Steven R. February 11, 2019
Overwatch League’s Community Countdown has inadvertently left a chunk of the community frustrated.
The five-day event designed to generate hype for the start of the 2019 season kicked off on February 9 with a series of practice games between OWL teams. While many were expecting those exhibition matches to be an early taste of OWL action, they were instead treated to something decidedly unserious, with players picking off-role characters and, in some cases, not even seeming to try.
That didn’t sit well with some, including Jonathan "Reinforce" Larsson. The OWL analyst took to Twitter and criticized the players’ approach to the show.
“I get that teams don't want to show their strats...but I find it pretty disrespectful to the fans,” Reinforce said.
It was a pointed take on the opening to the Community Countdown, and one that drew mixed reactions.
Paris Eternal coach Kyle "KyKy" Souder took issue with Reinforce, saying that taking a preseason show match too seriously would unnecessarily give rivals information. He openly acknowledged that his squad wasn’t giving it their all in the Community Countdown, but clarified his team was still practicing hard to show good form to its fans.
Commentator Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles echoed that sentiment.
“I don't think the teams should give away any competitive advantage in a showmatch when the league starts next week,” MonteCristo said.
While others were diplomatic, Jay "sinatraa" Won wasn’t so generous. The San Francisco Shock DPS player clapped back at Reinforce.
“Season starts in like 5 days bro I think they can wait,” sinatraa said.
That said, there were others who agreed with Reinforce.
“Good thing I don't run anything or else teams would be getting fined out the wazoo,” said fellow OWL analyst Brennon "Bren" Hook.
Boston Uprising coach Jordan "Gunba" Graham indicated that the issue was primarily one of scheduling.
“The preseason is a useful tool for giving new players stage experience,” Gunba said. “But scheduling it less than a week before the regular season puts teams in an awkward position.”
Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer seemed frustrated over the controversial start to the Community Countdown. In a series of posts on Twitter, Nanzer apologized to fans and was critical of teams that had players outside their usual roles.
The community countdown will continue on with Arcade game modes including Capture the Flag and one-on-one matches. The Overwatch League 2019 season begins on February 14.