Once more unto the hype train!
The Overwatch World Cup resumes today! For those not in the know, Blizzard sponsors several large eSports tournaments at their annual convention BlizzCon. The Overwatch tournament, dubbed the “Overwatch World Cup,” is of particular interest due to the game’s recent release and huge success. Arguably the biggest event for the game since its launch, the competition is comprised of sixteen international teams made up of six players each. The teams were chosen during a voting process in which the Overwatch community elected members of each country to the international squad.
Last weekend the tournament ran through twenty-four games in the group stage with China, Finland, France, Russia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, and the USA making it into the quarter finals. While the weekend started out with few surprises, the competition heated up on the last day. Russia beat the USA in an extra round after fighting to a draw in one game, Spain upset Sweden, one of the favorites of the tournament, in a stunningly quick comeback, and China, France, and Thailand were forced into a round robin playoff series after all three teams finished the group stage with the same win-loss record.
While my interest in Hearthstone has waned, and I have never found the gameplay of StarCraft interesting, the BlizzCon Overwatch tournament has held my attention in a similar way as its namesake soccer competition. Perhaps there is an element of national pride in this fervor but, for someone who does not pay consistent attention to the eSports scene, it feels good to have a team and a sense of purpose to root for. Though the USA’s first match this weekend will be against overwhelming favorite South Korea…so we’ll see how that goes.