The Overwatch Esports Phenomenon
Esports is on the rise everywhere. That includes Thailand which has attracted some big name events like Gareena World recently and has a big gaming scene.
Overwatch is one of the most popular games for competitive gaming and has a large following in Thailand. The Overwatch World Cup is partly held in Bangkok. So what is Overwatch all about?
Overwatch is a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment and released on May 24, 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows. Described as a “hero shooter”, Overwatch assigns players into two teams of six, with each player selecting from a roster of 30 characters ever growing since the first release there has been 5 new characters, known as “heroes”, each with a unique style of play whose roles are divided into three general categories that fit their role. Players on a team work together to secure and defend control points on a map or escort a payload across the map in a limited amount of time.
Overwatch Competitive – At Blizzcon 2016, Blizzard announced their plans for their Overwatch League, using an organization of permanent teams in league placements similar to more traditional North American professional sports leagues, rather than the use of promotion and relegation used in a series like League of Legends Championship Series. Blizzard sought potential team owners including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke, and by November 2017, had established 12 franchises around the world with plans to expand further in later seasons. Contracted players on these franchises are guaranteed a minimum salary, benefits, and revenue sharing. The first season of the League started in January 2018, with teams vying for a US $1 million League winner prize, alongside other winnings from a total prize pool of US$3.5 million. The first season was played at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California, but Blizzard anticipates developing other venues around the world with teams traveling to participate in games.
There were 12 league teams when the league started in 2018 with teams hailing from Boston, Seoul, Houston, Shanghai, San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Two Los Angeles teams, London (UK), Florida and Dallas, there has now been 8 new teams added two from Canada three from China one from France and one from the USA.
Overwatch World Cup – In March 2017, Blizzard announced Overwatch World Cup 2017. The selection of national teams for the 2017 World Cup was different from 2016 in that participating nations were required to vote for an Overwatch World Cup National Committee. The National Committees were based upon nominations chosen by Blizzard; according to Blizzard, “analysts, coaches, statisticians, and other authorities” recommended rosters for all stages of the competition. Blizzard announced the 2017 World Cup participants in April. The 2017 World Cup experienced an issue with several players on the Chinese team being denied visas to enter the United States for the final round, causing four players on the team to be replaced by substitutes.
Layout – The 2017 format of the event involved finding the average skill rating of the top 100 players of a nation; the top 32 nations determined by this metric qualified to participate in the tournament’s group stage. The 32 qualifying teams advance to a group stage, where 4 nations are placed into 8 different groups. The top 2 teams from each group advance to a single-elimination playoff bracket. After the first stage of the playoff bracket, the final 8 teams compete at BlizzCon.
Rules of Overwatch League – Overwatch is a six-versus-six team-based first-person shooter video game. Broadly, the goal is to work with team members to eliminate or repel opponents while attacking, defending, or competing for an objective. Players select from the game’s roster of thirty heroes, each with their own pre-designed set of weapons and skill kits, though each player on a team must play a unique hero. A player can switch to an available hero if they are eliminated prior to respawning, or if they return to their current spawn point, which allows for teams to adjust their composition dynamically based on the current situation.
A lot of teams use a term called ‘Meta’ (in a simple way meta means A good combination of heroes that work well together in a competitive way.) to help to beat opposition teams which can also help capitalise on certain teams’ weaknesses.
Examples of useful Metas some teams use:
The “N.I.P” Triple Tank – Any 2-2-2 composition but with the flex support on a non-support hero. Most often used for point-specific tactics on parts of maps. For example, using Torbjorn/Symmetra to snowball first point defense; or an extra Soldier 76/Widow to set up crossfire on high ground (on first point offense).
Beyblade/Mei-Reaper – Despite lacking in range and mobility, this composition is the ultimate triple-tank buster, with countering heroes, comparable survivability, and insane snowball potential due to the abundance of Crowd Control ultimate’s and ultimate combos.
Events and Locations throughout the year – For most of the year all the 4 stages are based inside America, specifically Los Angeles, Burbank, California in the ‘Blizzard Arena Los Angeles’.
There is also the Overwatch World Cup which is held in 4 different locations: Incheon (South Korea), Los Angeles (USA), Bangkok (Thailand) and Paris (France). The World Cup event is held at BlizzCon which is watched by over 10 million people both at the venue and via streaming collectively making it one of the most watched events throughout each year.
The Thailand Esports Overwatch World Cup Qualifiers –the 2018 qualifiers was held at on the 14th of September 2018, China ended up being victorious in that event beating a strong Australia team, China finished with a record of 5-0 while Australia went home with a respectable 3-2 record, Thailand as the hosts really didn’t perform as well as they wanted finishing 5th with a record of 1-4 only beating Spain the eventual last placed team in the qualifiers, All teams at the Bangkok Qualifier receive $15,000 USD.
