Picked Over returns, like an elderly friend with a warm embrace and a faint smell of prunes. You thought he must have died over the cold winter, all alone in that shack with the bad heating; everyone is mildly surprised he's still kicking after all the snow, but happy to see him anyway. Maybe he has chocolates.
If you didn't catch this series in 2016, it's a recap of the best pieces of feature content from outside over.gg. There's been a ton of stuff going on during December but we've picked out our favorites and will be doing so for the rest of the year.
If you've skipped over some of the following pieces or just not happened to see them, we can personally recommend them to you. Make some time in your day for these beauties.
GAMURS - by Elbion
This story-driven player profile is a solid introduction to a player who has been languishing in a league far below his potential. At IEM Gyeonggi we saw the beast unleashed for the first time in a major tournament against strong competition, and nanohana is likely to be paired with that team once again for APEX Season 2 later this month.
nanohana is a young player with a huge amount of raw talent and an explosive ability to take control of games. Learn his past, watch his future.
I have no doubts that most hardcore Overwatch esport fans are familiar with Nanohana. However, on the flip side, I’d wager many more casual or western fans only know Nanohana from IEM Gyeonggi. This is understandable, as it was his first premier tournament, but that does not mean his history within the game is already storied as they come.
Nanohana has had a turbulent path in professional Overwatch, and for much of it, he has been relatively hidden from the public eye. But now, it seems his time has come, and due to his prowess as a DPS player, it appears likely he can find his share of the spotlight.
GosuGamers - by Seamoose
This piece, written by observing director and Tespa caster Seamoose, is a great read if you have any interest in the nuance of casting Overwatch. He articulates beautifully certain ways in which some casters get us more excited, deliver more information, and fit the flow better.
The casting scene in Overwatch is still developing and there are only a handful of casters worthy of praise. Breaking down the fundamentals of how Overwatch casting compares to other games is important not only for professional development, but also for fans to develop a richer appreciation and be able to offer valid criticism.
Matt “Mr X” Morello begins this clip, and after the first pick, he sets up the fight for his co-caster, Mitch “Uber” Leslie, to take over. Uber, “traditionally” a PBP caster, does a fantastic job of blending color casting into his play-by-play.
Uber handles this fight very well. To start off, he lets “the camera do the talking”. Since the vantage point that the Soldier 76 player has covers a large portion of the map, he doesn’t need to describe all the action the viewer is currently seeing. Instead, he describes the narrative of the fight by referring back to how it began and the position it put the teams in.
Daily Esports - Ishii (Translation by Akshon Esports)
I value interviews of the Korean players highly, as without them and their translations few of us would have any insight into their players' minds or the Korean esports infrastructure more generally. This interview tackles a very interesting subject as well - the oldest member on Lunatic-Hai, famed Ana Ryujehong.
It explores his motivations, his beginning in Overwatch, and how he feels about the team more generally. This was quite some time before their recent roster additions as well, providing interesting contrast.
Q: What was your plan after returning from the military?
A: I was planning on playing anything on my personal stream. EscA and Leetaejun asked me to live together around mid-June. We hadn't really decided on what game to play.
Q: That's amazing confidence, to start living in a practice house without having a specific game in mind.
A: We started living together with the mind that Sudden Attack 2 would be our game. When we first started playing Overwatch, I didn't find it fun because it didn't feel tense. But when Sudden Attack 2 came out, I knew 'this isn't it' after one game. I thought the sequel would be a lot different than the predecessor like Special Force 1 and 2, but the two Sudden Attacks were basically the same. Personally, I don't like the Sudden Attack franchise because of the way aiming moves. But once the competitive mode came out for Overwatch, I started grinding and stacking the points.
Inven Global - by Hevve
Speaking of Korean Overwatch, I am massively looking forward to APEX Season 2 after a period of less competitive and more predictable domestic tournaments in Europe and North America. Many Korean teams have made roster changes to consolidate talent, the returning Western teams look hot, and we may see
The Korean people were asking for more.
Better production, with professional shoutcasters that could entertain the audience and give in-depth analysis at the same time. A larger prize pool, enough to fully entice the talented amateurs hesitant to commit. And a massive stage, on which famous teams around the globe could collide.
And so came forth Overwatch APEX.
Overbuff - by CaptainPlanet
APEX was unique in its map selection system and, while the format was not to everybody's tastes, it certainly did not attract the same criticism as MLG Vegas, IEM Gyeonggi, and NGE Winter Premiere. Those tournaments used predetermined maps, sometimes changed at the last minute, reportedly dictated by Blizzard. It caused a stir in the community to say the least.
CaptainPlanet here provides the best written summary of the arguments, blasting nonsense criticisms of pros whilst using data to analyse how different map systems would actually affect viewers. Even though the heat has died down in this debate, it remains a crucial topic for players and viewers.
Let’s get this straight: the pros already know all the maps. They likely know the maps better than anyone even reading this article, probably even better than 99.9% of the player base.
That is exactly the issue when it comes to having such a deep map pool and no way to control it: the pros have to play against their own peers.
All of the tournaments of 2016, all of the decisions and formats and talent choices, in hindsight feel like a test for the upcoming Overwatch League. MonteCristo is placed in a great position to analyse what we know and what we don't about the ambitious plans, and takes us through his interpretation of the facts in this video.