The school year is over and our 2018 Blizzcon graduates are ready and eager to take the stage when we reconvene in November. In the meantime, the Brazilians, Swedes and all of the other non-qualifying teams will be left scratching their heads, wondering what they could have done differently. While the teams are off either prepping their Blizzcon strategies or booking flights back home, we, the fans, have a job to do. We must grade report cards.
Report cards will be administered to each of the four qualifiers based on the following curriculum, which can be found in the very real Official Overwatch Fanbook (OOF):
- Total Blizzcon Talent
- Crowd Intensity
- Entertainment Value
“The purpose of the report cards is to assess the effectiveness of the qualifier in producing a team that can contend for Blizzcon, first and foremost. Part of how we determine this is through the overall competitiveness of the qualifier. Not only does this take final records into account, but also the quality of individual games. After we have looked at the games themselves, we are looking at the environment surrounding the qualifier. This is measured through the crowd at the arena itself as well as the entertainment value for viewers at home.” – Article 76, page 420 of the OOF
Now that we’ve got the logistics out of the way, let’s get to the grades themselves.
Incheon Qualifier Overall Grade: B
Total Blizzcon Talent: A
Since it has been many moons since this qualifier, we need reminding that F[W]inland and South Korea both qualified for Blizzcon. South Korea is a team on everyone’s radar. Deservedly so, considering their previous World Cup tenure and stacked roster. Finland, while less known, is full of OWL caliber talent as well. These two teams have the capacity to run their sides of the bracket in November. This earns them high marks in terms of total qualified talent.
This qualifier didn’t provide the “eclectic” compositions that Los Angeles did. However, there were certain games that seemed to be over before they even began. Outside of these, Russia and Japan gave the qualifying teams some close matches and made for some exciting Overwatch. Also, let’s not forget the amazing match of Finland vs South Korea. In all of its technical difficulty chaos, it showed that these two teams were, for the most part, right on par with one another.
Crowd Intensity: C+
To qualify this, this is being judged subjectively based on seeing the crowd through my computer screen. I was not at the arena. I did not feel the passion of the crowd first-hand. There are many things you cannot feel without being in the midst of the crowd and players. However, based on what was visible/audible from the outside, this qualifier struggled in the company of its peers. If Paris hadn’t set the gold standard for how loud a crowd can be, perhaps Incheon would have done better. Yet, in light of Paris and the other qualifiers, Incheon seemed to lag behind.
Entertainment Value: B+
In spite of how one might grade the crowd, Incheon still maintained a high level of overall entertainment value. We saw Jake “JAKE” Lyon casting for the first time alongside veteran caster, Andrew “ZP” Rush. This was also the first qualifier. This newness brought about an excitement that made it uniquely fun. Our community of old was welcomed back by Goldenboy and Malik, to a sea of new players and casters. This qualifier set the stage for the others and got all of us excited for what was to come.
Next up, we will be heading to the good ol’ US of A for the Los Angeles Qualifier. Stay tuned for this and the other remaining qualifier report cards as we await Blizzcon.
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Featured Image Courtesy of Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
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