The Overwatch League starts with Overwatch, a team shooter dubbed “the TF2 killer.” It introduced the iconic characters of the franchise through storytelling and constant marketing. Over the years, Overwatch grew in popularity and created a professional scene for itself.
This scene is called the Overwatch League, or OWL for short, and featured the best OW players and teams. It poised itself to be the runaway winner for hottest esport in its heyday.
However, there are challenges when running an esport. As the developer who needs to make it all come together, your best move is to guide. There are also some things a developer should not do if they want to grow their esport.
An esport scene cannot be created through artificial means. While unofficial pro play happened, the OWL sought to reconstruct professional Overwatch tournaments.
Game Design of Overwatch
Overwatch is the brainchild of Blizzard Entertainment back in 2016. It took the world by storm, with over 9 million concurrent players in the first days of open beta. Professional overwatch games soon took public attention and more people tried their hands at the game.
The meta of normal and professional games is quite back and forth. When a Pubstar experiments, the pros try it out, and when it works, they execute it in official matches. This is how to patch metas created in live service games.
This became the catalyst for the GOATS strategy. A style of professional play that ultimately butchered the professional scene’s hype. When you pair 3 tanks with 3 supports, you get a boring slugfest of HP and indefinite sustain.
It meant that players who perfected mechanical game aspects are now playing less mechanically demanding heroes. That meant that the value of getting players who click heads diminished. Players who fall into this category of skill are now few and far between in the present.
Experimental Structure of Overwatch League
Franchising is a sort of system that traditional sports leagues follow. It sees some drawbacks and benefits when used in an esport title’s tournament system. Riot Games implemented franchising in its leagues of both League of Legends and Valorant.
It promotes more investment in inviting teams, leading to more benefits for players and owners. But this means that not every team can compete, as the regulations are stringent.
This venture had a bad look from organizations looking into the OWL. To enter the OWL, organizations need to put up a cost of over 20 million dollars upfront. That is without the operating costs, salaries of the players, and other miscellaneous costs.
It is, from the outsiders looking in, too expensive of a commitment for anyone. It is fun to see these players compete, but consider that the franchise money could’ve gone somewhere else.
Furthermore, it’s a problem to get to the root of this problem of viewership and losing profits in esports. This issue is found its way into other competitive titles. Esports is not prospering like it did in previous years. Don’t forget that Blizzard Entertainment is also a shell of its former self.
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