Former Overwatch League pro Felix “xQc” Lengyel has not been happy with the game’s competitive scene lately.
While the infamous player is currently a full-time streamer, he was also part of the Los Angeles Gladiator’s academy team, Gladiators Legion, for the 2019 Contenders season. He was looking forward to competing next year as well, until he realized that the team had withdrawn from Overwatch Contenders without telling him.
The Canadian streamer was browsing Reddit when he spotted a Reddit post discussing the team’s decision to leave the competition. The Legion substitute then went to the team’s Twitter, where he read the official announcement out to his viewers.
“Does that mean I lose my job?” xQc said with a surprised laugh. “Did I just get fired?”
xQc’s chat was bombarded with “OMEGLUL” and “DEPORTED,” but the Overwatch competitor seemed truly frustrated with the news.
“Okay, well, that happened I guess,” he said. “I didn’t even know. I hadn’t been told, I could have prepared for this in some way or another, fuck man.”
Although he was left blindsided by the decision, xQc made it clear that he didn’t blame Legion for leaving Contenders. He told fans that it may have been completely out of their hands.
The Gladiators Legion are not the first team to pull out of Overwatch Contenders this year. In fact, they’re the fourth. San Francisco Shock’s academy team, NRG Esports, left earlier in the year and was followed by Mayhem Academy. Despite competing in the finals, known as the Gauntlet, New York Excelsior’s XL2 Academy also left in late 2019.
A few days after finding out about his team’s departure, xQc seemed to blame Blizzard for the Legion’s decision.
“Blizzard isn’t marketing tier two in any way, shape, or form. They make no attempt at making things exciting for tier two,” xQc said in a stream.
He decided to illustrate to his viewers what he meant by that. In Microsoft Paint, xQc drew the levels of competitive Overwatch, starting with the Overwatch League. After that was the tier two competition, the Overwatch contenders, and then tier three, which he drew way, way below the other two.
“Here we’ve got everything that is tier three, and in that you have poverty, homelessness, despair, and depression. But the thing with Blizzard is that they’re slowly trying to merge tier two together, at which point there won’t be that many differences between tier two and tier three,” xQc explained.
Blizzard’s lack of support for non-OWL competition has been a common discussion in the Overwatch community. Many competitive Contenders teams were not even able to compete at the World Cup at BlizzCon due to lack of funding. A lot of the teams had to start crowdfunding campaigns or charity drives to raise money to travel to the competition, leading to some competitors being eliminated from the World Cup before it had even started.
Frustration with the tier two season dates back to 2018, when teams started leaving Contenders. This included Envision Esports.
“Without any kind of support from Blizzard and Overwatch, there is no way in hell you can make any profits with a Tier 2 team. I am pretty sure it is [only] a matter of time before not a single organization will have a team in Overwatch, unless they are associated with an Overwatch League franchise. There [are] simply not enough revenue schemes for an [organization] to make any sort of money from Contenders,” Envision owner Artur “Minac” Minacov said of the decision.
But now it seems even Overwatch League teams are opting out of Contenders too, making the future of Tier 2 Overwatch even shakier.