Orena’s Season 2 of the Overwatch Championship Ladder brings welcomed changes

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South Africa is still feeling its way around Overwatch, and with very few tournaments defining the know-how, change is always good. Orena hosted their inaugural ladder in August which saw the development of South Africa’s top Overwatch teams. Throughout the ladder and playoff phase, a number of teams pulled ahead which led to inevitable victory of E.D.E.N, now Energy eSports. Being the first competitive ladder for Overwatch in South Africa, there were a number of crucial changes which needed to be made, and after deliberation and discussion with teams, Season 2 plans to accommodate a lot more.

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According to the press release, the most significant changes coming to the OCS are the following:

  • Teams will now be able to have up to three international players in their roster who can compete.
  • Teams will now have 24 hours to submit their scores once a ladder match has been complete. If either team fails to submit their score or agree on the score of a match, the admin will investigate and decided the outcome accordingly based on evidence at hand.
  • Teams will now make use of Blizzard’s Competitive mode within the match lobby. This includes the three previously banned maps: Hanamura, Volskaya Industries, and Temple of Anubis. Payload maps will still make use of the Stopwatch mode, meaning that teams will have to beat their opponents times when on Attack.
  • High Bandwidth mode must be enabled for every match.
  • Eight teams will now move on to the playoffs, as opposed to the original four.

The inclusion of international players has been discussed in length since a number of teams and players expanded their Battle.net friend list during beta. While the core goal of any eSports program in South Africa has been local growth, we cannot deny that our exposure to the European communities, especially in Overwatch, has been a huge benefit. The addition of teams who have European players will up the ante and hopefully create a much more beneficial period of growth for local teams. The goal is to eventually allow European and South African teams to compete in the same tournament, offering a level playing field.

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The enforcing of High Bandwidth is also a much needed change as it’s crucial for optimal performance. Last week the Overwatch developers discussed the importance of the High Bandwidth option, and thus concluding the second major change for the upcoming championship.

Finally, and I’ve saved this for last, the use of Blizzard’s competitive mode in championship matches. It’s well known that Blizzard’s competitive mode is still experiencing growing pains as balance is a crucial factor of any eSport. The King of The Hill and Skirmish matches brought in a whole new meta offering a best-of-five and time based skirmish respectively. The biggest problem with Blizzard’s competitive mode came with the coin flip. This was a clear issue with Payload maps leaving the deciding factor up to chance, coupled with a “meta” which did not aid it. While the Payload deciding factor has moved away from coin flip, the stopwatch method is optimal to truly gauge a winning condition. Season 2 will also include the three maps which were previously automatically banned.

The first phase of the Championship opens today with the Ladder concluding on the 31st of October. From there the top eight teams will move on to the playoffs where they will once again play for R10 000, winner takes all. All games will be broadcasted to the Orena Twitch and YouTube.

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Last Updated: September 19, 2016

Kyle Wolmarans

Critical Hit's esports guy. I talk about esports and drink whiskey. I also write and cast for elsewhere - but my work here is independent of that.

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