The worldwide pandemic has brought live events to a screeching halt across all esports leagues. But one of the events Overwatch fans worry the most about, is the Overwatch World Cup. The past two years of the OWWC have been some of the most electric and entertaining weeks of Overwatch outside of the Overwatch League Grand Finals. The World Cup allows players to join their countrymen as they compete against the best in the world, while representing their country. It’s an event that has brought unknown players to prominence and even has landed several standouts spots on Overwatch League teams.
However, there is a growing concern that Blizzard does not want the OWWC to continue. Fans of the event are worried that with last year’s scattered production value and lack of promotion, that Blizzard wasn’t as invested into the event as years past. Now combined with a global crisis, it appears that Blizzard has the perfect excuse to not hold a World Cup tournament for 2020. While the fans have worries about the event not running due to disinterest from the company, the people in charge are fighting for a way to still make it happen.
Hearing from the People in Charge
A few days before the Grand Finals, The Game Haus had the opportunity to ask a few questions to OWL’s Senior Manager of Product Strategy, Sean Miller and Senior Manager of League Operations, Adam Mierzejewski. After some great questions focused around the Grand Finals and the 2021 season on the horizon, TGH wanted to know if they felt the same way as the fans do about the OWWC.
“If things change, and we are in a better state, and miracles happen,” Mierzejewski started “we can make the adjustment,” he said answering our question about OWWC occurring at the same time as BlizzCon next February. While it may sound like a non-answer, Mierzejewski mentions a good point about the Overwatch team as a whole. Even during a global pandemic, the Overwatch League production team was able to create lives matches for fans to watch at home. It is this strength against adversity and ingenuity in the face of hardship Mierzejewski believes there is still a shot somewhere down the line for a OWWC. Mierzejewski left the question with a message of positivity, saying “ I think we’ve proven this year we can turn things around and make a change based off of the real life circumstances and next year isn’t going to be any different“.
A Ray of Hope for OWWC
On the other hand, Sean followed up with much more enthusiasm for the event. The moment Mierzejewski finished his sentence, Miller said something fans may not have expected from a Senior member of the Overwatch team. “We love the world cup,” Miller proclaimed, “we want to make it happen”.
Miller continued to praise the Overwatch World Cup and its electric live audience. “We saw earlier with live events that nothing brought the energy and passion [quite like them]. We want to see all the fans in the stadium, we want to see that energy back”. It’s clear that Miller and the rest of the Overwatch team truly value the live-event experience for both fans and players. Overwatch World Cup will most likely depend on the status of the world in regards to the pandemic, and if the event can even have an audience.
Hoping Things Get Better
The team behind the Overwatch League has proven they are able to make adjustments and produce professional Overwatch matches despite the world climate. This bodes extremely well for the Overwatch World Cup, as it will take some serious ingenuity and creative solutions in order to organize a massive event like this. Better yet, it doesn’t sound like Blizzard has completely given up on the OWWC. In fact, they feel the opposite – the Overwatch League wants to see a OWWC. They are just cautious, as they want to make sure a live audience can safely enjoy the event.
The good news for Overwatch World Cup fans going forward, is that Miller does have plans to keep people in the loop. “I think you can definitely expect to hear something about World Cup”.
Featured image courtesy of Carlton Beener and Activision Blizzard
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