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overwatch First Overwatch Tournament Recap & Impressions

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Last Sunday saw the first ever public Overwatch tournament, a small 8-team closed Beta event from which team NotEnigma emerged victorious.


I say the first public tournament because there are plenty of (very reasonable) rumors around of in-house Blizzard tournaments even before Closed Beta started. That said, last weekend's tournament is the first one that fans actually got to spectate.
 
The tournament was hosted by Sombrero, and streamed live on his Twitch channel. The shoutcasters were FishStix and AskJoshy.

What Happened


You can view the VOD of the tournament here, and it definitely is an interesting watch for anyone who is interested in Overwatch, whether as a casual game or as en e-Sport.

To put it briefly, the tournament was dominated and won by NotEnigma, a result that was not altogether surprising. Seagull, one of their players, has already acquired significant renown in the Overwatch streaming community.

NotEnigma bested Pubstars 2 maps to 0 in the final, defeating them on both Dorado and King's Row.

It is perhaps unnecessary to say that all the teams that competed in this tournament are amateur teams (without any negative connotation), and that given the limited number of players with Beta access, the player pool in general is quite restricted.

Future tournaments will probably grow increasingly competitive, so that is something to look forward to.

What We Learned


Despite the limited scope of the tournament, it was an elucidating experience for a number of relevant game issues, something that Blizzard will no doubt be taking note of.

Interface Issues


To begin with, the spectating interface leaves a lot to be desired. The casters of the tournament did an outstanding job of keeping everyone as informed as possible about what is going on in the game, but the interface was definitely not on their side.

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This screenshot from the final game of the tournament shows how difficult it is to tell what is going on.

The lack of a minimap or a kill feed makes it hard to keep track of the state of the game. The player portraits at the bottom of the screen are an excellent feature (sorely missing outside of the spectator interface), but their size and location is inappropriate. They block much of the screen, and the HUD of the player being spectated actually displays directly under these icons, making it unreadable.

Another problem is the fact that the red team color assigned to the attacking team makes it so that spectating a player on this team leads one to believe that their teammates are actually enemies (since they have a red outline). The color system overall is confusing.

To combat much of this confusion, extensive use of panoramic shots was employed. This worked in the short term, but spectating an FPS game is all about being able to witness the first person movement and aiming of players, which was sorely missed in this tournament.

Finally, the game clearly needs a built-in stopwatch and distance measurement tool to be able to tell which team did better on either the attacking or defending side.

Gameplay


The gameplay turned out to be much as one would have anticipated: large and prolonged team fights where the winner was often the team that best used their abilities in tandem.

That said, game length felt overall on the short side. For example, the final only saw a total 15 minutes of game time, which left one feeling somewhat unsatisfied. No doubt this can be improved a lot with the aforementioned Stopwatch and distance measurement systems, as well as with simply playing more maps. That said, it would probably be in the interest of a better spectating experience if maps lasted slightly longer overall.

As far as Heroes being used, the most used heroes were Reinhardt, Winston, and Mercy, while other Heroes such as Torbjörn or Soldier: 76 saw relatively little play.
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