With the Grand Finals drawing near, Season 2 of the Overwatch League is almost over. It’s been a wild ride with many ups and downs from start to finish. While the game itself has seen balance changes, new heroes, new maps and more, the Overwatch League production has also seen some new editions that have raised the bar in a major way. And now is as good a time as any to look back on what’s changed for better or for worse from the Inaugural Season. Without further ado, here are some of the best additions to the Overwatch League from Season 2.
Wolf & Achilios
By far the biggest edition to the broadcast this year was the dynamic casting of Seth “Achillios” King and Wolf “Wolf” Schröder. Coming from the Korean Contenders, the beloved duo was always able to make any match entertaining as well as make historic moments, such as the KDP vs. Runaway Grand Finals, that much more fantastic. And now that they have been given a chance at the main stage for competitive Overwatch, they haven’t slowed down. From the Shanghai Dragons getting their first franchise win to the Atlanta Reign being the first team to defeat the New York Excelsior in the regular season, Wolf and Achillios bring the perfect mixture of high energy play-by-play as well as in depth analysis and history. Their seamless chemistry as well as their ability to please the casuals, the hardcore, and the hype beasts make them one of the best parts of Season 2.
Often times, we forget that the players on stage are not just machines for our amusement and are in fact human beings. Moments like Ryu “ryujehong” Je-hong’s post season speech showed us player’s passion and moments like Jake “JAKE” Lyon’s showed us players frustration. But it was Comms Check that showed us the player’s humorous side. Having a look inside the player’s comms isn’t entirely new. For example, teams like the L.A. Gladiators have highlights from their comms that they post from time to time. But aside from it being all the teams together, the editing is what really sells Comms Check. People like Jeff Clark, who is the Social Video Producer for the League, add that extra 10% between funny responses to the players, to the way that each clip flows from one to the next. Though the videos aren’t too long, they are something to look forward to whenever they come out.
Role Lock is quite possibly the most important change to come to both Overwatch and the League since Hero Limit. Before, players whose roles (mostly DPS) that were not needed in compositions could see themselves on the bench and fall behind their peers. Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park expressed his potential retirement in a video produced by the League. This was due to the fact that the prevalent meta at the time, GOATs, didn’t require his Tracer specialties. Now with Role Lock, there is more job security for players of each role. Though not every hero is viable right now, with future balancing, players can truly flourish on the roles they were meant to play.
Insights Powered By Intel
Overwatch is a complex game. Between a hero’s kit, team composition, team strategy and so on, there is a lot of information that casual viewers may find hard to grasp. That’s where Insights Powered by Intel comes in. This segment often hosted by Josh “Sideshow” Wilkinson or Brennon “Bren” Hook breaks down key elements during games in an attempt to highlight above average play, unnoticed aspects of a play, or even the occasional blunder. London Spitfire’s Teleport head shot, New York’s perfect flank and Atlanta Reign’s Bastion strategies are all excellent examples. The segment will also occasionally involve pro players explaining a term or a composition for a general audience. Some examples include Pirate Ship, Tilt, Cheese and many more. The segment is a great resource for those that want to improve both their own game as well as their viewing experience.
Double Elimination Playoffs
Finally to conclude our list is the conclusion to the Season itself. This year, the League opted to structure the postseason as a double elimination tournament, meaning that losing once was not the end of your season and redemption was and is possible. Some have questioned the potential of diminished stakes due to each game not being all or nothing. However, it’s safe to say that double elimination’s benefits outweighs its drawbacks. For example, by having a loss in winners not be the end of the world, you make it much more likely that the best teams don’t fall before the end due to a small error or an off day. Take the San Francisco Shock. Their C9 against the Atlanta Reign would have ended their season right then and there. And while Atlanta fans might have been happy, the rest of the league would miss out on the potential conclusion to the greatest rivalry seen in Overwatch history. That being the Vancouver Titans vs the San Francisco Shock. By allowing teams a second chance in the loser’s bracket, it allows for stories of redemption and perseverance that make the best narratives.
Follow Brad on Twitter @BradKillion for the latest opinions and musing about the world of esports.
Featured image courtesy of the Overwatch League
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