Heading into 2020, the Overwatch League’s Vancouver Titans had been heavy favorites to avenge their 2019 grand finals loss — however that now appears extremely unlikely. Today, the esports club announced it has dropped its total roster halfway by way of the season.
The problem appears to stem not less than partly because of problems across the league’s shift to an online-only format as a result of ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas gamers and workers had been initially primarily based in Vancouver, the gamers relocated to South Korea, the place the whole thing of the Titans’ roster is from, as soon as the league moved on-line.
In an announcement, Tim Holloway, esports director for Titans proprietor Aquilini Group, stated the shift created quite a lot of points that the membership wasn’t in a position to work by way of:
Our preliminary plan was for the workforce to affix the Asian division and proceed to play the brand new schedule from the consolation of gamers’ houses, but it surely was rapidly obvious that this created a complete new set of challenges. The time distinction made it troublesome for administration and the house fanbase to attach with the workforce and technical challenges for the gamers enjoying from residence additional exacerbated the scenario.
With the group unable to fulfill the gamers expectations in Korea, and after a lot deliberation and dialog with the gamers, the troublesome determination was made to maneuver the workforce again to the North American division and each the gamers and administration agreed that discovering a brand new residence for the gamers could be in everybody’s finest curiosity.
Whereas the transfer is important, there have been indicators of points main as much as it. Final week, the workforce let go of each its head coach, Hwang “PaJion” Jisub, and prime participant, HyunWoo “Jjanu” Choi, with no rationalization. The workforce additionally had a middling file of 2-2, a far cry from their dominating 25-Three season in 2019.
The transfer additionally means the Titans at the moment don’t have a roster to compete with, regardless of being scheduled to play two matches this weekend. According to a report from ESPN, the membership plans to signal the roster of workforce Second Wind, which competes within the second-tier Overwatch Contenders circuit. “We stay up for asserting our new roster of Titans within the coming days,” Holloway stated in an announcement.
The Titans collapse is the newest in a string of dangerous information that paints an unsure future for Blizzard’s formidable esports league. Whereas OWL was initially slated to start its much-anticipated shift to home-and-away matches this season, the league — together with its contemporaries in esports — was pressured to shift to a web-based format as a substitute. The league has additionally seen a decline in viewership after switching from Twitch to YouTube.
Extra not too long ago, reigning league MVP Jay “Sinatraa” Gained of the San Francisco Shock — the workforce that defeated the Titans for the 2019 league championship — abruptly retired mid-season to change to Riot’s new workforce shooter Valorant, which remains to be in closed beta.