Esports journalist Rod ‘Slasher’ Breslau suspects there are cheaters at the professional or semi-pro level of Overwatch.
Slasher recently took to Twitter to speculate on the likelihood that somewhere in the upper echelons of competitive Overwatch, players are or have cheated in the game.
Overwatch certainly hasn’t lacked for drama and controversy. Season One of the Overwatch League itself saw multiple instances of players being disciplined for their behavior out of game, while a couple of players were suspended for their involvement in boosting services. Outside of OWL, there have been reports of match-fixing, or at least attempts to do so.
Notably absent, however, have been any players caught cheating at the highest levels. From the Overwatch League, to third-party tournaments, to the various divisions of Contenders, or even in online competitive play, there hasn’t been a single high-profile instance of a player cheating.
Even notable accusations now seem less frequent, though that wasn’t always the case. In the early days of Overwatch, scepticism regarding outstanding players was far more common. Perhaps the most notable target was Timo ‘Taimou’ Kettunen, whose flashy Widowmaker play was spectacular enough that when he joined Team Envy, they tested him on a freshly-built PC to confirm his legitimacy.
In the Overwatch League era, with millions of dollars in salaries, sponsorships, and prizes on the line for the most successful Overwatch players, Slasher isn’t convinced that everyone is playing fair.
In the three years Overwatch has been out (closed beta), not one pro or semipro OW player has ever been banned by Blizzard for cheating. Same goes for most other major esports games besides CSGO (due to third party anti-cheat). Too much money on the line nowadays. I don't buy it.— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 14, 2018
While all tournaments take precautions against cheating – with the Overwatch League itself the most controlled, being played in Blizzard’s arena and all equipment being provided by the league – cheating certainly insn’t unheard of at the highest level in esports, with the most prominent examples occurring in CS:GO.
It’s worth noting, however, that Slasher’s point is a general one, rather than being aimed at any specific players, regions, or tournaments.