The Shanghai Dragons, a team that became unfortunately famous for losing 41 straight games of Overwatch in the professional esports league OWL, has completed an almost fairytale ending after winning the Grand Finals last week.
In a dominating 4-0 win against the Atlanta Reign the Dragons proved that they were a step above the rest of the league. They were a strong team throughout the season and through each stage forced teams to play to what they wanted, creating the meta.
OWL will have played the last professional match of Overwatch 1 with the Grand Finals as it has been confirmed next season will be played on Overwatch2. Overwatch as we know it will be completely different as the sequel is set to come out next year and will be quite different.
There will be many changes to the game, but one of the biggest changes will be a smaller lineup from 6v6 to 5v5 with one tank being removed. Another change that I and many other fans are thankful for is that the much hated assault map type or “2CP” will be replaced by push, a new map type.
During the halftime of the Grand Finals fans got to witness an exhibition game of push being played by pro players from the LA Gladiators and Washington Justice. During this game mode players are in a smaller map, which means more fights and action, trying to control a robot that is pushing a payload with a certain amount of time allotted. While I would have rather seen more gameplay and less commentary from the casters the new game mode looks pretty fun and action packed.
In OW2 there will also be new heroes, with only Sojourn confirmed, character designs and reworks. They revealed new hero abilities for Bastion and Sombra during the game which should add an interesting new element to the new game. Some of these changes include Bastion’s ultimate which is now an artillery strike where you can strike three areas of the map where rockets will hit. Sombra can also now hack while in stealth mode only briefly revealing herself to the enemy team and her ultimate, EMP, will do 40 percent damage to an enemies current health and will still hack them.
All of these changes and the ones that have been slowly revealed to us over the last few years seem promising and have caused new excitement within fans and players alike. However, all of this comes upon what has been a tumultuous year for Overwatch, its community, and the company that made the game Activision Blizzard.
Not only were there rampant sexual harassment, abuse and discrimination allegations against Blizzard, but lead game developer Jeff Kaplan left the company last spring after almost 20 years with Blizzard. Even a character, McCree, will have a change to his name as the lead designer he was named after, Jesse McCree, was associated with the allegations. However, Blizzard is trying to get past all of this and continue to work on releasing OW2 as the deadline had previously kept being pushed back each year.
Who knows how the new season of OWL will go with one less tank in the game or what Blizzard will do to fix the culture within the company, but for now I will be slightly optimistic that the new game will actually come out next year and will give the community the game it deserves.