Zero Employee Demands Addressed

It’s been over five weeks since the employee walkout at Blizzard and leadership continues to ignore the demands of their employees:

Activision Blizzard Employee Demands

  • The end of forced arbitration for all employees.

  • Worker participation in oversight of hiring and promotion policies.

  • The need for greater pay transparency to ensure equality.

  • Employee selection of a third party to audit HR and other company processes.

Today’s walkout will demonstrate that this is not a one-time event that our leaders can ignore. We will not return to silence; we will not be placated by the same processes that led us to this point.

This is the beginning of an enduring movement in favor of better labor conditions for all employees, especially women, in particularly women of color and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups.

We expect a prompt response and a commitment to action from leadership on the points enumerated above, and look forward to maintaining a constructive dialogue on how to build a better Activision Blizzard for all employees.

Today, we stand up for change. Tomorrow and beyond, we will be the change.

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Overwatch Esports

OWL 2022 to play on Overwatch 2

Overwatch League Vice President Jon Spector revealed this week that the 2022 season of the Overwatch League is planned to begin in April 2022, or in about seven months. This is counter to rumors that purported the League would not resume for over a year.

Spector also confirmed that the 2022 season will be played on an “early build” of Overwatch 2. There were no details on what that meant exactly. What we do know from that news is that Blizzard feels the game would be releasing at some point during the 2022 season, and that it will be ready “enough” to be played at a competitive level by April 2022.

What we don’t know is when the rest of us will be able to play. My speculation is that we’ll have a beta out before or around April 2022, and that maybe Blizzard has set a soft target of releasing Overwatch 2 before or around the end of May in time for the game’s sixth anniversary. Again, purely guessing here.

OWL Skin Perks

Between the Playoffs and the Grand Finals, viewers will be able to earn over 15 Overwatch League skins. These are the Overwatch League branded gray, white, and gold skins. Some of these are duplicates of past releases, such as from previous tournaments, or even from when OWL was on Twitch.

All skins are based on the amount of time you watch each event.

For the Playoffs, you earn an OWL skin for these heroes after watching:

  • 3 hours: Reinhardt, Soldier: 76, Torbjörn

  • 6 hours: Junkrat, Roadhog, Sombra, plus the three skins listed above

  • 9 hours: Doomfist, Hanzo, McCree, plus the six skins listed above

For the Grand Finals, after watching:

  • 30 minutes: a spray unique to the Grand Finals

  • 1 hour: Orisa, Pharah, and Symmetra, plus the spray

  • 2 hours: Genji, Moira, and Reaper, 100 League Tokens, the three skins listed above, and the spray

You can see the entire schedule on the Overwatch League website.

OWL All-Stars Skins Return

Until September 26, all the past All-Stars skins are available for 200 OWL Tokens. This includes the incredibly popular Atlantic Mercy skin from 2019.

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Tanking in Overwatch 2

Last night Overwatch Community Manager AndyB took to Twitter to discuss players’ concerns over the tank role in Overwatch 2, and how important the other players become when the game switches to 5v5. Reactions to the thread on our Twitter showed numerous examples of why the Overwatch team doesn’t say much unless they have something major to show.

Here is the short version of what was said in the long post:

Tanks in Overwatch 2 are still disruptive line breakers and push-leading protectors. Tanks are still the authority on blocking damage, and now they won’t be contending with enemy tanks blocking all damage for their team. Because tanks aren’t responsible for mitigating overwhelming damage, it removes from pressure on the role.

With only one tank, every player needs to be more careful about where they position themselves. This also means support players are able to help keep their one tank, or other players, alive because they don’t have two tanks to worry about.

In playtests they’ve found flanking has become a stronger strategy, and maps are being used to their fullest because the reliance of high ground isn’t as strong. They’ve found that tanks rooted in mobility such as D.Va, Winston, and Wrecking Ball have to have their utility improved to give them additional defensive power. Also with the playtesting, they’ve found that highly mobile heroes like Doomfist, Tracer, and Wrecking Ball all need to be rebalanced or nerfed to not be super overpowered.

As you can imagine, responses to this thread have been very cordial and polite: “dogshit 5v5” and “removing skill from the game”. In short, the general response has made it clear why devs don’t comment publicly too often unless they have something major to show. It’s not unexpected but super disappointing.

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Miscellaneous

  • New Custom Games Browser was added live servers this week. In addition to seeing all games as you’ve always been able to do, you can now see popular games, save your favorites, and see a list of recent game modes you’ve played.
  • OWL viewership is up dramatically for 2021. (source)
  • ksf (Outlaws) is retiring from the Overwatch League and taking a break to reevaluate what they want. He cites medical issues during the season complicating things, along with his mental. (source)