Overwatch and Call of Duty, unlike what the traditional news would say. are not alike. Yes, they are both FPS games. Of course they are both video games. They both have players, maps, and game modes, but the basics are where the similarities end. As an Overwatch League fan many matches have been viewed and also attended, so when the first CDL homestead was in Minneapolis it was out of curiosity that a ticket was bought. Here is a comparison of CDL Minneapolis Homestead to the Overwatch League from a prospective of an Overwatch League fan.
There is magic walking into the Blizzard Arena in Burbank. A part of it is the anticipation. The lineup process of sitting outside the doors for hours with other fans, and in that time making signs and chatting. The excitement rises as the metal detectors come out, because everyone knows it is almost time for the doors to open. What was surprising is how the line was always orderly snaking around to the get into line for the security check. Rarely did anyone ever budge in line, and it was an unspoken rule of respecting those who had been waiting.
It was when the doors opened it was a free for all. “No Running” would be heard and the line between running and fast walking was always pushed. The trick was to cut through the shop to get to the hallway faster, down the hall past the concessions, and into the arena that was lit with music and sound. The huge LED when showing the maps would be breathe taking with the vivid color and movements. The vibe was more lighthearted and fun. People had personalized and arena made signs as well as those who would cosplay for certain teams.
CDL Armory Minneapolis
Walking into the Minneapolis homestead CDL location of the Armory gave a different more gritty and mature vibe. It was very organized. In the entryway there were multiple ticket scanners and a row of metal detectors already set up. There were two levels, the basement that had the Challengers (think contenders) games going on. It was dark and felt like an underground gaming facility.
Then going up the main stage was reached. The analysts’ desk was placed in the back and the casters were high up in a box. The main floor was split into general admission free for all seating and the first 16 rows were designated spots. The Overwatch League in Burbank did not have this it was a first come first serve, which is why so many people got there early to ensure the best seating. The actual seats at the Armory were folding chairs. The Overwatch league definitely has much more comfortable chairs.
The CDL had massive LED screens and the main one could be raised and lowered. The coolest part of COD was the random text in seat upgrade. Fans could sit BEHIND the players to view the match, almost like courtside seating. On each side, there were concessions that fans could buy as well as alcohol. The Burbank arena had concessions as well. CDL Minneapolis definitely beat out OWL Season 1 concessions, but the ease of Season 2 and the options through online would put Season 2 about the level CDL Minneapolis.
The Overwatch League for the first two Seasons was based out of Burbank California and localization was brought in starting this Season. The CDL is starting out with localization with tournaments to be held in each of the cities that the teams represent. They also have more time in-between tournaments than the Overwatch League that has weekly matchups.
The CDL gameplay format starts with teams on Hardpoint. For Overwatch League fans picture King of Hill that moved to four different parts of the map and open up for a minute at a time. A big difference is that a player has to stay on the point to gain percentage until when an Overwatch team caps they can get off the point and still accrue percentage.
Then the CDL goes into Search and Destroy. There is nothing like this in Overwatch other than maybe in custom games. It, in an uneducated mind feels similar to CS:GO. One side has to plant a bomb and the other side defuses it. Each player only has one life.
Domination is the next game type. It would be like if King of the Hill had three open points and the teams had to capture the points back and forth from each other. The more points they cap the faster their points go up. After Domination the match goes back to Hardpoint and then back to Search and Destroy if they need a map five.
Overwatch League also has different game modes, but it seems more diverse. In CDL other than Search and Destroy, the game just feels like King of the Hill. The players, as they are all human, are hard to tell apart from each other. In Overwatch if the player is NYXL Mano as the Main Tank, it can be seen by the character of a huge German man, mechanical horse, or gorilla scientist. In the CDL there’s no way to distinguish between the players other than reading the small names above their heads.
It may because of the longer history and rivalries, but the fans were much more vocal. From the twitter and reddit posts about ‘screaming’ at the Overwatch arena one would think that that didn’t happen elsewhere. The boos for Aches and the Los Angeles Guerrillas in person was tremendous. Random fans screaming things out for players or teams as well as chanting went on. Experiencing the CDL, it is hard to understand why people were so upset with the yells coming from the Burbank arena. It seems tame compared to this. The CDL fans showed so much passion and energy at the homestead.
The fans that came to the Minneapolis homestead were predominately male and mostly caucasian. This could be a Minnesota thing as the state is very Scandinavian. In the Burbank arena there was always a good mix of females to males in the crowd, though (there is no statistics backing this up and just a guess from interacting with the community) there may be more male players/fans of the Overwatch League overall. There was also a good mix of ethnicities in the crowd. That could be because of the racial makeup of the players of the Overwatch League or because it was in Los Angeles.
The Overwatch Perspective of the CDL
From viewing twitter, a good number of Overwatch League fans tuned into the CDL to just see what is going on. Overwatch a game where the guns and abilities don’t change per character to the ever-changing gun load out of the CDL players is a mindset switch. Overwatch is a young game. Comparatively, Call of Duty has so much history and rivalries that new viewers and fans can get lost.
It was surprising how empty the Armory was at all times. With the first 16 rows being buy the seat you sit in the Minneapolis staff could not just move people up like the Burbank staff did because of the chance the person who bought that seat might arrive. It made the arena look very empty even if general admission had more people. At the end of Season 2, the Burbank arena had the same issue, but that was two seasons in. This was the opening weekend of the WHOLE CDL there was an unsaid expectation that it would be packed.
For an Overwatch League fan going to the CDL was an interesting experience. Both of these leagues fall under the Activision and it was interesting to see how the CDL has made improvements from the OWL and what they still need to fix. It will be fun to see how the CDL grows from this starting point. Hopefully both the CDL Season 1 and OWL Season 3 can be successful.
Follow The Game Haus for more sports and esports coverage:
Twitter: TGH Esports
Facebook: The Game Haus
For more esports posts and memes, check out Lauren’s twitter, @Daebakowl
“From Our Haus to Yours”