This past Sunday marked the end of the Los Angeles qualifier of the 2018 Overwatch World Cup. If you watched any of the games from the weekend, you saw plenty of BM, spawn camping, outlandish compositions, and, most importantly, you saw people having fun playing Overwatch.
This sense of lightheartedness provoked a feeling of culture shock after being immersed in the down-to-business Inaugural Season of the Overwatch League.
Business or Pleasure?
The two seem like they have inherently different functions. If the Overwatch League is the school or business, the Overwatch World Cup is the recess or a staff Halloween party. Players and teams in the Overwatch League practice constantly and seem to just spit out whatever composition the meta demands at the time. The World Cup, even in its more competitive games like USA vs Canada, seems less encumbered with the rigor, practice, and demand of the season.
As fans, which should we hope for more of? Or is there a place in professional Overwatch for both?
How Much Fun is Too Much Fun?
As a fan, the Overwatch World Cup was an absolute blast to watch. Similar to All-Star weekend, and the Talent Takedown, in particular, it was just fun to watch players bring some real swagger into the game. It seemed like the USA was not just content with beating Canada in that final match, they seemed like they wanted to crush Canada. Watching that, I could feel the frustration of the Canadian players radiate through my laptop just like I could feel the joy of the US players. It was a stark difference from the sometimes joyless wins that occurred during the OWL.
The downside, however, is that the players clearly weren’t taking it too seriously, at times. It felt like there was nothing at stake in some of those games. When players are having fun while being apathetic, fans will inevitably follow suit. While it’s fun to watch Symmetra and Bastion strategies occasionally, most fans watch competitive esports to see the game played at the highest level.
Giving Everyone a Chance
At the end of the day, this is an inevitable reality of Overwatch World Cup Qualifiers. Teams made up entirely of OWL-level players are always going to beat teams without. To ask those stacked teams to constantly try their hardest is both nonsensical and would be a pain to watch. For unknown players, these qualifiers provide an opportunity to play on stage and prove themselves against the best-of-the-best. For those who have already “made it” to the OWL, the World Cup qualifiers are times where the players can get back to enjoying the game they all once fell in love with.
We will all welcome the OWL back with open arms when it returns for Season 2. Changes will be made to shorten the season and help players stay sane. New rivalries will form out of the releases that have already been made. Season 2, just like Season 1, will be Overwatch at the highest level. However, will Season 2 be fun?
If the World Cup qualifiers have taught us one thing, it’s that a little fun can go a long way in Overwatch. GLHF, Overwatch League Season 2.
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