Goodbye to an era. With Overwatch 2 quickly approaching, the end of the first iteration of Overwatch is on the horizon. Not only has this game brought a large community together, shot esport players’ names into recognition, but also has given way to a franchised esport league that was the base for the Call of Duty League. With so many successes as well as failures that came with Overwatch, this has translated into good and bad memories. Here is a look at some of the best Overwatch Tournaments from the first iteration of the beloved game.
Over spawned many new tournaments across the world. So many tournaments appeared once the game was out because of its format of it. Overwatch allowed for a pleasurable viewing experience and as a team game needed not just skill but also strategy. APEX was one of the first large tournaments that were put on for Overwatch players. While the Overwatch World Cup brought Overwatch as a serious competitive game to eyes outside of the community. The biggest achievement, tournament-wise, is the creation of the Overwatch League.
The APEX tournaments brought so many future professional Overwatch League players into the scene. Not only did OGN’s production set a golden standard for the viewers, but also created a lot of content throughout the seasons. The UI and system that OGN ran the tournament allowed both the game to be on the main stage, but also gave the teams a fair chance. Many future tournaments would be held up to OGN’s interviews, SKITS, and Comm videos that they would put out after the matches. The community years after still talks about the karaoke skit that OGN put on during the Grand Final matches. The APEX tournaments highlighted the players and marketed them to be successful.
The tournament was mostly for APAC teams, but teams such as ENVY, C9, and NRG were invited to join. APEX was held in Seoul South Korea and gave all the players’ LAN experience with the stage to the fans that would be cheering for them. These tournaments, brought teams like Lunatic-Hai and Runaway to be household names in the esport community. Not only the teams but fan-favorite players became to come forward. Names like Rascal, Runner, Ryujehong, and Profit all rose to popularity through the APEX tournaments.
Overwatch was played to the highest level at that time in those booths. It inspired many other younger players to pick up the game. Unlike other future tournaments, players didn’t have an age minimum so the fans got to see the prodigies in action right away.
The Overwatch World Cup
If it was the APEX tournaments that help blow up Overwatch in Asia then it was the Overwatch World Cup (OWWC) that helped bring it to the world. The OWWC was unique that it was players of different teams (many times) playing together for their country’s honor and pride. It allowed for dominance to be shown in the tournament brackets.
The OWWC brought break-out performances from players like Cameron ‘Fusions’ Bosworth that thrust him into the Overwatch League. It was a place to see the new talent up against some big veteran names. Not only did the OWWC introduce the community to new faces, but shot Korean veterans into the limelight in North America. Pre-Overwatch League the two regions were very much split when it came to content. The OWWC brought together different regions together and made some players international stars in the Overwatch community.
Iconic plays, such as the Joonhyuk ‘Zunba’ Kim’s Eichenwalde window Zarya Grav are still talked about. It highlighted heroes that others hadn’t even thought to play in certain ways. This was less of a serious tournament for money than it was for fun and the pride of winning. The final matches being at Blizzcon only helped with the visibility of Overwatch as an esport as fans from other games also participated in the convention and were able to see the game in action at high play.
The Overwatch League
Overwatch brought to the community the Overwatch League. It was a new way for the esport community to watch and enjoy the game. Unlike League of Legends, it was marketed as a global league where all the teams came together to play. Though this has changed over time, it was groundbreaking. The creation of this league brought way to Blizzard’s other game Call of Duty forming the CDL.
Not only did the Overwatch League bring a new entertainment value to the matches, but skyrocketed esport players to a new level in North America. It started as a league that was based in LA to now more diverse locations and even have expansion teams from the original teams that started the league. The BALA arena and talent cultivated a following where fans would want to go there to experience what they would see week to week.
The Overwatch League brought Overwatch into a livable profession. Before it was only hard to make money purely on competing if a player wasn’t on a top team. Now with the Overwatch League’s stipulations of a minimum salary and a competitive field the players were able to hash out a contract where it was positive for them. This brought many players on teams that didn’t do as well in the past, such as Byungsun ‘Fleta’ Kim, onto rosters that had the star power to match his own.
Overwatch 1 Tournaments
With the first rendition of the Overwatch League game creating such iconic tournaments, the community can only wonder if Overwatch 2 will continue that legacy. There is no doubt that the Overwatch League will persist with Overwatch 2. But is the creation of the Overwatch League the stifling force of other tournaments as it has in place heavy restrictions on third-party tournaments? It has been years since the last Overwatch World Cup event. OGN is also not been producing Overwatch content consistently since APEX Season 4. With the dawn of Overwatch 2, one can only hope that new tournaments will spring up to further the exposure and joy that the game can bring.
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