What’s next for Overwatch esports? UK caster bids farewell to the Overwatch League and London Spitfire

Overwatch League logo

The Overwatch League recently announced it’d be ceasing operations and Blizzard’s premier esport production would be no longer. Long-time Overwatch League fan and UK caster Jace offers their thoughts on the situation.

The eventual sunset of the Overwatch League (OWL) was rumoured before its last season even began. It’s why not many were surprised when, after the grand final, an Overwatch League tribute video celebrating the best moments from all six seasons aired. It’s sad to see it end the way in which it did.

As a fan of Overwatch esports before the league, I remembered the days of Apex s4, Korea’s grand tournament before OWL. It’s fair to say that the first two seasons of the Overwatch League were a success. Hugely so, especially Season 1, which was won by the London Spitfire. Arguably that’s the best that the esport had ever been. OWL beat Apex Season 4 quite one-handedly, in my opinion.

“For all the negativity that eventually came crashing down to bury the league, with stupid decisions made by stupid decision makers, I’m going to remember the first two seasons fondly.”

Personally, the three-year stretch of 2018, 2019 and 2020 was the best of my life. Whilst I appreciate nobody reading will particularly care, a big part of what made it great was the Overwatch League.

This post itself has gone through many rewrites but before I recap what’s next and what’s been happening, I just wanted to shout out the incredible broadcast talent that OWL had, night in and night out.

Mitch ‘Uber’ Leslie SHOULD go down in esports history as one of the greatest Western play-by-play casters for his six-year run in the Overwatch League.

Moving forward, as stated earlier, Blizzard announced it would be rebuilding its vision of the Overwatch esports programme, to half quote the tweet below.

But after this announcement came many Overwatch League teams confirming they will cease to operate going forward. The Chengdu Hunters, one of the four Chinese teams that always built an all chinese roster, didn’t even compete in the league this year. 

The good news is there are unconfirmed reports that an Overwatch 2 server will be reopened in China sometime in the next month or two.

What’s next for London Spitfire following the Overwatch League’s closure?

Focusing on European Overwatch, the London Spitfire are one of those aforementioned teams to announce they will be going dormant, releasing all staff and players including long-time Cloud9 exec and Spitfire general manager Noukky.

When the Spitfire announced their shift in vision to develop a European-focused roster, Noukky was at the centre of this. She deserves her plaudits.

One great lesson we learnt straight from this team was the power that lay in synergy and coaching as opposed to signing an all-star roster.

Rumours of a region-lock format, an open circuit and more are starting to circle, but as nothing is concrete it wouldn’t be wise to comment.

Regardless, I simply wish Overwatch’s next esports chapter is able to allow European overwatch to showcase itself just a bit more.

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