Dallas Fuel has denied the Los Angeles Valiant a perfect stage in their final match of Stage 4.
Dallas Fuel took down the Valiant, who were until then 9-0 in Stage 4, with a 3-1 victory to deny them a flawless stage.
As a result, Boston Uprising, who pulled of a 10-0 record in the regular season matches of Stage 3, will remain the only team to manage the feat in Season One of the Overwatch League.
Stage 4 has seen a massive turn-around for the Dallas Fuel. Despite high pre-season expectations, the Fuel were incredibly disappointing for the first three stages of the league, bottoming out at a 1-9 Stage 3 record.
In the fourth and final stage, however, the Fuel has managed to find some measure of redemption, finding form and collecting as many wins here as in the rest of the season combined. While it came far too late for any shot at the season playoffs, Dallas has at least managed to end on a high note.
With this win, the Dallas Fuel does have a strong chance of reaching the stage playoffs. They could be knocked from fourth-place by the Philadelphia Fusion, but it would require the Fusion beating the London Spitfire 4-0 in their final game.
The other benefactor of the result is the Los Angeles Valiant, who consequently finish in first place in stage standings. Both teams now have a 9-1 record in the stage, but the Gladiators take the top spot with a better map differential, which will mean their choice of opponent for the semi-finals of the stage playoffs.
Blizzard Entertainment’s Vice President and Overwatch’s beloved Game Director Jeff Kaplan has revealed what he thinks is the ideal competitive meta for the expansive title.
Overwatch exists in many forms, from its highest ranks to its lowest, but the game’s competitive meta at the professional level has also varied greatly since the original release back in May 2016.
In the olden days, teams prioritized dive compositions led by Winston’s jumps and Tracer’s blinks. Then, in 2019, fans around the world either groaned or cheered as the divisive GOATS meta took center-stage, featuring a hefty squad built entirely with tanks and supports.
Now, Kaplan is explaining his perspective on the game’s ideal state, following criticisms he levied back in July against the game’s double-shield reliance. Examining the game’s departure from a static, Orisa and Sigma-dependent environment, he dissects his compository ideology.
Barriers have held an uncomfortably powerful role in Overwatch for a long time.
As discussed in an interview with the Loadout, Kaplan is both aware of the professional scene’s interests and the casual base’s tendencies. Coupling those factors, he believes the game is at its best when there is some blend of high skill caps and diverse team compositions.
“The most ideal, healthiest state of the game is when the meta is somewhat fluid, when the meta is more map dependent or team match up dependent than it is static. We’ve all seen those moments when the meta has been completely static and all six players will just play the same six heroes every time. I think that’s fun from a mastery standpoint, but I think it’s a lot more exciting for viewers when creativity and curiosity come into play,” he said.
When Kaplan refers to a “static” meta, the simplest example is 2019’s GOATS, where three healers (Brigitte, Lucio, and Moira) were coupled with three tanks (D.Va, Reinhardt, and Zarya) and would barrel into opponents.
It took tremendous teamwork to be pulled off successfully against other professional teams, but many fans considered it more tedious than entertaining after months of gameplay.
In its current state, Overwatch is not completely balanced, but there is a degree of variety to it. That diversity seen in the Overwatch League spans downward into the casual ranks. Kaplan indicates that this is in line with his department’s hopes.
“I think most of our players would say in the ideal meta, all our heroes would be viable in some way competitively. I think as a competitive goal from a game designing and game balancing perspective that is extremely challenging, but it’s obviously what we strive to achieve.”
While he assures that Overwatch would be completely balanced in an ideal world, in the meantime, his team would at least like to push toward a game that varies to some extent based on coaching, player preference, and map.
It remains to be seen if current and upcoming patches can accomplish that, but Kaplan’s emphasis on “fluidity” is a welcome driving force.