Dipping your toes into the vortex that is Overwatch journalism can be daunting, but this letter is designed to explain the process as plainly and clearly as possible. While you may struggle at times, you’ll never lack for support as a writer for the Overwatch League.
You’ve stepped into an unavoidably intimidating career field, but there are many, many people here to help you. Here are some basics:
- Write about whatever you want! Unless your outlet needs coverage on certain subjects, they can give you the freedom to create the content you want. You can cover a certain team, player, or rivalry, or even something outside of the game entirely. Write what you would want to read, or something you’re sure other people want to know about.
- In that same vein, keep an eye on what people want. It’s your job to know what issues are important to the community and to deliver facts and/or opinions on that topic to gain traction with your audience. Keep the competitive Overwatch subreddit open. Follow the right people on Twitter (players, community figures, talent, etc.) Between the two of them, you’ll have easy ideas delivered right to your door, every day.
- It’s not enough to lurk, here. Be active on these platforms! Many esports subreddits requires a certain number of interactions within their community per post. So if you want your articles on reddit (hint: you do) you must integrate yourself into that community. Not only will it keep your outlet from being banned from the subreddit, but you’ll also establish a dialogue with players and readers. Similarly, posting your thoughts on current events regarding your esport and engaging with your followers on Twitter will make you more than an article posting robot to your audience. The more these people can relate and reach out to you, the better off you will be.
- Ask questions. You’re going to have a ton, and that’s fine. Nothing in this line of work is spelled out for you, but there are many resources designed to clearly explain how things are done. You will need to do your homework to be an informed and worthwhile content creator. Start early, and never stop. Message your fellow writers with questions, send emails, join discords. If you want to grow, you will need to reach out a lot. Not much will come to you on its own.
Learning the game
There’s a lot to learn about being a writer, and there’s even more to learn about Overwatch itself. You should know a bit of both.
This article by Damian Alonzo is the definitive guide for managing a budding esports journalism side-hustle. This is your bible- read it every night.
Speaking of Damian and definitive guides, here’s a great piece on writing game recaps, something you will become very familiar with in your time as an esports journalist. Recaps are tough, minimally rewarding work, but they’re a necessary evil. Use them to train your analytical muscles. Finding the important moments and storylines from a game as it’s happening is an extremely valuable skill.
For Overwatch specifically, resources are no less plentiful and can be as in-depth as you like. Our advice: high-level analysis and game review are your best friends.
Some great examples include former San Francisco Shock Head Coach Brad Rajani’s review of OWL gameplay, or Sideshow’s series about basic Overwatch terms like dive, peel, and ultimate economy. Even if you have a good grasp of the game, learning how other people express those ideas concisely can be extremely useful. Once you have that down, being able to understand and assess aspects of the game, big or small, will give your work some heft.
Overwatch is a tough game to analyze. Things move quickly, everyone’s screaming, and there are particle effects everywhere. Twelve different people are on the field at once, each doing very different things. If you’re reviewing a specific game or piece of a game, focus on one part at a time. Maybe focus on just the tanks, or the healers, or the snipers. If you want to talk about them all, be prepared for a long article and lots of review if you want to make something in-depth yourself.
(That’s not a bad thing to have, mind you! It just means a lot of work.)
Blizzard PR – The official conduit for getting breaking Overwatch news. You’re far from hunting for leaks like Slasher, but requesting a statement or quote from someone can bolster your pieces and give them legitimacy. There are PR people for each team in the league, and you should probably bug them before talking to team players or staff individually. If you’re not ready for that, ask an editor or staff member at your publication to do it for you.
Writers and content creators published on overwatchleague.com – These guys are in. They work for Blizzard to write about the league. Find these writers – their work is amazing, and they’ve done everything it takes to make it in the scene. Which is what you want to do.
Industry talent – For the Overwatch League, that includes casters like Monte, DoA, and Uber, analysts like Reinforce and Sideshow, and on-air talents like “Malik” Forte and Soe Gschwind-Penski. Like the OWL writers, you need to understand what they did to get where they are.
Your outlet (if you’re part of one) – Other writers on this list may help you out of the kindness of their heart, but it’s your coworkers’/journalist superiors’ obligation to make sure you have what you need to be a good writer. In turn, they may ask you for help – to test read an article, or to retweet their newest piece, etc. Do that.
Other outlets (The Game Haus, Overwatchscore, DBLTAP, Akshon Esports, Unikrn, Winston’s Lab, Dot Esports, etc.) – In a scene that’s still growing like ours, there are no rivals. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye on other publications, though. Understand their strategies, read their articles, follow their writers. Find what you like about them and their work, and find what you would improve. Implement these things into your own work to become a Frankenstein of good journalistic practices.
You have the power. Now use it.
Notice that I didn’t provide links for any of these outlets, nor did I link to any writers associated with any outlets. That’s your job now! If you want to be a proper journalist, you should be able to dig for answers on your own. You’ll hopefully have a network of writers supporting you when you get started, but self-sufficiency will never go amiss.
If you’re getting help from these other writers, by the way, remember to support them in turn! Share their work, help them edit articles, let them bounce ideas off of you. It’s good manners, and it’s also good practice for the day you end up helping a young writer get their start yourself.
STAY UP TO DATE
Follow me on Twitter @thibbledork and let me know! Come ask me questions, or tell me how I’m doing!
You can also message me on Discord! (thibbledork#0282)
Featured Photo © FREAKS 4U GAMING