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Archive • Feb 03, 2018

It Turns Out Overwatch Hero D.Va Wasn't a Professional StarCraft Player

It turns out Overwatch hero D.Va might not have been a StarCraft pro after all. While responding to a question on Twitter regarding whether or not D.Va had ever played Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch Lead Writer Michael Chu claimed that D.Va’s StarCraft Pro status was a “common misconception”, and StarCraft wasn’t in fact her best game. It’s not too hard to understand why there’s a misconception on the topic, given that D.Va’s original reveal, for which D.Va was given a profile (which has since been removed) on the StarCraft WCS site, explicitly referenced her status as the “#1 ranked player” in StarCraft and her three-year undefeated streak in the game.

At the age of 16, D.Va became the #1 ranked player in the world and proceeded to go undefeated for the next three years in all competitions. D.Va is an international star, beloved by her fans at home and abroad, and has toured in exhibitions around the world. Recently, she has taken a step back from competition to focus on her commitment to protect the safety of her homeland.
After fans reacted with perhaps understandable surprise to the sudden revelation that this was in fact false – or at the least, misleading – Michael Chu took to the Blizzard forums to clarify in more detail.

Misconception probably wasn’t the right way to describe it, more like something that we haven’t clarified properly. I think the best I can do here is give the backstory (har har) on how we got here: Going back to when we announced D.Va as a hero, we had been experimenting with using different methods of teasing new characters. We thought it’d be fun to use the StarCraft WCS site and slip D.Va in as she had a background as a pro gamer (this all happened before she was officially announced). At the time, I actually worried that it would be taken as canon, but I was hoping elements like the fact her preferred race was listed as “random” and the fact she couldn’t have competed in the current series would help defray that. In hindsight, yeah… pretty confusing. D.Va is absolutely a world champion professional gamer which was what got her recruited into MEKA in the first place. However her best game wasn’t StarCraft (which was what I was attempting to clarify). We imagined that she was most known and specialized in a game with a skillset that was closer mapped to the skills that she (and the other MEKA pilots) utilized while piloting their mechs. That said, D.Va has definitely played more than her fair share of StarCraft (as she references in some of her lines in Overwatch) and a slew of other games. Bonus fact: StarCraft is one of D.Va’s father’s favorite games! And he was pretty good at it. Ultimately, I totally recognize that with the way we initially teased D.Va and since we didn’t specifically say otherwise in her official backstory, the distinction was pretty unclear.

While it’s not a totally implausible explanation, another one seems perhaps a little more likely – Blizzard have fleshed out D.Va’s story since the initial reveal, and decided that the direction they want to take her and the wider Overwatch World would be better suited to a slightly different story. Whether Blizzard are indeed retconning D.Va’s backstory – perhaps in anticipation of a comic or animated short exploring the character in more detail – or simply correcting an earlier mistake, it seems the official line on the character is now clear: she was a professional gamer, but not in StarCraft.