Blizzard is facing another kind of walkout; This time around, it’s players from the regional Overwatch Contenders Tournament. After a competitive decision resulted in a match ending prematurely, players from the European Overwatch Contenders Summer Series tournament refused to play.
In the Overwatch League’s off-week as teams rested from the beautiful chaos of the midseason Madness tournament last week, Blizzard ran an Overwatch Contenders tournament to fill the time. Like Midseason Madness, the Overwatch Contenders Summer Series is a double-elimination tournament with a winner’s bracket and a loser’s bracket. Today’s European Winner’s Bracket Final – the game that will determine which team will go to the Grand Final and which team will make it to the Loser’s Bracket Final – was between 01 Esports and Munich Esports and involved many of the players and tournaments involved. was according to the rules. website, listed as the best seven.
In the Overwatch League, it is not common to have a best of seven for matches other than the Grand Final. Knowing that, a player from Munich Esports reached out to Blizzard tournament administrators to confirm whether the match was indeed a best of seven and to confirm and reassure that the winner’s final match was a best of seven. .
And with this both the teams played.
Munich Esports went up 3–0, however 01 Esports hit the gas and began winning the next two maps, bringing the score to 3–2. It is here when all hell breaks loose.
Blizzard tournament administrators abruptly called off the match, saying that the aim of the game was to be a best of five, not a best of seven. Since Munich Esports were the first team to have three maps, they were awarded the victory. This caused a huge and furious backlash against Blizzard on social media, as players from Munich Esports and 01 Esports began sharing screenshots of conversations with tournament administrators, confirming that they were told that the match Would be the best of the seven.
Since 01 Esports were immediately scheduled to play in a losing class against another team, they essentially coordinated with their new opponents, the former Oblivion, to strike.
Aaron “ANJ” de Jong, a main tank player, talks at 01 Esports ledge about what happened.
“Because of our loss, we had to play in the losing category against Ax Oblivion,” he said. “We made an agreement with them that this was unacceptable, and that Blizzard could not treat players this way. We agreed not to play the game with X Oblivion, but we wanted to make a statement. Decided to play sports but didn’t really compete.”
In the broadcast below you can see that none of the teams are playing honestly; The players stand around and refuse to play the objective. It’s a great bit of mass action that’s also a lot of fun, especially when the cast starts to realize that no one is taking it seriously.
After this performance the broadcast was stopped and later terminated. Shortly thereafter, a tweet by former Oblivion player Helve texted an in-game chat in which a tournament administrator threatened to disqualify both teams if they refused to play.
Players and fans start using hashtags #ContendersStrike To draw attention to the issue, and it gained enough traction to become a trending topic on Twitter:
Overwatch Contenders put out a statement on Twitter explaining what happened and the next steps.
Ex Oblivione and 01 Esports will not be disqualified for their performance, and Munich Esports and 01 Esports will be able to continue the match as a best-of-seven. While this is the players desired outcome, others feel that the miscommunication and subsequent repercussions are a sign of Blizzard’s larger problem and treatment of the quasi-pro. overwatch export
,[Blizzard] Blizzard itself needs to make up for the lack of communication between employees and teams.” @kevhx_The General Manager of Ex Oblivione explains ledge over discord. “It often happens that we lack semi-critical information or receive it too late.”
Think of Overwatch Contenders as minor league baseball. It has its own structure, is run by third-party tournament organizers, and is the well from which future Overwatch League players are tapped. Unfortunately, players, coaches, and fans of the Contenders feel it hasn’t been given the proper support from Blizzard, especially considering that without a thriving amateur ecosystem, teams in the league to fill their ranks. Will have a hard time finding talent.
“It is important to note that this decision made by Blizzard is not the only reason for the roar,” 01 Esports Tank @kraandopOW says ledge in a DM. “Blizzard has done a politely poor job of communicating [Contenders] participants and it felt like the last drop. ,