Overwatch League champs Sinatraa & Super want major change to role lock - Dexerto
Esports

Overwatch League champs Sinatraa & Super want major change to role lock

Published: 2/Oct/2019 16:24 Updated: 5/Oct/2019 15:56

by Michael Gwilliam

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Ever since role was implemented in Overwatch, OWL MVP Jay ‘Sinatraa’ Won has been unable to play arguably his best hero in Zarya. However, the superstar has an idea that would change how role-lock functions.

Role lock was implemented at the beginning of Stage 4 of Overwatch League Season 2, forcing teams to run two tanks, two supports and two damage characters. No longer could teams run GOATS (triple tank triple support) that had been the dominant composition for much of OWL’s second season.

At the moment, while players can switch roles between maps, they can’t do so during a game, meaning that players have to stay on whatever role they had when the map began.

Robert Paul for Blizzard EntertainmentSinatraa and Super takes questions at the Overwatch League Press Day.

Sinatraa became known for his Zarya play during the triple tank, triple support GOATS meta, but in an era where he’s forced to play damage roles or be classified as a tank player for a whole map, it is unlikely that he’ll be able to show off his skills with the character any more. 

“It’s a very rare small chance that I play Zarya in the future,” Sinatraa told Dexerto at the OWL Grand Finals Media Day.

Blizzard EntertainmentSinatraa won OWL MVP in part due to his Zarya play.

Matthew ‘super’ DeLisi also told us that he thought when 2-2-2 was announced he would have been allowed to swap roles with his teammates in spawn.

He said: “When I first found out 2-2-2 was coming, I thought, ‘how are they going to do that’? If you stay in spawn for another role can you swap?” 

While in ladder the idea of swapping roles with teammates may not function well as people specifically queue to play a certain role within their SR range, in organized play, the idea has the support of the two Team USA powerhouses. 

“I would like to see that to a degree, for sure,” Sinatraa added. “Like switching mid-game.” 

Robert Paul for Blizzard EntertainmentSuper and Rascal dominated the regular season on Reinhardt and Brigitte.

What does the Shock think about hero bans in Overwatch?

When discussing meta shifts, Dexerto also asked the pair for their thoughts on hero bans. Hero bans is a concept that some tournaments have implemented in which both teams would ban a select number of heroes before a map, creating a more diverse meta.

Both Sinatraa and Super were in agreement that there simply aren’t enough heroes in the game yet for bans to be a good idea. 

“I don’t think hero bans will be a thing,” Sinatraa said. “There’s too little heroes in Overwatch and they matter too much. Each hero matters too much for hero bans to be a thing.”

However, the league MVP went on to say that if the game added “way more heroes” he wouldn’t be opposed. 

Tyler Demogenes for Blizzard EntertainmentThe San Francisco Shock defeated the Vancouver Titans in the OWL Grand Finals.

“If they added more heroes it would make more sense,” Super chimed in. “Right now, probably not.”

Grant ‘moth’ Espe echoed his teammate’s thoughts. “I don’t think there’s enough heroes right now to make hero bans useful and I feel like it would put a lot more stress on the players because instead of having to learn one meta, you’d have to be able to learn a bunch of different ways to play and it would be a lot more work.” 

Robert Paul for Blizzard EntertainmentMoth doesn’t think hero bans are a good idea for Overwatch at the moment.

With 2-2-2 role lock morphing the meta more than midway through the season, there’s no telling what new features or changes will be implemented to the game come Season 3. But given how the Shock were able to adapt so smoothly from GOATS to 2-2-2 and, eventually, the double barrier Sigma meta, it seems like they’d be up for any challenge thrown their way. 

The Shock defeated the Vancouver Titans 4-0 in the Overwatch League Grand Finals on September 29 to win their first OWL title. 

Business

Activision in talks to reduce fees owed by CDL & Overwatch League teams

Published: 2/Dec/2020 22:14 Updated: 2/Dec/2020 22:35

by Theo Salaun

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Recent reports from The Esports Observer indicate that Activision Blizzard are in the midst of discussions to possibly reduce the amount the amount owed by Overwatch League and Call of Duty League franchises as part of their entry fees.

With all OWL and CDL plans derailed over the past year, Activision are reportedly trying to rework the hefty investments that organizations have made into their franchising opportunities. When the massive game development company pitched both leagues, neither was expected to be profitable in the short-term, but projections have taken an even greater hit due to current global restrictions.

A groundbreaking esports concept centered around the city-based model that is used in traditional sports, Activision required $20 million entry fees for the OWL’s first 12 teams and then fees in the range between $30 to $60 million for its next eight. For the CDL’s inaugural season, 12 teams needed to put up at least $25 million apiece, even more for cities that were in high-demand.

Now that the plans for local events have understandably shifted, neither league is expanding for their next season and ownership groups in both are looking for ways to save cash. As reported by The Esports Observer’s Adam Stern, this has engendered cost-cutting discussions with Activision’s latest new senior executive hire, Tony Petitti.

overwatch league 2020 event crowd
Ben Pursell For Blizzard Entertainment
One of the many avid crowds at Overwatch League events.

Petitti, formerly Major League Baseball’s deputy commissioner, was hired by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick to a senior role involved with both of their leagues as the President of Sports and Entertainment. He joins Johanna Faries, a former National Football League executive, who brings a traditional sports perspective as the commissioner for both the CDL and OWL.

Given their experience with city-based sports leagues, Activision is likely aware of the profitability challenges that their current esport and sport investment groups are facing. As such, it should be no surprise that they are willing to have conversations about concessions that can make current projections fit closer to the original expectations.

As Stern reports, those discussions have included discounting some of the original entry fees: “one idea that is being weighed is reducing the amount of money they owe to the video game maker.” 

Call of Duty League LAN
Call of Duty League
Following in the OWL’s footsteps, the CDL also had huge enthusiasm for live events.

With Immortals Gaming Club selling their Los Angeles Call of Duty franchise to 100 Thieves and reportedly being interested in selling their OWL spot as well, many are wondering if franchise valuations have shifted.

Fortunately, it appears that the profitability projections have remained somewhat consistent despite current predicaments. As reported by Forbes’ Christina Settimi, 100 Thieves COO John Robinson would not set an exact figure on their LA Thieves purchase, but suggested that “franchise values have held up.”

Activision would likely want to avoid an exodus of owners, so these discussions to cut costs and protect brand health are reportedly ongoing.