While xQc has been a full-time streamer since his departure from the Overwatch League in March 2018, the former pro still takes interest in the state of the game, and as ever isn’t afraid to give his unfiltered opinion.
While the Overwatch League itself expanded in 2019, bringing in eight new teams and consequently offering more spots for pro players with the guaranteed salaries and protections that come with the OWL, the opportunities for players to make a living outside of the league are much more limited.
Beneath the Overwatch League is the Blizzard-run Overwatch Contenders, but many fans and players have been critical at the level of investment from the developers in tier two competition, especially given the lack of third-party tournaments.
“Blizzard isn’t marketing tier two in any way, shape, or form,” xQc stated. “They make no attempt at making things exciting for tier two.”
To illustrate his point, xQc opened Microsoft Paint and began to draw a representation of the various levels of Overwatch competition, starting with the Overwatch League itself, followed by tier two competition – Overwatch Contenders – and then a long drop off to “tier three”.
“Here we’ve got everything that is tier three, and in that you have poverty, homelessness, despair, and depression. But the thing with Blizzard is that they’re slowly trying to merge tier two together, at which point there won’t be that many differences between tier two and tier three.”
xQc’s rather scathing appraisal of the tier-2 Overwatch scene comes after the Los Angeles Gladiators announced that they would be pulling their academy team, Gladiators Legion – for whom xQc was a substitute player – out of Contenders.
LA Gladiators aren’t the only Overwatch League team to have withdrawn from Contenders. New York Excelsior also announced that they would be discontinuing XL2 Academy for 2020, and earlier in 2019 Florida Mayhem, San Francisco Shock, and Paris Eternal also stopped fielding teams in Contenders.