Former Overwatch League player Brandon “Seagull” Larned blamed the game’s constant patches for the high rate of retirement in the league.
In a recent stream, the former Dallas Fuel DPS compared Overwatch to other competitive esports after a follower asked why so many OWL players retire. He pointed out that Counter-Strike has many maps, but very few balance changes. Meanwhile League of Legends and Dota 2 have only one map, and many balance changes. Then there’s Overwatch, he said, which has a lot of maps along with a lot of balance changes.
“It’s a lot harder in Overwatch, considering so much shit changes constantly on so many different maps. It makes Overwatch a big pain in the ass to figure out after balance changes,” Seagull said. “After every single balance change that occurs, it changes it on every single map. The entire map meta is changed.”
Seagull added that the number of maps pro Overwtach players have to prepare for is “obscene.” He noted that it’s most likely the reason viewers will see teams “blindly mirror” their opponents and “not really think about strategies” as often as teams in other competitive games might.
“One team runs Mei-Reaper, and they’re like, ‘Fuck it, we’re all playing Mei-Reaper this week,'” Seagull said.
Now a full-time streamer, Seagull announced his retirement in August 2017. At the time, his main reasons were health-related. Many other players have retired from the Overwatch League since, usually noting mental health and exhaustion as the main culprits.
In the past, it’s been noted that the Overwatch League schedule was too intense for players to handle. The tournament schedule was completely restructured in Season 2 in hopes of lessening reports of exhaustion and anxiety. Some teams have also decided to hire personal trainers and mental health professionals for their rosters.