Why Fate was one of the greatest in Overwatch
Koo "Fate" Pan-seung is a legend in Overwatch esports. And after six years of competing, the main tank great has retired from his professional endeavours. While he's chosen a path away from the maligned competitive venture, his imprint on its history cannot be understated. Fate is, was, and always will be an Overwatch great - and this is why.
An unspoken defence
Throughout Overwatch's esports history, there has not been a role that has been more mistreated and misjudged than tanks.
We live in a world where flexibility at tank is not just to be applauded but award-worthy.
Ask yourself, how many metas has Fate really slumped in?
Prior to the league's launch, Fate was the spearhead to the plucky underdogs on Mighty AOD. It was that performance that would lead him to the North American hopefuls on Immortals, who would eventually become the Los Angeles Valiant.
This saw traditional main tanks like Winston and Reinhardt stand front and centre as staple picks at the time, picks Fate was well above average at piloting.
Past that you have his performance on Wrecking Ball during one of the most dominant Grand Finals performances in Overwatch history alongside Shanghai Dragons.
Chip in his spare time on picks like Orisa alongside the Florida Mayhem and you've got yourself a not-so-subtly flexible tank player.
However, that isn't the only thing that makes Fate great. The largest argument to his constellation-creating career has been something that may have flown under some radars.
Western fans will celebrate Fate as an Overwatch League World Champion. However, winning a World Championship isn't the only metric for his success.
While Fate has accomplished what some only dream of, his career is legendary for its continuity and longevity. After all, six years competing in any esport is nearly miraculous, but it feels like a lifetime in Overwatch.
With all of the different iterations of the game, the new heroes and rules that bend like overcooked pasta, to not only survive but thrive in that kind of ecosystem is beyond many players' comprehension and ability.
Across that much time, that many iterations and that many shifting rosters, Fate is among the upper echelon of outliers. Success as a tank can be quickly written off as the general success of your team.
And sometimes that can be true, but after the time Fate has put in and the consistency he's been able to showcase, we're not so sure that "luck" is the driving factor.
During a live stream where he divulged his experience from that championship Dragons' roster, Fate spoke on how much "luck" factors into the equation. Whether or not it was talent or work ethic, six years of high-level competition doesn't just stem from some positive happenstance.
To write off any kind of achievement or boon as just dumb luck is sad and likely to be wrong. We're constantly clued in on how stressful and involved being a professional in esports is. The hundreds of hours of practice, and the time spent reviewing films in pursuit of becoming the best, the life of a professional is incredibly difficult.
Seneca might have been right when he said “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Especially when you look at his career now that it has concluded. However, to deny any kind of luck in the equation is just as myopic.
We're all lucky, we're not gifted tomorrow. You need to know the right people sometimes to gain opportunities, but it's what you do with those chances that matters. We might argue that Fate was more talented than he might let on or that his work ethic is what saw him become a champion, but the truly lucky ones are us, the viewers.
We had the privilege of witnessing an all-time great nearly year after year. We were able to cheer him on through adversity and see him reach the summit. Frankly, it is the fans and pundits that are the lucky ones.
Fate should be listed as one of the forefathers of modern tanks in Overwatch. Not just because he is a world champion and a skilled veteran of the space, but because those attributes and more make him a legend.
To bet on yourself and believe that you can fight the current of hopefuls all attempting the same feat.
To put yourself in positions to catalyse the luck of the universe, or whatever higher power you subscribe to, gives rise to your story. To traverse and paint a complete picture of the valley of success.
Lucky or not, Fate defied the house and we were all better for it. Overwatch wouldn't be the same without Fate.