As a community, Overwatch players and esports fans got some good stuff from Blizzard in 2019. Two new heroes, two new maps, the Overwatch Workshop, Role Queue and much more in terms of patch notes, updates and even seasonal events. The Overwatch League expanded to include eight new teams for the 2019 season. A new champion was crowned in the San Francisco Shock. A lot of great stuff happened to Overwatch in 2019.
However, Christmas is also the season of giving, and besides the prospects of merch in one’s stocking stuffers, fans have a lot to look forward to in 2020. Without further ado, here’s everything we want for Christmas from Overwatch in 2020 (besides the Dallas Fuel socks).
Remember Overwatch Workshop? Since its May release, the community has made a ton of fun game modes that stretch the game’s code to its limits. The fact that Blizzard was able to add Hero Gauntlet, a Workshop game mode, to the Arcade rotation was fantastic. Ostensibly, Blizzard was taking community creations and introducing them into the official lineup of game modes.
Sadly, Hero Gauntlet seems to have been a flash in the pan. Not since then has Blizzard introduced any community-created game modes into Arcade. Even getting to the Workshop involves digging through custom game menus and copying codes from Reddit. Which is truly a shame.
Adding Workshop modes to Arcade felt like a validation of the community. In a day and age where Activision Blizzard places a lot of emphasis on the pro scene, it was nice to have something that belonged to ordinary players. May 2020 bring that back.
Needless to say, Overwatch 2 is the biggest reason fans are hyped for next year. Blizzard has not announced an official release date for the game. However, that hasn’t stopped speculation about a 2020 release from swirling around the internet. The “narrative focus” that this sequel-expansion hybrid will bring to the Overwatch universe is welcome in a game with such a vibrant cast of characters.
With this in mind, fans will hopefully be getting some insights into Overwatch’s story. In the three and a half years since its release, we still don’t know a lot about the game’s narrative beyond Winston’s recall. Many characters haven’t had much revealed about them besides their lore pages and in-game interactions. Lucio, in particular, has his own cereal and an album release, but no appearance in any cinematic or prose published by Blizzard to date.
Overwatch has a vibrant story to tell, one that has captured imaginations of those who play its game. Hopefully Blizzard will keep telling that story in the coming new year.
OWL 2020 on the Home Turf
Activision Blizzard is constantly looking to grow the number of eyeballs that tune into the Overwatch League every week. They have courted major brands, disseminated broadcast rights and have converted the Overwatch League to a “home and away” format for next season.
Bringing teams home is a positive development for fans. No longer will inhabitants of the American Midwest have to schlep themselves out to California to witness an Overwatch League match. Being in an arena with thousands of other Overwatch fans is something that can’t be replicated on any streaming platform. 2020 is already sure to bring that experience home for many people.
Additionally, this may be an opportunity for local communities of Overwatch fans to rally around their teams in person. More local engagement means increased incentive for fan-organized meetups or watch parties. Hopefully in 2020, the Overwatch League will be able to cultivate excitement for regional teams in local communities as well as on the international stage.
Shake Up the Standings
Everyone loves an underdog. After season one, arguably everyone in the fanbase was secretly a fan of the Shanghai Dragons. While no comeback story will ever be quite as epic as Shanghai’s, there are several teams that could use their own moments of glory in 2020.
The Dallas Fuel had a rough go of it during the 2019 season. After making the cut for playoffs in Stage 2, Dallas ended their season at the bottom of the Pacific Division. Being one of the major homestand teams of the upcoming season, Dallas has some big shoes to fill.
The Houston Outlaws are another team that deserve a comeback. Their roster has not significantly changed this offseason, but they will have to make some changes in 2020 in order to stay abreast of the competition.
Paris Eternal is a newer team that hasn’t really had their opportunity to shine. With their young roster, Paris is playing the long game. However, once Han-been “Hanbin” Choi and Yeong-han “Sp9rk1e” Kim are free and clear to play, Paris may be a formidable force.
Overwatch fans and Overwatch League fans are a difficult bunch to please sometimes. However, with the upcoming changes to the game and the professional scene, the New Year should have something for everyone.
Featured Image courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
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