The anticipation is in the air for the beginning of the Overwatch League Season 5. Not only has this offseason been painfully long for the fans, but it will be played on the Overwatch 2 Beta. The combination of these two elements has made the hype around the season opener quite large. But with the overwhelmingly positive energy, there is a bittersweet undertaste as the celebrations are mostly tied to the North American region. Here is a look at some of the elements that make this opening weekend bittersweet for APAC fans.
The Start Date
The APAC region was announced that all matches were going to be delayed for weeks. This is out of the Overwatch League’s control. As the safety of all parties involved during the Covid pandemic is the most important aspect. The matches being delayed until May 20th is like the Spongebob meme, where Squidward is watching Spongebob and Patrick playing outside. The APAC fans are excited that the Overwatch League is finally coming back, but just not for APAC. It is watching the other side get the gift of seeing their teams play, while still having to wait 2 more weeks.
The Overwatch League is not making any adjustments when it comes to the timetable to relieve the reduction of weeks to play the matches for APAC. Instead, all APAC teams within weeks 3 and 4 will be playing three matches per weekend. Not only does that not give way to the best gameplay with the cramming of three-match prep, but also promotes burnout at the beginning of the season. Yes, the APAC teams will have longer to prepare, but to prep for three matches within three days is a quick turnaround to play teams with different playstyles and strategies.
Even if the delay for safety was not in the control of the League, the scheduling afterward is. No doubt the Overwatch League wants to keep the integrity of the matches to the highest levels. To ensure this, there should have been considered to the APAC matches being more spread out even if that meant shifting North America’s schedule a little bit. The mental and physical health of the players should be a top priority and it is bittersweet for the APAC fans knowing that their teams will be from the start rushed and mentally strained.
Earlier in the pre-season, it was announced that the Overwatch League was going to allow for official co-streams on certain weekends. Community members would be able to apply through the Overwatch League for this opportunity. The official co-streaming team was announced with some amazing content creators. All that were picked have been supporting the community for a long time.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) May 4, 2022
It was a huge disappointment that, when this article is being written, there is no official co-streamer for Korean or China listed on the #OWLStreamTeam. This was an opportunity to show that they are a global league not just in name but through actions. Even though the APAC teams will not be playing there are plenty of APAC fans who will be watching the North American matches. Many of the North American teams have Korean plays on them, and fans of said players will tune in. There are so many ex-Overwatch League pros and community members that could have been fantastic representation for the region in the co-stream line-up. This is bitter-sweet for APAC fans to see another missed opportunity for APAC content creators to engage fans.
Bittersweet Opening Weekend
The opening weekend is going to be a joyous event with the return of the Overwatch League. But not only will it be bittersweet for APAC fans because their teams are not playing yet, but also because they are not represented in the OWLStreamTeam. The repercussions of the increased games per week will weigh on the minds of fans as they watch. APAC fans wish all the best to the opening weekend and hope that with continued safety precautions that in two weeks the opening APAC weekend can be just as grand.
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