Packing10 and Overwatch community weigh in: Why is the Overwatch League dying?

Source: Overwatch League


It's no surprise that the "Overwatch League is dying." Just ask anyone in the community, including fans. But the real conversation starts when people attempt to figure out what exactly went wrong. 


The most recent person to tackle this topic is Michael "Packing10" Szklanny, Los Angeles Valiant's former head coach. 


On Twitter, Packing10 admitted that he often thinks about "what went wrong" with the Overwatch League. 


"How did it go from being so amazing with great viewership to boring, stale, and tumbling viewership?" Packing10 wondered out loud. 



Is the Overwatch League dying? 


For Packing10, he pinpointed the end of Season 2 Stage 3 when roles were introduced. This was a reference to 2-2-2 role lock when Blizzard introduced the concept of teams being forced to have a certain amount of heroes from each category: Two support, two DPS, and two tanks. 


While it stopped the reign of GOATS, which saw every single dominant Overwatch League team playing three tanks, three support, the game had "poor balancing" and "mismanagement from the league," which overshadowed the newfound team comp diversity. 


Packing10's hot take received mixed responses from the Overwatch League community. Some fans agreed that role lock was a huge issue. Blizzard started updating the game very slowly around this time, making the game often unbalanced and in need of nerfs and buffs. 


The slow updates also leaked into other aspects of the game's success as an esport. A lack of new heroes and maps made the game feel stale to watch after a certain amount of time. Overwatch League teams consistently stuck to the same strong team comps time and time again with no new heroes to incorporate or maps that forced new strategies. 


But a lot of people felt that the Overwatch League had much bigger problems. One big problem was the pandemic, which destroyed the "hometown pride" that Blizzard had attempted to build with the tournament's structure since Season 1. On top of that, geographical challenges not only disrupted the competition itself but broke apart successful teams due to visa issues and health concerns. 


No matter the reason, it's clear that the Overwatch League has lost viewership since Season 1. The excitement around the game has continued to decline, whether it's from Blizzard's decision to move to YouTube or the lack of popular pros on teams for people to consistently root for.


While the Overwatch League is not dying, it's definitely in trouble. And that's why esports insiders like Packing10 keep trying to figure out what can be done to improve the game's competitive scene. Homestands and other live events are finally returning, bringing back some of the original hype around the OWL. But is it enough? Is it too late?


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