Most gamers can agree that Overwatch has a strange hold over the people that actively play its competitive modes. There is a remarkable feeling of both frustration and fun that keeps people simultaneously playing and cursing the game's existence every time they log off. Just look around any popular Overwatch subReddit or forum to see how often these sentiments are talked about and discussed.
So, when Stanislav "Mistakes" Danilov announced his professional Overwatch retirement, I wasn't surprised to hear him cite a lack of enjoyment and health issues as reasons to stop playing.
The link leads to the following text:
"So yeah, I have not been enjoying the game for a long time. Lack of motivation and some health issues made me make this decision. I want to thank all the fans that had been with me, receiving positive messages and gifts gave me so much inspiration! :^) I'm sorry to all of you that it came this way, but at the moment I can't change it. Thanks to Blizzard for making it such a fun and wonderful experience. Thanks to all the coaches and players I had a pleasure to work with, wish you guys all the best and will be cheering for you :D I might feel better and come back one day, we will see <3"
Seagull listed similar complaints when he retired:
"But chat, give it to me like this boys, I went from basement dwelling neckbeard from pro player in like 3 months with Overwatch. I rode that popularity I got in Overwatch beta from my stream blowing up and everything straight to the Overwatch League years later, right? And like... that's actually hard for me to say that.
That whole time though, I had to sacrifice a lot of things. A lot of my personal life, a lot of my mental physical health -- I literally put on like 40 pounds I developed sleep apnea I could barely sleep. And uhh...I had a lot of problems but it was all worth it because I got to compete. But, I don't know man, to sacrifice my stream and the fans that got me here in the first place for so long? I just didn't want to do that anymore."
In fact, many Overwatch League players have been vocal about how unfun the game can be. I've written about tired Overwatch League players before and I have a feeling I will write about them again.
Season 2 Fix?
With the Overwatch League returning for Season 2 on February 14th, it has already been revealed that there will be longer breaks and an extended rest period between stages 2 and 3 to help players recuperate after the All-Star Weekend.
In additions, Teams will play one, two, or three matches per week in order to, according to Blizzard, "help players stay at the top of their game, as well as give teams more opportunities to visit their home cities during the season"
These changes are welcomed, but I can't help but think there is a larger problem that exists for Overwatch League and player burn out. Living in Los Angeles is hard enough, but doing combined with the added pressure of performing for a team that you live with seems like an unavoidable recipe for exhaustion.
Remember, just last month Silkthread also retired from the OWL:
"I felt it would not be healthy for my mental health to scrim and heavily practice for at least another 10 months."
This excerpt from his retirement statement is a good reminder of what it is like to compete and the highest level and encapsulates the player fatigue issue that continues to burden the Overwatch league.
Warcraft 3 is my one true love and I will challenge anyone to a game of Super Smash Brothers Melee.