How are we ever going to recognize all of this talent?
The number of superstars currently solidifying their names into Overwatch history is astronomically high. Just this past weekend we saw some incredibly legendary performances from players in both the Asia and North American regions and in all of the role categories. Factoring in the spectacular performances from earlier this season, if this type of play continues, the awards presented at the end of 2020 are going to be hotly contested, with fans and analysts alike clamouring to get all types of players the recognition they deserve.
If you look at the performative awards given, 12 Role Stars, one regular season MVP, and one Rookie of the Year, it’s beginning to look like these awards are just not enough to recognize the absolute wealth of talent we have this year in 2020. To remedy this, here are some proposed changes to the awards season of the Overwatch League.
For this season, with all of the talent in the Overwatch League, All-Stars need to make a return as a distinct recognition, not just a popularity contest as it has been in the past. There are too many players that run the gamut in their respective roles but who are just edged out by other players. For example, in the role star-conversation, most people would take players like ALARM and Viol2t over a player like Myungb0ng, who is still an excellent player even though the Boston Uprising isn’t having a stellar season. An All-Star award would give players like Myungb0ng the lasting recognition deserving of the ones who have played well and consistently throughout the season.
Role-Stars was an excellent addition in 2019 and a great way to highlight the most elite talent during that season. However, for 2020, four stars per role just simply isn’t enough to truly do the best players justice, which is why the count should be increased to six players per role, for a total of 18 role stars in the 2020 season. In 2019, notable names like SLIME, Erster, Rascal, and Viol2t were excluded from the final drawings. Additionally, since Overwatch does not officially recognize the widely accepted sub-roles (main/off-tank, flex/hitscan, main/flex support), six players per role would essentially allow for the inclusion of three players per sub-role in each category, though that’s not mandatory.
For example, in the Tank Role-Stars category (These are just examples, not actual picks for role-stars, please no flaming):
- Beomjun "Gargoyle" Lee (Florida Mayhem)
- Kicheol "Cr0ng" Nam (Guangzhou Charge)
- Hanbeen "Hanbin" Choi (Paris Eternal)
- Myeonghwan "smurf" Yoo (San Francisco Shock)
- Sumin "SADO" Kim (Philadelphia Fusion)
- Blake "Gator" Scott (Atlanta Reign)
The MVP Award is a huge honour and should be awarded to the player who consistently performed at the top level, who was a key member in the success of their team, and one who leaves a lasting legacy on the esport, if not that season of the League. In the previous year, five finalists were revealed to be in the running, preceding a fan/staff vote before the winner was revealed at the end of the regular season.
Not much needs to change for this award, overall, the voting process and promotion of the candidates should continue in the same spirit as the previous year. An interesting switch up could be that the introduction of a 6th finalist for the fan vote, presenting two candidates for each role (as in 2019 there were three tanks, one DPS player, and one support) to mirror the 2-2-2 lock the league practices. But the candidate pool was already tough enough to vote for in the previous year, perhaps six players would be too much.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
GGRecon’s Yiska recently discussed the semantics of what it actually means to be a rookie, and made interesting insights as to how the term mostly doesn’t even apply to most Overwatch League ‘rookies’. For instance, the rookie players who hail from Element Mystic, they’ve already been crowned international champions, they’ve accomplished more in their careers than a lot of the players who have been in the League since day 1, is it really necessary to separate a distinction for them?
However, since it doesn’t look like the league is looking to change the way this award is applied, then it will probably be the most contested out of all the categories. Nothing really needs to change from the process of the previous year, but there are so many players starting this season that have put on incredible performances, you’d want to have all of them be acknowledged in the League. Obviously, Sp9rk1e is the hottest name in town currently, but even his own teammate Xzi is giving him a good run for his money for the top spot, even being named match MVP over him in the grand finals of the Summer Showdown. It's a bit redundant to name multiple rookies of the year too, so as of now, it seems like the league has to take on the unenviable task of picking the best rookie out of a basket of excellent talent.
NOT EVERYONE NEEDS A TROPHY, BUT...
The awards given at the end of the season give a legacy to the hard work and dedication of the players. The in-game symbols handed out to the Role Stars were such a unique touch introduced to the Overwatch League, how cool would it be to expand that to highlight the league’s All-Stars, MVP, RotY, and 2020 Champions in-game in every match they play in 2021.
- Read More - Overwatch’s Five Great Eras
In an esport like Dota 2, during every International, they make it a point to highlight the players' achievements at the tournament, listing their times picked as an All-Star and as a TI Champion, every time they play a match on the main stage. That kind of recognition adds prestige to a player’s legacy and gives viewers the information that this is a player you need to look out for.
Overwatch has its superstars, and the Awards given at the end of the season help highlight the players with the stories to tell. Consistent performers in a season where the level of competition is the best it’s ever been. So much talent to recognize, it would be remiss for the league not to capitalize on recognizing that talent in a meaningful way.
All images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment