Aug 26 2016 - 1:28 pm

A $250,000 Overwatch tournament is coming to China, will feature teams from Asia and North America

Overwatch has another six-figure tournament—this time in China
Samuel Lingle
Dot Esports

Overwatch has another six-figure tournament—this time in China.

Banana Plan, the media company that produced the League of Legends Pro League in China this year, has partnered with Blizzard to create a pan-Pacific Overwatch championship with nearly $250,000 on the line.

The event will pit China’s top six teams against six teams pulled from Japan, South Korea, and North America. The championship will open early in September with a 32 team qualifying phase for Chinese teams, the top four advancing to a second stage run from Sept. 15 to Oct. 2 where they’ll compete against 12 invited Chinese teams for 6 spots in the international event.

The championships stage running from Oct. 6 to Oct. 16 will pit those six teams against six pulled from around the Pacific, though details on how those international challengers will be selected were not revealed. The international stage will he hosted in Shanghai's Hong Qiao Performing Arts Center, where Banana Plan produces the LPL.

The event features a smaller prize pool than the Overwatch Open, which will put the game on television, but should offer an exciting look at the strength of teams from the Asian region. While China and South Korea have a long history of professional gaming at the highest level, both boasting multiple Overwatch teams practicing full-time in team houses, unlike North America and Europe, their gaming skills generally come from different genres, like MOBAs.

While MOBA skills certainly play an important part of Overwatch, Asian teams arguably lack the shooter skills honed over nearly a decade of competition in games like Counter-Strike, Quake, and Team Fortress that their North American competitors will field. The pan-Pacific tournament excludes teams from Europe, which looked like the strongest region in Overwatch at the ESL Atlantic Showdown, where two European teams reached the final. But even without them, it should provide a solid gauge as to just where the Asian teams stand, and if their intense training schedules will make them international contenders now or in the near future.

Banana Plan is owned by Wang Sicong, the son of China’s richest man, who has become a bit of an esports benefactor in China by throwing his father’s money around. He also owns Invictus Gaming, which features two Overwatch teams, Fire and Ice, that are strong enough to be invited to the tournament.

Jan 20 2017 - 4:08 pm

Kungarna, Immortals advance to Overwatch Winter Premiere finals

Team Liquid and Renegades will not move on.
Nicole Carpenter
Dot Esports
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Andrej "babybay" Francisty hides just out of view while the rest of Kungarna baits compLexity Gaming into position in the second floor corridor inside the Dorado ziggurat. Babybaby, on pink-haired tank hero Zarya, peeks out from the side and unleashes graviton surge just as Michael "mykL" Padilla launches his D.Va self destruct bomb from the first floor, right into the mess of compLexity players upstairs. And that's the majority of compLexity just melted by the massive bomb combo.

With four compLexity players down, Kungarna is able to cruise right to the finish.

As one of the only two unsigned teams heading into Next Generation Esports' Overwatch Winter Premiere, Kungarna took many opponents by surprise. Some questioned whether they'd be able to get out of the first phase of group stages. But it's going to be hard to overlook Kungarna after their incredible run in the round of six. The team fell only to Team Liquid on day one and Immortals on day two, going undefeated on day three.

Heading into the finals, which begin Jan. 27 at PAX South in San Antonio, Texas, Kungarna doesn't have to worry about Team Liquid. Along with Renegades, Team Liquid will not move on to the LAN finals for the Overwatch Winter Premiere. Instead, Kungarna will take on Immortals, compLexity Gaming, and Luminosity Gaming next week.

Renegades' early departure from the Overwatch Winter Premiere will likely shock fans, given the win streak the newly acquired team started the tournament with. But on day four of the round of eight, everything changed: They started losing and never stopped. Through the round of six, Renegades put up a fight, taking one round each match, but weren't able to take a full series. With the whole team moving to Detroit to live and play together, Renegades is surely hoping to regain their initial success.

The single elimination finals bracket begins Jan. 27 and will continue into Jan. 28. The tournament will be broadcast live on both the PAX Arena and NGE Overwatch Twitch channels.

Jan 19 2017 - 9:19 pm

Overwatch players honor friend with heartfelt send-off

The tribute was organized by a Philippines-based gaming collective.
Nicole Carpenter
Dot Esports
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Processing the death of a friend is never easy. But it can help to grieve where you spent time together—even if that happens to be the battlegrounds of Overwatch.

When the team at games website Too Much Gaming lost their beloved colleague Willem Den Toom, they took to Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch to express their pain. Using Toom's favorite Overwatch heroes—Pharah, Reinhardt, Symmetra, Zarya, and Lúcio—and Hanzo, the group of friends coordinated rocket launcher and fire strike sendoffs toward Overwatch map Eichenwalde's moon as a gun salute for their friend.

"Wherever you are, may the payload be always moving, the point always contested, no one trickles out, and may there always [be] a healer on your team," Toom's friends posted to YouTube. "We miss you, big guy. This Play of the Game is for you."

Toom suffered a heart attack and died at 35 on Jan. 16, Too Much Gaming editor Carlos Herdandez told Mic. "He was loved by many and his loss pretty much struck waves in various communities in the gaming community here in the Philippines," Hernandez said. "Overwatch was the one game that we play together regularly after a long day. It's one of his favorite games." Honoring Toom in Overwatch was an obvious choice for the group.

The video ends with each player sending off Hanzo's dragonstrike ultimate, unleashing a continuous stream of swirling dragons toward the moon.

H/t Mic