OWL on YouTube Gets Enhancements

Improvements to the OWL viewing experience were announced this week. They are:

  • Viewers will be able to earn OWL Tokens by watching on either the Overwatch League website or on YouTube. Previously viewers were forced to watch on the League’s website due YouTube’s lack of a system for this. (Side note: This new feature begins with the Flash Ops Tournament this weekend.)
  • 4K is now an option in both live games and watching on-demand.
  • Viewers will be able to make clips, much like they could years ago on Twitch. This feature is not yet out for all channels, and only “select gaming channels” such as the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League.
  • This year there will be always-on player cameras.
  • With three West division teams temporarily moving to Asia for 2021 due to the pandemic, games played by NYXL, Philadelphia, and the LA Valiant will be rebroadcast at NA-friendly times. Viewership rewards will be available for these rebroadcasts. The list of which games this affects are at the announcement link above, and they will flagged as such in the schedule online.
  • The website will now have a scores ticker at the top of the website (with an optional spoiler-free mode).

These are very welcome as the move from Twitch to YouTube has been less than ideal, with many features missing. There was lower stream quality unless watching on the MLG website, no way to get OWL Tokens without a kludge fix to watch games on the OWL website, and gone was the ability to watch the game from any player’s view. That last one, sadly, is still unavailable.

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New OWL & MVP Skins

Until April 6, two new OWL skins are available for 200 OWL Tokens each: Midas Roadhog and Good vs. Evil Echo.

Midas Roadhog honors the San Francisco Shock for their back to back championships after their win against Seoul Dynasty at the end of the 2020 season. A few touches include the two stars on the plate over Roadhog’s belly to represent the two wins, and his hook is meant to be similar in design to the championship trophy.

The Good vs. Evil Echo MVP skin celebrates Fleta and his success in the Overwatch League thanks to his expansive hero pool. When asked what he would like the skin to look like, he wanted it to reflect the two sides of what he thinks are his personality: his calm outside of the game, and aggressiveness inside.

Fleta’s MVP skin will be the last one created based on a player. While no reason was given, it’s assumed this is because of the situation around former MVP winner Sinatraa and the Alien Zarya skin that was made for him. It’s not too surprising because World of Warcraft has dealt with similar and there are far fewer references to people in the WoW community after some were later found to be not so good people.

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Flash Ops Tournament This Weekend

The Flash Ops Experimental Tournament begins today, Friday, March 26. These games will be off-air. Every OWL team will have at least three players in the tournament so uh, good luck!

This tournament uses the “balance” changes suggested on and voted by panel a few weeks ago. You can see the full patch notes here. Remember that these changes are not expected to ever reach the live servers in a batch like this, but if something does prove to actually be good or work, it might be added in the future, maybe with some adjustments. I think it’s safe to assume Torbjorn will not get two turrets, at least in the form they will be in for this tournament.

On both Saturday and Sunday, three matches will air on the OWL YouTube Channel beginning at 12pm Pacific / 7pm GMT. Viewers will also be able to earn OWL Tokens as described in the Enhancements article above.

Miscellaneous

  • Aspen spoke to Inven Global about what it was like as the first woman to reach Rank #1 in NA Overwatch and her dreams to play in OWL.
  • Brennon “Bren” Hook announced that he is taking a hiatus from Plat Chat, the show he co-hosts with Mr. X, Sideshow, and Reinforce, due to anxiety related to working on the show.
  • A brewery in Washington DC has made a Washington Justice beer.
  • In wholesome news this week, a new spray for Junkrat called “‘Venomous’ by Leon” appeared in-game with no context or announcement. I reached out to Blizzard and they said: ““Venomous by Leon was created by a huge Overwatch fan in Australia who suffers from chronic illness. We won’t be diving into further details out of respect to the family, but we wish Leon the best.””

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