How the Overwatch League All-Stars Event Could Have Sparkled

Matt Buchholtz,

May 26, 2019 6:59 PM

Giving proper time to consider, we analyze the main event of the Overwatch League's All-Star Week, and consider what worked, what didn't, and things Blizzard should change to make sure that next year's event truly pops.

A Thursday night in the Blizzard Arena. The best players from the Overwatch League gathered together for the second evening of exhibition games during the Overwatch League All-Stars Week. A large portion of the audience chatting or on phones by map three. Something is wrong with this picture.

Having grown up in the time of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team and “Space Jam,” perhaps I just have very high hopes of what an All-Star team can accomplish. But the “main event” of the Overwatch League All-Stars weekend just failed to pack a punch. On paper, it looks great: There’s something really exciting about being able to see all of your favorite players together on the stage in impossible rosters. A hybrid team composed of members of the San Francisco Shock, Seoul Dynasty, and Vancouver Titans? Yes, please. But in execution, the play came off as disjointed, unbalanced, and overall, kind of boring.

(Photo Credit Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment)
(Photo Credit Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment)

For the second year in a row, the main event (Pacific Division vs Atlantic Division, regular competitive rules) has just not hit the mark. This year, the Atlantic Team seemed to play to win, whereas the Pacific Team seemed to be playing for fun. This isn’t saying that the Atlantic Team didn’t have any fun—watching Se-hyeon "Neko" Park bully Jay "Sinatraa" Won’s Doomfist with an oppressive amount of Sleep Darts was a blast—but the vibe just felt completely different.

So, after thinking on it for a week, here are the things I think that Overwatch League can capitalize on to make All-Stars a must-watch event.

MORE OF A PARTY

(Image Credit Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment)
(Image Credit Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment)

Hands down, the best segments from the All-Star weekend came from the 1v1 Widow Duels. This wasn’t just because it was clearly defined and easy to follow, but instead, because small groups formed behind the players consisting of other players and casters. While the competitors may be a little more focused on the game, these elevated spectators were free to react, celebrate, and be shook by plays. Don’t let the bench sit out of view, allow them to be part of the fun the whole time, and let their personalities shine through.

SUPPLY AND DEMAND

Yes, it’s great to see players from every team compete, but watching a first to four series go any longer than five games would have killed me. Personally, I would sort this into a best of five. This will give you the opportunity to see everyone play, while not exhausting your audience.

CONTINUE TO SURPRISE

(Photo Credit Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment)
(Photo Credit Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment)

These events are the best of the best and should be celebrated as such. Talking to attendees, there was a sense of being underwhelmed when it came to the event. The absolutely stunning skins and bringing in Alex "Goldenboy" Mendez were nice touches, but there could easily be a little more pizazz. Bring in some special guests, have some neat snacks, make a light show happen. Ultimately, the main event felt like any other, just with less strategy and cooperation. In my opinion, this should be second to only the Season Grand Finals. Make it something people want to attend in person because they never know what will happen.

What did you think of the All-Stars main event? We’d love to hear your opinion, or what you think Blizzard could do to make the event better!



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