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Overwatch

Overwatch review

Heroic effort

120

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3 days ago

Feature: There's not much more of a Breakthrough than this

Know It OWL: Dragons at the peak

I’ve said two things here multiple times. Firstly, this season of the Overwatch League is one of upsets and unpredictability. Secondly, I love and cherish Shanghai Dragons. But I still wasn’t ready for the Dragons to face a playoff gauntlet of the big three teams, New York Excelsior, Vancouver Titans, and San Francisco Shock, and beat them one after one to become stage champions. In…

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1 week ago

Feature: I don't know what peach thing is about and at this point I'm too afraid to ask

Know It OWL: Atlanta adventures

The Overwatch League’s season three has hurtled towards its playoffs, locking in all of the places for next week. Although Shanghai Dragons didn’t have to make it quite so close, did they? My poor heart could barely take it. And now they’ll be facing New York Excelsior in the quarterfinals, a team that heard people (me) say that they were squarely in third place behind…

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3 weeks ago

Feature: This is a complicated way of saying I have no idea what's going on

Know It OWL: The only thing more fake than the meta is the power rankings

Stage three of the Overwatch League didn’t seem like it would be especially exciting. The Goats meta remained untouched by major balance patches in the break. Teams had mostly established themselves at the top and bottom of the rankings, though there was plenty of jostling in the middle. Even in the first couple of weeks, things seemed to be progressing as expected, but for a…

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1 month ago

Feature: Second half, second chances

Know It OWL: Overwatch League kicks off stage 3 in style

Happy Overwatch League stage three, and happy Pride. Both were celebrated in fine form at the arena this week, and while Blizzard could stand to improve how they handle both in many ways, aw, it was nice to see all the excited fan signs and rainbows everywhere. Alongside the festivities, teams were clearly looking ahead as we're now into the final half of the League.…

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2 months ago

Feature: Over and over

Has Overwatch been improved by its updates?

“I came in like a wrecking ball,” sang Miley Cyrus. “Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung.” She was, of course, talking about Overwatch’s playable hamster, Hammond, referred to as “Wrecking Ball” in Blizzard’s multiplayer shooter thanks to his control of a spherical, grappling-hook-equipped mech.

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Feature: The times, they are a changin'

Know It OWL: Mid-season musings

The Overwatch League is on a break at the moment. A lull in the action, though, is often the best time to look back at what's changed, and forward at what might. This is especially true considering the departure of League Commissioner Nate Nanzer to Epic Games, raising questions about what that could mean for both Overwatch and Fortnite. When I interviewed Nanzer last year,…

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Overwatch’s new replay system is a powerful tool for photography, bragging

Overwatch added its long-awaited replay feature this week, allowing players to go back through their last ten games in order to see what went right, what went wrong, and how they might improve. Alternatively, it's a nice way to get a look at the hard work of the environment and asset artists that usually gets overlooked in the whirlwind of battle. And it's a very…

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Feature: You could say their dominance came as a... Shock

Know It OWL: San Francisco Shock Special Edition

The thing about writing a column about the Overwatch League is that you have to be selective. There are 20 teams playing 16 games per week, so you necessarily have to pick out certain stories to follow and let others fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, that means that I have barely mentioned the team who just became our stage two champions, San Francisco Shock. Oops.…

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How one deaf Overwatch fan is trying to make the game more accessible

If you’re tuning into the Overwatch League’s stage two playoffs this weekend, you might see a video featuring 14-year-old Danik Soudakoff. Soudakoff is an attendee of some of the games in the Burbank arena, a fan of the Los Angeles Valiant, and deaf. When attending games, he gets an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter to keep him informed, and he’s been a part of creating…

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3 months ago

Feature: OWL on the road

Know It OWL: Crowd pleasers

This week of the Overwatch League saw teams travelling to Dallas for what was advertised as “The First Home Game” (apparently the two separate teams that represent Los Angeles don’t count). Four thousand fans packed into the Texas arena, cheering for Dallas Fuel and splitting in two (if somewhat unevenly) when it came to the showdown against Houston Outlaws. It was a dry run, in…

