Last Week in E-Sports: Who watches the Overwatch?

Last week in e-sports it was Overwatch, Overwatch, Overwatch! New tournaments, new leagues, new bugs, new teams, and a new player milestone saturated last week’s e-sports news with everyone’s favorite team-based shooter. Aside from that, we have tournament results from Dreamhack and the CWL, as well as a ton of League of Legends roster changes to tell you about.

Overwatch Pros to Form Completely Educational Team

A new Overwatch team is forming, but that team won’t just be competing. Instead, they will teach scrubs like us how to get good at the game. The team, called Team Välfärd, will consist of Cloud9 player Lucas "Mendokusaii" Håkansson, former Fnatic player Oliver "Vonethil" Lager, former Misfits player Kalle "Zave" Nilsson, inactive Cloud9 player Ruben "ryb" Ljungdahl, free agent Gustaf "kangakanga" Leufstedt, and Twitch streamer Overpowered.

They are branding this as an educational project. They will stream all their scrims and log all their play-sessions, providing point of view commentary on each action they take. In addition, each of their matches will be shown simultaneously with a top down view, letting you see where every player is at all times. Their general goal is to improve the Overwatch community. While they do plan on competing in official tournaments, they have vowed to put any money they win back into the Overwatch scene.

Overwatch Hits 30 Million Players

Overwatch is now one of the most popular games of all time. Blizzard has just announced that their arcade style first-person shooter has surpassed 30 million players. "More than 30 million players have charged into Overwatch," Blizzard said in a tweet. "Thanks for grouping up with us, heroes. We couldn't ask for a better team."

D.Va Breaks Overwatch

For a brief moment, D.Va was completely removed from Overwatch due to a game breaking bug. For some reason, her presence within a match would cause crashes, freezes, and disconnects, and would even cause Overwatch servers to suddenly switch maps. This was particularly confusing because the D.Va lockout happened without Overwatch going down, so several players found that they could not switch to D.Va in the middle of a match! Luckily Blizzard fixed the issue in a short eight hours and D.Va can now be played as normal.

Voting Has Begun for the Overwatch World Cup Selection Committees

The second phase of voting in the Overwatch World Cup has begun. The top 32 regions have been determined, and now fans will choose the representatives for those regions. Blizzard has nominated 10 different community figures for each position and voters are able to choose up to three candidates on the official Overwatch World Cup website. You must own a copy of Overwatch and be logged into your Blizzard account to vote. 

Europe Is Getting a New Overwatch LAN Event

The Overwatch scene has been a little dry in Europe recently, but that is about to change. Tournament organizers TaKeTV will host the Overwatch TaKeOver 2 in Krefeld, Germany. Six teams will be directly invited, with two spots up for grabs in qualifiers. Currently, Rogue and Ninjas in Pyjamas have been invited, though the rest of the line-up has not been revealed. The first qualifying event will begin on May 6 and the second will start on May 13. The event proper will run from June 1 - 4 and will have a $50,000 prize pool at stake.

Michael Van Driel Says Large Overwatch Tournaments Make No Sense

While Overwatch is easily one of the fastest growing games on the market right now, it’s not growing as fast as many would like in the e-sports scene. Why is that? Well, according to DreamHack e-sports director Michael Van Driel, it’s because of Blizzard’s licensing process. Small Overwatch tournaments can be run without any license whatsoever, but larger tournaments require an official license from Blizzard. The amount of extra revenue these large tournaments bring in is not worth the time or money that it takes to obtain the license, especially with how picky Blizzard is in giving them out.

That being said, all of this may change when Blizzard’s Overwatch League kicks into high gear, but for now it just does not make fiscal sense to try and hold a big Overwatch tournament. Unfortunately, this might harm Overwatch in the long run, as any time spent out of the e-sports spotlight is time that hinders the game’s general popularity.

The LPL Adopts a Franchising Model

After last week’s story about Riot considering a franchise model for upcoming League of Legends competitions, China’s LPL league has decided to just go ahead and do it. All teams that are currently qualified for the Summer Split will be given franchise spots and relegation will be completely abolished. The league will be expanded to 14 teams in 2018, though the process by which that will happen is uncertain, and the eventual goal is to have 20 fully operational teams in the league within the next few years. Now we just have to wait and see if North America will follow suit.

Tournament Results

  • Dreamhack Austin wrapped up last week with Victor "Punk" Woodley winning Street Fighter V, Team Liquid’s Juan "Hungrybox" Debiedma taking home the Super Smash Bros. Melee victory, and Gonzalo “ZeRo” Barrios taking home the trophy in Smash 4.
  • SuperMassive advanced out of the play-in stage for MSI’s LoL competition this year. They will move on to face either TSM or the Flash Wolves in the best of five next weekend for a chance at the main event.
  • Team WE have defeated rivals Royal Never Give Up in the LPL Spring Finals to claim their first regional title and their slot in the Mid-Season Invitational.
  • Evil Geniuses and FaZe Clan have come out on top of the Blue Group in the CWL Pro League. The Yellow Group will be competing for their playoff spots next weekend in Columbus, Ohio.
  • After a grueling five days of competition, Europe’s OG are the new champions of the DOTA2 Kiev Major after pulling out a win in an insanely close series against Virtus Pro.

The Roster Shuffle

  • Oskar “VandeR” Bogdan is leaving Schalke 04’s League of Legends team after his contract expires. Rumors point toward him signing with another LCS team, though it is currently unclear what that team will be.
  • Hampus "sprattel" Mikael and Na “Pilot” Woo-Hyung are both leaving Paris Saint-Germain’s LoL team. The team will be looking to build a stronger bottom lane for the summer season, but no prospects have been revealed yet.
  • Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng will be making a return to Team SoloMid after a short break from competitive play. "After last season's Worlds, I was overwhelmed by the weight of my massive underperformance when it mattered most," Doublelift said. "Coming back into LCS, my only priority is to win Worlds and nothing else."
  • The Misfits have parted ways with jungler Lee "KaKAO" Byung-kwon after the recent LoL meta shift. His replacement is rumored to be Nubar "Maxlore" Sarafian.
  • Felipe “YoDa” Noronha of Brazil's RED Canids will be banned from competitive League of Legends play for three months after tweeting racially derogatory statements toward Japanese players. He will be fined $2,000 and a replacement will need to be found for the upcoming season.
  • Yoo “NaeHyun” Nae-hyun and Jacob “Cinkrof” Rokicki will both be departing from Origen. This leaves only Enrique "xPeke" Cedeño Martínez, the team’s owner, on the roster.