2017 Year in Review - July through December
Lots happened this year in Overwatch, and we’ve got a recap of some of the highlights! Here are some of the events that took place during the second half of 2017. Be sure to catch the first half!
July was a big month and opened with a number of tournament finals. In the Season 1 Pacific Championship, Taiwan’s Flash Wolves defeated Australia’s Blank Esports, in Contenders Season 0, eUnited defeated 123 4 to 1, and Immortals defeated Team Liquid 4-1, and at APEX, Lunatic-Hai became two-time champions after they beat Kongdoo Panthera 4-3
APEX announced that beginning with the next season, Western teams would no longer be invited to the tournament
Doomfist was teased with a news article suggesting Talon helped break Akande Ogundim, a.k.a. Doomfist, out of a Helix facility, and two days later he was officially revealed by Jeff Kaplan as the next hero. “Masquerede,” a comic detailing Doomfist’s overthrowing of the Talon leadership came out soon after, and left many hoping for some new skins for our Talon heroes, and also introduced us to another hero, but we didn’t know it at the time.
The first two Group Stages for the World Cup took place in with China and France winning in Shanghai, and Sweden and Australia winning in Sydney. More Overwatch League news came out, welcoming the first seven cities, and we also learned about player contracts and salaries.
A few weeks after his reveal, Doomfist hit the live servers, we gained the ability to customize crosshairs and the ability to capture highlights, improvements were made to loot boxes that would reduce the chance of duplicates, Reinhardt’s hammer would swing faster, and it was made more difficult to escape Zarya’s Graviton Surge.
August continued the trend of having Overwatch esports to watch almost every weekend with APEX Season 4 and Contenders season 1 beginning. More OWL news came out, this time being that London would have a team, Los Angeles would have a second team, and Seoul revealed their roster.
In-game, we had the return of the Summer Games event, which gave us popular skins such as Soldier: 76’s Grillmaster: 76, Widowmaker’s Cote D’Azur, and Mercy’s Winged Victory. Lúcioball also received the competitive treatment, allowing players to rank and compete in Copa Lúcioball.
In a developer update, we were informed about changes coming for the next season of competitive mode: seasons would be 2 months in length instead of 3, Control (King of the Hill) maps would become best of 3 instead of best of 5, players in Silver through Diamond who could not maintain their tier would be dropped into lower tiers, and SR would no longer be artificially dropped during placements.
August also saw the beginning of a news item that we’d still be talking about through the end of the year: Mercy’s upcoming rework.
The month opened with the beginning of Season 6, which had the above-mentioned, and well-received, changes to competitive. We also received two comics, “Wasted Land,” where we learn how Junkrat and Roadhog met, and we followed Zarya on her mission to find Sombra in “Searching.” This comic also squashed fan theories that Alejandra, the girl Soldier: 76 saved in his short, grew up to be Sombra.
In esports, a new a tournament venue, the Blizzard Arena, was announced, Cloud9 acquired KongDoo Panthera, and Miraculous Youngster defeated Vici Gaming in China’s Premier Series. In the World Cup, South Korea and Canada won in Katowice, and the United States and United Kingdom won in Santa Monica. For the Overwatch League, the final three cities were revealed, and we saw our first team name and logo, the Shanghai Dragons.
In another major patch, we received Junkertown, changes to Mystery Heroes where players could no longer suicide to get new heroes, D.Va was given Micro Missiles and her Defensive Matrix uptime was reduced, and Mercy’s rework went live, making her the must-have pick support for the coming months.
The Overwatch League was in our sights all month as seven of the twelve teams had their names and logos revealed. In tournaments, at the Premier Grand Finals, Miraculous Youngster defeated 1246 4-2, at Contenders, Team Gigantti defeated Misfits 4-3 and EnVyUs defeated FaZe Clan 4-0, and GC Busan would go on to defeat RunAway at both APEX and APAC.
On the PTR, Mercy would undergo numerous changes to bring her rework down a notch, with each change being heralded as the end to Mercy to many when her pick rate went from “in every match” to “almost always in every match.”
Junkenstein’s Revenge returned, this time with a new ally for Junkenstein, The Summoner, adding Symmetra and her Shield Generator into the fray. In this same patch, a much requested change to ultimates rolled out to where the ultimate would be lost if the caster was stunned while it was charging up, such as with Genji’s Dragon Blade. This change has led to some awkward-feeling moments though, where physical objects such as Tracer’s Pulse Bomb can disappear mid-air if she’s stunned after casting it.
BlizzCon opened the month with big reveals! Reinhardt’s voice actor Darin De Paul introduced us to “Honor and Glory,” Reinhardt’s animated short, while Jeff Kaplan revealed that the next map would be Blizzard World, and the next support hero would be Moira, spelled OP AF. In the huge Overwatch Arena at BlizzCon, South Korea defeated Canada 4-1.
In a mid-month patch, after only being on the PTR for about two weeks, Moira was released into the world. In the same patch, Ana’s damage was increased to 70, adding to her viability, Winston now had a shield strength indicator similar to Reinhardt and Orisa, and Mercy received the most recent changes to her rework, where Resurrection now had a cast timer unless Valkyrie was active, and Resurrection could be interrupted.
Lastly, November saw the unexpected passing of Dennis “INTERNETHULK” Hawelka. In both his honor and in an effort to help his family with costs, the community came together to raise funds with the HulkTastic Cup charity tournament. The Overwatch League also created an award in his name to be presented to the player deemed to have had the most positive impact each season.
Winter Wonderland returned with lots of fun new skins and other items for our heroes, as well as Mei’s Snowball Offensive from last winter. Also new this year, a winter-themed Black Forest map, and new Yeti Hunter mode which pit five Meis against a yeti. The ability to select a favored role for this mode has given many players hopes that role selection will appear in other areas of the game. In the Winter Wonderland path, we also received new Player Warning updates, where we get notifications when actions are taken on reports, the Hero Gallery now has a Mark All As Seen button, and a number of Doomfist bugs that had plagued him since release were finally corrected.
With the new event also came a short comic starring Mei called “Yeti Hunt.”
After over a year of waiting, the Overwatch League officially began and had its first matches. The preseason took place over four days, with all teams making appearances except for the Philadelphia Fusion, who had logistics issues getting everyone to the event. Most teams did as well as expected, but some had a few surprises in store.
Finally, as the year was wrapping up and many of us were at home for the holidays, Jeff Kaplan started in a 10 hour Yule Log event where he sat in front of a fireplace, quietly sitting and looking around the room. Occasionally he took a break to open a present, eat a cookie, or even reveal the next Overwatch hero!
Happy New Year!
That’s a wrap for our recap of 2017! We couldn’t possibly cover everything, but we hope you enjoyed a look at some of the highlights. There were many amazing moments in esports, from great plays to great players, a plethora of content created, from podcasts to cosplay, and many fantastic moments of the community coming together. Have an amazing 2018!