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Fragster | 29. July 2022

Overwatch EU Contenders players go on strike

In an unprecedented situation, yesterday’s European Overwatch Contenders broadcast was abruptly ended after participating teams went on strike to protest Blizzard’s administrative decision to shorten one of the matches. Multiple sources and leaked audio suggest a confusion among administrators that led to a controversial decision.

Immediately before the strike, a face-off between Munich eSports and 01 Esports in the upper bracket final of the tournament started as a scheduled best-of-seven series. However, following the organizer’s sudden decision to shorten the match to best-of-five, Ex Oblivione and 01 Esports players have declined to continue competing in the Overwatch Contenders 2022 Summer Series Lower Finals.

Admins end the match

First in the Munich eSports vs. 01 Esports match, Munich won three consecutive maps and took a 3-0 lead. 01 Esports then won two maps and headed for a reverse sweep against Munich. The score was 3-2 when the Overwatch Contenders admins abruptly ended the game.

According to multiple social media posts and sources close to the Contenders, the admins ended the series because they felt it should have been a normal best-of-five match. The victory was awarded to Munich eSports and the broadcast continued with the lower bracket final.

However, multiple players on both sides of the match reported that admins had previously confirmed that the match would be best-of-seven. 01 Esports tank Timber “kraandop” Rensen said that teams were specifically told on July 27 that it was going to be a best-of-seven series. He even included screenshots from Munich eSports tank Choose, confirming the length of the series with an admin.

Typos make chaos

Audio posted by a Twitter account listed only as “Amir” appeared on YouTube shortly after players began protesting the decision. In the leaked audio, which has now been re-uploaded, the Overwatch Contenders lead admin announces on a Discord call to the players and staff present that the game is ending and Munich have won.

“There was a typo on our GameBattles page, but according to our rules for this particular match, this should be a first-to-three [best-of-five],” said the lead admin in the audio.

After finishing his explanation and decision, a contestant asked: “So we’re going to keep playing, right?” When the game master said no, nervous laughter and protest erupted in the group. The recording continued for 17 minutes while players express their protests against the decision. In the end, the admin said bluntly that the game still ends as a best-of-five and that Munich is the winner.

In a protest to the decision, Ex Oblivione and 01 Esports started their lower bracket finals match with a Torbjörn one-vs-one on Nepal. In the game’s chat, a coordinator identified as “CNTDR594” threatened “potential action” which included “withdrawal of prizes” as well as a “disqualification for the next tournament” if the teams wouldn’t play.

The broadcast was then cut short, and Ex Oblivione issued an official statement, stating the team was refusing to continue the series due to “general lack of communication affecting the competitive integrity of the tournament”.

Blizzard’s response 

As a result of the prostest, the EU Contenders broadcast was placed on hold with a screen showing the results of the game, as is common with broadcast breaks. Eventually, presenter Dusttin Bowerman returned to the screen to apologize for the delay and to tell fans that the broadcast would be ended immediately.

Overwatch Contenders then followed with a Twitter statement explaining that the whole situation was caused by an error. Ex Oblivione and 01 Esports were not disqualified for their protests, and  01 Esports Munich eSports will be able to finish the match as the originally intended best-of-seven series.

Even though the situation will in the end turn out in favor of the players, this only adds to the long list of Blizzard’s fiascos, which the community has been increasingly fed up with for a while now. Furthermore, some also point out the improper treatment of semi-pro Overwatch esports by the developer.

 

Header: Blizzard Entertainment