The Overwatch League takes risks with the Overwatch 2 beta, but long-term growth is at stake

Overwatch League players competed in a familiar stable game for the first four years of the esports league franchise.

Next season, which begins Thursday with a head-to-head game between Dallas Fuel and the Houston Outlaws on Friday, will venture into uncharted territory.

2022 season depends on Monitor 2 Beta, which was released to the public last week. The OWL leadership and players see this as an opportunity rather than an omen in a crucial year for esports.

“I think it’s a good thing they’re implementing the change because the game itself has been losing popularity,” Dallas Fuel Tank star Choi “Hanbin” Han said via an interpreter. “Personally, I like it. I didn’t think much about it being my livelihood or anything else. I just think it’s a good change.”

Change can be good, but it doesn’t come without risks.

There’s nothing natural about an esport game being played on beta, especially when the stakes are higher than ever for Activision Blizzard, which Microsoft acquired in January for $68.7 billion after a lawsuit-ridden 2021. According to the Overwatch League, its average YouTube viewership rose 40% from 2020 to 2021, but that trend can’t hit a wall with a $20 million franchise purchase.

Now the professions of players and coaches are based on a beta version.

OWL players finally got their hands on the alpha version of Monitor 2 In early March, six months after the association announced that it would move the competition from Note and watch to an early version of Monitor 2.

This move is unprecedented in the current esports climate. The Call of Duty League didn’t start until three months later Call of Duty: Vanguard Released. Valorantone of the rising global esports, went six months after the game was launched in June 2020 even before an esports league was announced.

Overwatch League professionals had five weeks to train Monitor 2 Before the competition, but the basic identity of the game they played for half a decade still stands, Even if the official release date of Monitor 2 is still unknown.

Moving from 6 vs 6 to 5 vs 5 discussed by Note and watch For developers long before the OWL season – while there have been complaints about some new items in Monitor 2The developers promised more to come on Tuesday. It is expected that it will be easier for players and casual viewers to assimilate.

Watch League president Sean Miller previously said he expects it Monitor 2 To attract new fans and players. He wanted the schedule to be more convenient for the teams, but was pleased with the beta version of the game, which pulled Note and watchTop 1.4 million viewers on Twitch on April 27. It broke the previous record of 461,000.

“I think we all wished, in hindsight, that that could have come soon,” Miller said. “I think the five weeks they had to prepare for have been great, with a lot of good feedback. At the end of the day, it went really well.”

Monitor 2 It may be in its infancy, and it didn’t arrive without scrutiny, but it’s a long-running OWL game in the growth of esports.

Madison Rudolph of Bedford, Texas, and other Dallas Fuels fans celebrate defeating the Houston Outlaws in the Overwatch League game at Esports Stadium in Arlington on Friday, July 9, 2021. Dallas Fuels defeated Houston in The Battle for Texas, 3-0. It was the first in-person live competition for fans in over a year. Houston competed from their hometown. (Tom Fox/Dallas Morning News).(Tom Fox/staff photographer)

Why Watch 2?

Monitor 2 It was announced in November 2019, then Blizzard darkened the game.

Professional gamers, content creators, and a regular spent the next two years speculating about what the sequel might be like. There were only still images, trailers, short clips, and news of launch delays for the autopsy.

Why compete in the league? Monitor 2? we will, Note and watch Turning stale after the damage, Champion Echo was the last significant addition in April 2020. Note and watch It’s been a well-balanced game for the past couple of years, but it also didn’t have major updates while the developers worked on the sequel.

Note and watch Esports and its followers needed something new, with consistent updates. Fans who are equally enthusiastic and pessimistic about the condition of . will be amplified Note and watch Thanks to the wonders of social media. Playing the old game can be as risky as using Monitor 2 beta.

Professional gamers and OWL broadcasts will be the driving force for success, especially with the real effects of playing on a relatively unknown beta in the near future.

“At first, yes. I remember when it was first announced, my expectation was ‘Ah, there will be a lot of bugs and problems,’” said Stephen “Floop” Coronel, head coach of the Vancouver Titans. “But honestly, from running it you wouldn’t know it was a beta.”

Note and watch Developers know the task at hand when production Monitor 2′ The multiplayer demo. This cannot be like other experimental video games. There was no room for an unbalanced hero, game-breaking bugs, or slow response time from the developers.

The Wrecking Ball had to be removed from the first week of competition. The tank hero was under the meta, and there shouldn’t be much effect. It could have been a lot worse if teams had spent weeks using the Wrecking Ball in brawls.

The Monitor 2 Miller said the beta has weekly updates, if not more. And there was less need for corrections in recent weeks compared to the alpha version in March.

“I think the big thing that we knew had to be true was that it needed to be supported. It needed to be balanced recursively. Even if there was no public beta, it had to be supported,” Miller said. It was one of the main reasons why I came back (to Note and watch) was listening to plans Monitor 2 this chapter.”

The game was mostly well received, although initial reviews for Dallas Fuel were mixed.

The beta version has been released with one new hero and four new maps, including two maps for the recently introduced “push” game mode. But there is a learning curve for professionals in the uncommon 5 vs 5 era. Coronel said the OWL teams tried to practice 5 vs 5 at first Note and watch Game in dedicated lobbies, but extras like passive abilities of healers and Doomfist as a tank were hard to imitate.

Novice players like Han “ChiYo” Hyeon-seok, who was hilarious when asked about his OWL debut, have more to prove than ever.

“There was this game I was playing Note and watch. Han said via an interpreter. “But now that I’ve had to prove myself again in a new game, and this is my first season, it’s a bit overwhelming.”

Han, like everyone else in Note and watch The scene, he must adapt.

related to the game

Imagine your job was moving to a new building, there were layoffs and every role was adjusted. That might be stressful. Overwatch League players felt that, especially tanks because only one tank would be able to play at any moment Monitor 2.

Jeong “Heesu” Hee-su, a damaged Toronto Defiant player, was unsure what to think.

“I wouldn’t have said I had a positive reaction when I heard about it because I played 6v6 for four years at that point,” Jeong said via an interpreter. “I think we found it a little uncomfortable to have to adjust everything.”

London Spitfire head coach Christopher “ChrisTFer” has been Graham half-full of glass from the start.

“Our future and career are tied to the health of the game,” Graham said.

Any change was good for Note and watch in his belief. It’s hard to argue with numbers.

Note and watchThe best day for Twitch came when beta access was available to those watching the stream Monitor 2 – This weekend’s OWL matches will see a beta drop as well, which indicates a strong viewership.

OWL needed as many people as possible playing the beta. Trying to understand an esport you’ve never played would be ambitious. This was a concern for Dallas Fuel’s head coach Yoon “Rush” Hee Won. He noted that the main draw of esports is that people play the game too, and they want to know how the professionals do it.

Professionals won’t be perfect in the early days of Monitor 2.

“Given that there is not that much time for professional players to play the game itself, it may have affected the quality of the matches we will be watching,” Yoon said via an interpreter.

In all likelihood, the Dallas Fuel and other OWL teams will bend the ways anyone thinks Monitor 2 can be played. Miller said that was part of the development teams process. Their employees couldn’t have predicted how Hanbin would play Domfest. Everyone learns.

Miller, who is anticipating a huge season for the Overwatch League, felt the beta was just a starting point.

“I think it’s going to bring in a lot of new faces in the players,” Miller said. “When that happens, the entire ecosystem grows.”

Find more fuel coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

Discover more esports coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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