this becomes easier the more experienced one gets with spectating the game, having consistent access to team communications can help new spectators understand the pacing and coordination that goes into each team fight, alongside giving teams and players a chance to show their own unique styles and personalities.
A Matter of Perspective
The Breakable Barriers tournament is streamed not only by organizations such as Elo-Hell, but also by the players themselves. As with the first point, watching Overwatch from a third person perspective as a spectator is visually busy and confusing. Allowing players to stream their own unique perspectives on the match not only allows players to monetize their content and grow their brands, but also grants spectators a unique perspective on the match from the eyes of those playing them. Obviously, this would not work in the context of a league system like the OWL, however the potential for Contenders players live-streaming matches from their perspectives should definitely be considered.
This one should come as no surprise, but money is a very good motivator to get people interested in your tournament. While a $2,550 cash prize isn’t exactly breaking the bank, the potential for immediate reward is ever enticing and at the very least justifies players putting in the time to participate in the tournament. A consistent and reliable form of compensation is integral to any budding esports scene, and T2-3 Overwatch should be no exception
Overall the Breaking Barriers Tournament was a massive success and a fantastic experience to both spectate, commentate and play. With luck, Blizzard will see this success as reason to dedicate more resources into the T2-3 scene and take to heart the lessons learned during this tournament.
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