Overwatch League cancels South Korean events amid Coronavirus concerns - Dexerto
Overwatch

Overwatch League cancels South Korean events amid Coronavirus concerns

Published: 24/Feb/2020 3:20 Updated: 13/Mar/2020 18:22

by Isaac McIntyre

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The Overwatch League has officially canceled plans to host the competition in South Korea in Weeks 5, 6, and 7 due to ongoing Coronavirus concerns surrounding the region, league officials confirmed on February 23.

The premier Overwatch competition had already canceled all homestand events in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou on January 29, but had held off delaying or canceling the Seoul Dynasty homestand event, until now.

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“In order to protect the health and safety of our players, fans, and staff, we are canceling plans to host Overwatch League 2020 matches in South Korea in Weeks 5, 6, and 7, including the Seoul Dynasty home event,” the OWL announced.

This means all matches scheduled to be played as part of the Week 5 event at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, as well as all previously delayed Chinese homestand fixtures which had been moved to South Korea in Weeks 6 and 7, have been canceled.

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Dynasty, who had been in line to play host to six matches over March 7-8, including their home games against the Los Angeles and defending champions San Francisco, also issued a statement regarding the cancellation.

“In order to protect the health and safety of our players, fans, and staff, we will no longer be holding the March Seoul Dynasty Homestand event in Seoul on March 7th and 8th,” the org wrote on Twitter on February 23.

“We are working with the league on rescheduling these matches, and will share more information through the league when available. We are making every effort to ensure our players’ well-being and safety. Please stay safe during this difficult time.”

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The Dynasty also thanked fans for their “understanding,” and confirmed anyone who had purchased tickets for the homestand would be issued a full refund. “We will have more details on the refund process this week,” the org added.

The OWL isn’t the only esports league to have been affected by new concerns surrounding the Coronavirus, now named Covid-19, this week either.

The League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) production team had a scare during its February 23 matchday, when stage host Mina Kim reportedly began feeling ill. She was “taken away” and placed in quarantine soon after.

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China’s top-flight League competition, the LPL, is also still on hiatus after the decision to put the tournament on hold. Teams have begun playing weekly televised scrims, but no official matches have been played since January 19.

Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
As many as half a dozen teams have yet to play a match in the 2020 OWL season.

Atlanta, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Seoul, and Shanghai all have yet to play a match to begin their 2020 OWL season. Meanwhile, some orgs, including Houston, and undefeated pacesetters Philadelphia, have played as many as four.

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Blizzard has yet to announce when the delayed Chinese and South Korean matches will take place, but it’s likely the two-dozen plus series will now be moved to an event or events in the United States, pending league confirmation.

Overwatch

Jeff Kaplan reveals his ideal competitive Overwatch meta

Published: 8/Oct/2020 3:13

by Theo Salaun

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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. 

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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. 

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Brigitte stuns Junkrat on Volskaya
Blizzard Entertainment
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.

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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.”

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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.

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