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Feature: Where in the world

Overwatch’s Cuban cars highlight a dedication to aesthetic over context

The latest Overwatch event, Storm Rising, takes our shooty-bang cast to Havana, Cuba, and the full escort map is available to noodle around in on the test servers before its launch in a couple of weeks. Like all of the game’s locations, it uses shortcuts to communicate place within the necessary constraints. There’s a rum distillery, of course, and a large sea fort presumably based…

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Feature: Let's talk about Justice

Know It OWL: The ups and downs of the Overwatch League fandom

We talk a lot here about the people who make the Overwatch League go around: players, staff, casters, analysts, production crews, photographers, and so on. It’s sometimes easy to forget, though, that any sport is also propped up by its fans, for better and for worse. This week, that fact was brought to the forefront by one retirement, one hometown clash, and a lot of…

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Know It OWL: Overwatch League stage two stirs things up

Welcome back to the Overwatch League! After a week off, it’s a new stage, a new patch, and just as much chaos. What’s the meta? I have no idea but “bunker comp” seems to be popular so let’s break that down first before turning our attention to how teams are dealing with this strange new world. Unsurprisingly, it’s the already chaotic Chengdu Hunters who seem…

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4 months ago

Feature: Overwatch League puppy bowl when?

Know It OWL: Stage one small talk with the teams

This week there weren’t any Overwatch League games, as the players took a well-deserved rest. But with stage one done and dusted and last week being all about the playoffs, we’ve been doing an awful lot of talking about pure results. That’s fine and all, but it’s hardly the only thing to care about in the League (otherwise we’d all just be Titans fans). So…

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Feature: A farewell (?) to Goats

Know It OWL: Stage one showdowns

The Overwatch League stage one playoff finals will “probably be the Vancouver Titans and New York Excelsior, but this stage has been so topsy-turvy that I’m willing to eat my words,” said I, last week. So here I am, munching, because it was yet another week of upsets culminating in an incredible showdown between San Francisco Shock and, well, still Vancouver Titans. Apparently no amount…

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Feature: Once a Dragon, always a Dragon

Know It OWL: Playoff places and some long-awaited Justice

Without the Shanghai Dragons playing this week, I thought it might finally be the week I didn’t cry at the Overwatch League. But I forgot that there was an ex-Dragon, still yet to win, continuing his losing streak on struggling expansion team Washington Justice. And thanks to Chon “Ado” Gihyeon, despite it being the final week before playoffs, it once again became one in which…

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Feature: There's always next stage, Valiant

Know It OWL: big stories, small moments

We're just a few matches away from the end of the Overwatch League’s first stage, and we're finally beginning to see which teams will make playoffs and which are truly struggling. But in between the high-level stories are the smaller moments, many of which took place outside the game itself: a kindly text from a player's mum, a motivational speech by Symmetra's voice actress Anjali…

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5 months ago

Feature: This post is sponsored by the gold objective time medal

Know It OWL: One weird tip for winning your Overwatch League games

Spare a thought for the Overwatch League players this week. Bamboozled and led astray by last week’s upsets, they are wandering around the maps with no regard for the fact that, and I cannot stress this enough, you have to stand on the point in Overwatch to win the game. It doesn’t matter what map type we’re talking about, they are all about objectives and…

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Feature: That'll learn ya

Smarter Than I: can an AI coach you on your Overwatch play?

I dream of a future where robots teach me how to get gud. A future where algorithms can pinpoint my every mistake, and tell me exactly how to avoid them. Software that learns as I do, offering insights beyond the reach of mortal minds. That doesn't exist yet. But its predecessor just might.

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Feature: I told you this week was Shanghai's week

Know It OWL: Confusion and celebrations in the Overwatch League

This week a lot of people have been asking me which teams are shaking out as the ones to watch in this season of the Overwatch League, or how their favourites are doing. The answer to these questions is always: no one knows, every single team has either caused or suffered an upset (or both!), and everything is chaos. Except for the New York Excelsior,…

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