Below you can watch the amazing win Thailand had vs Spain at the qualifiers, it’s extremely intense and is a great taste into overwatch esports:
Thailand’s record at the Overwatch World cup – Thailand have not performed as well through the years since 2016 when the World Cup was first announced below are the stats that the Thailand overwatch team have.
Bangok Production Company provides Esport event video productions in Thailand.
The Thai Team Roster in 2018:
DPS oPuTo – Ubon “oPuTo” Dara is a Thai player who is currently on loan from MEGA Esports to Talon Esports. Ubon likes to play as Sombra, Genji or Hanzo
DPS Patiphan – Patiphan “Patiphan” Chaiwong is a Thai player currently playing for Xavier Esports. Patiphan likes to play as Genji, Zarya or Widowmaker
Flex Mickie – Pongphop “Mickie” Rattanasangchod is a Thai player currently playing for The Dallas Fuel. He comes from a competitive Point-Blank background and is known for competing in Point Blank International Championship 2015. Mickie likes to play Brigette, D.Va, Zarya.
Flex SaiyajinGOD – Kantapat “SaiyajinGOD” Tangteekarak is a Thai player that recently played for Xavier Esports. He is currently playing for GIANT LYNX. SaiyajinGOD likes to play D.Va, Zarya and Genji.
Tank Teetawat – Teetawat “Teetawat” Teerayosyotin is a Thai player that recently played for MEGA Esports. He is currently on loan from GIANT LYNX for Sydney Drop Bears. Teetawat likes to play as Reinhardt, Winston and Hammond.
Support Rocket – Vuthichai “Rocket” Posawadi is a Thai player that recently played for MEGA Esports. He is currently playing for GIANT LYNX. Rocket likes to play as Ana, Mercy or Lucio.
Notable Overwatch competitive Streamers/Figures:
xQc – When you think of Overwatch streamers, xQc is at the top of most people’s lists. Even before his time with the Dallas Fuel, xQc was known for his energetic and informative streams. Regardless of your feelings about the guy, he remains one of the most consistent Overwatch streamers around. There have been rumors that xQc might move in with some of the Overwatch League casting talent, so his streams might see an improvement soon.
Link to xQc’s stream https://www.twitch.tv/xqcow
Aimbotcalvin – Calvin is a Team SoloMid streamer famous for having multiple Top 500 accounts on the Overwatch competitive ladder. He frequently interacts with Overwatch League pros, making him an important personality in the community. If you’re looking for high-level DPS streams, definitely give Calvin a watch.
Link to Aimbotcalvin’s stream https://www.twitch.tv/aimbotcalvin
If you wanted to see the best clips from Overwatch World Cup 2018 look no further, you’ll be hooked:
Teams to support in Overwatch League:
London Spitfire – London Spitfire is the team representing London, United Kingdom, in the Overwatch League. The team is owned by Jack Etienne, Founder and CEO of Cloud9.
London Spitfire won the $1,000,000 prize pool in the 2018 Overwatch League – Inaugural Season Playoffs winning 1-0 vs the Philadelphia Fusion, in the regular season the Spitfire finished 24-16 and finished 3rd in the Atlantic Division winning $100,000 for finishing 3rd.
Boston Uprising – The Boston Uprising are the team representing Boston, Massachusetts, USA, in the Overwatch League. The league spot is owned by Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, owners of the New England Patriots in the National Football League, as well as Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution.
Uprising lost to the Philadelphia Fusion 2-1 in the Overwatch League inaugural season 2018 but still winning a respectable $50,000 for coming 5th – 6th Uprising also finished 3rd overall in the Overwatch League finishing 26-14 winning a massive $150,000.
Did You Know? – That German sports channel Sport1, which broadcasts to Switzerland and Austria in addition to Germany, made a two-year deal with Blizzard to broadcast Overwatch League games live starting in the second season (2019). Blizzard will again offer its All Access Pass to streaming viewers, adding in the ability for viewers to use the “command centre” app, introduced during the 2018 Overwatch World Cup, to be able to view matches from different camera angles in real-time. Blizzard signed Coca-Cola in a multiyear deal as the League’s official non-alcoholic drink sponsor, covering not only League games but also Overwatch Contenders, Open, World Cup, and other Overwatch events, as well as for the annual BlizzCon event, this just shows how much Blizzard are trying to expand the game and the competitive sides of things.
Nate Nanzer’s Future predictions – Nanzer’s goal is to have 28 teams, each connected to a city — an unprecedented endeavour for competitive video games. It added eight franchises during its first offseason: Paris joins London as the only European clubs; Washington and Atlanta expanded the U.S. contingent; Toronto and Vancouver, British Columbia, became the first Canadian teams; and China got franchises in Chengdu, Guangzhou and Hangzhou.
Eventually, all those franchises will have arenas in their home cities, hoping to draw hundreds or thousands of fans to each match. That won’t happen until at least 2020, and Nanzer was noncommittal in an interview with The Associated Press last week about the timeline for those homecomings.