Anticipation is in the air for the start of Overwatch League Season 5. Not only has this offseason been painfully long for fans, but it will be played out on the Overwatch 2 beta. The combination of these two elements has made the hype surrounding the season opener quite high. But along with the overwhelmingly positive energy, there is a bittersweet undertone as the celebrations are mostly tied to the North American region. Here’s a look at some of the things that make this opening weekend bittersweet for APAC fans.
The starting date
The APAC region has been announced that all games will be delayed for several weeks. This is beyond the Overwatch League’s control. As the safety of all parties involved during the Covid pandemic is the most important aspect. The games delayed until May 20 are like the SpongeBob meme, where Squidward watches SpongeBob and Patrick play outside. APAC fans are excited that the Overwatch League is finally returning, but not for APAC. It’s watching the other side get the gift of seeing their teams play, while still having to wait 2 weeks.
The Overwatch League is not making any adjustments to the schedule to relieve the reduction in weeks to play APAC matches. Instead, all APAC teams in Weeks 3 and 4 will play three games per weekend. Not only does this not leave room for the best gameplay with the cramming of preparation in three games, but it also promotes burnout at the start of the season. Yes, APAC teams will have more time to prepare, but preparing for three games in three days is a quick turnaround to take on teams with different playstyles and strategies.
Although the timeframe for security was not within the League’s control, the schedule thereafter is. No doubt the Overwatch League wants to maintain match integrity at the highest level. To be sure, it would have been necessary to consider that the APAC matches are spread out even if that meant shifting the North American schedule a little. Players’ mental and physical health should be a top priority and it’s bittersweet for APAC fans knowing their teams will be pressed and mentally strained from the start.
Earlier in the preseason, it was announced that the Overwatch League was going to allow official co-streams on select weekends. Community members could apply through the Overwatch League for this opportunity. The official co-streaming team has been announced with amazing content creators. All those who have been selected have been supporting the community for a long time.
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) May 4, 2022
It was a huge disappointment that as of this writing, no official co-streamer for Korean or China is listed on #OWLStreamTeam. It was an opportunity to show that they are a global league not only in name but through actions. Even though APAC teams won’t be playing, there are plenty of APAC fans who will be watching North American games. Many North American teams have Korean games on them, and fans of those players will be tuning in. There are so many former Overwatch League pros and community members who could have been fantastic representation for the region in the co-stream line-up. It’s bittersweet for APAC fans to see another missed opportunity for APAC content creators to engage fans.
Bittersweet Opening Weekend
Opening weekend is going to be a joyful event with the return of the Overwatch League. But not only will it be bittersweet for APAC fans because their teams aren’t playing yet, but also because they aren’t represented on the OWLStreamTeam. The repercussions of the increase in matches per week will weigh on the minds of fans as they watch. APAC fans wish all the best for opening weekend and hope that with continued safety precautions, in two weeks APAC’s opening weekend can be just as grand.
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