4th Regions are messed up. Australian Teams are scrimming Korean Teams, good luck finding a good ranked game in Oceania, and some regions don’t even have Lan Finals or an English broadcast (Although to be fair some regions like China are getting one soon). It is ridiculously complicated for players from “non-prime” regions like NA, EU or Korea to prove themselves. Don’t take this the wrong way but a lot of people in South America, for example, have even less of a financial foundation to stand on while they pursue a professional career, so not giving them proper finals, streams or decent prize money makes these regions really seem like “memes” at this point. I don’t know the solution to this but having more cross-region Contenders Matches could be a good idea like they had at the end of last season although that was pretty bare bones.
Sorry for being Australian I guess, it’s now 10x harder for you to go pro than someone living in the US for example.
5th “But stux, can’t all the western trash players just get good?”. I mean, yeah I guess they can, but for a system that promotes local talent growth Contenders sure doesn’t care about teams just importing as many Koreans as possible. I love my team to bits, every single player, but having to compete against players like WooHyaL, Tizi, Nanohana or Nenne over an academy slot is ridiculously difficult. As a coach, it’s a bit easier but when I was trialing for a team and another Korean coach was present I already knew that my chances of getting picked up were slim. I think this just shows how Korea supports its Esports culture and thus manages to create more high tier players than other regions. “Oh sorry but the other coach had Apex experience!” is not a great thing to hear. So yeah, western players could just outperform Koreans, but let’s be real here, compared to Korea the western Tier 2 scene is dead.
Some sort of region lock could help. I know that there are arguments against this such as “Shouldn’t the best player always get the slot, isn’t that the point behind the competition?” and I agree with those, but I am sure that a lot of fellow Tier 3/2 players agree that Koreans have a considerable impact on the western scene. This point is very controversial so feel free to share your thoughts on the matter in the comments.
6th Cronyism. That’s when you take a friend over someone more qualified when trying to fill a position. And there is lots of it in the Tier 3/2.5 scene. This is not something Blizzard can fix, but it’s something that aspiring players need to be aware of. There will be a lot of situations where another player got picked over you just because he knew the manager. Teams also leak comps and strats, sometimes even VoDs from competing teams, at which point it can become difficult to stay competitive without doing things like that yourself (I can proudly say I have never taken part in anything like that, up to you if you believe me of course).
So yeah, even if you manage to get past all the other hurdles like funding, exposure, bad regions and imports, and you actually get good at the game, you might still not make it just because someone else knows more people. Competitive bootlicking.
7th This has been talked to death so I’ll try to keep it short. It is incredibly difficult to get better at this game compared to other games. No replay system which makes it harder for lower tier players to learn from their own mistakes or to rewatch higher tier players from their PoV. Catching up is hell. Top Teams only scrim each other for obvious reasons and there are stringent limitations on Pugs (Pick up games) for high tier players, so there’s even less opportunity to practice against top talent. Ranked is not a good place for improvement especially if all the top players are being moved to the West Coast, making it harder for other regions to get good comp matches without using a VPN (I don’t know the exact percentage, but I lost count of the number of players I know that have to pay for a VPN using their non existent Trials money just so they can get decent comp games).
The top tier players keep getting better and better, while the lower tier players keep falling behind. The amount of stuff that I have learned as a coach since I have been working with XL2 (I worked with them before the announcement, just has to finalize some stuff) is insane compared to what I learned on previous teams only because I get to work with higher level players and have a vast support structure behind me.
8th Patches. When I was coaching FLOW in this last open division, it was impossible for me to improve really beside just watching the teams VoDs. I think there were 3 different patches at one point?” 1.22, 1.24 and 1.25 (Don’t quote me on that). Finding new strats and learning about the game is hard when the top competition plays a different game.
Just imagine being an Open Division Team that has to practice on patch A, then you get into Trials where you have to play Patch B against teams that have been playing on Patch B for weeks, and then you get into Contenders where you have to go to Patch C against teams that have been practicing Patch C for weeks. What’s going on? Let alone the fact that Trials teams got their OPR accounts late (at least some of them), so they had even less time to prepare than relegating teams.
Having 4 teams go from Trials into Contenders is nice, but it is challenging for relegated Contenders teams not to qualify again during trials. No offense to any relegated Contenders teams of course, but a lot of Tier 3 players agree that some teams and players made it pretty far even though they are nowhere near the level required to compete.
Map pools are also changing all the time, which is bizarre considering that Open and Trials isn’t even officially streamed so “Map Fatigue” is not a valid argument for viewers. Ever wondered why so many Contenders teams are picking Rialto? They were scrimming that map while Trials teams had to practice a completely different pool. Obviously, this isn’t an instawin condition, but it’s one of the many problems present.
Low prize pools
Strict sponsorship limitations
Academy Teams having a distinct advantage
Not a lot of advertisement for T2
No third party tournaments
Some regions are screwed
Having to compete against a lot of Koreans
Shady shit going on behind the back
Cronyism, people take friends over talent
No replay system
Patches are a mess
Map Pools are a mess
Ranked is a mess
Disclaimer before you comment: I just wrote this up real quick with the help of some T2/T3 players. Sorry if the grammar and stuff isn’t super top notch, I don’t have that much time anymore to make these posts (duty calls!), so I tried to keep the pace. Also, I know that some of these things may be controversial and aren’t easy to fix. This post isn’t saying “Blizzard you suck can you fix your stuff”, it’s saying “You want to go pro? Well, you are in for a treat!”.
Do you have any questions about the competitive scene and what it’s like to go pro in Overwatch? Write a comment, and I’ll get back to you. I’ll try to reply to everyone, but I might miss or forget something.
I hope I could give you an interesting perspective on the path to pro from someone who actually walked it! Zacharee I’ll get you curly fries soon don’t worry."