Overwatch World Cup: Sydney Group Stage
Earlier this month, the Australian leg of the Overwatch World Cup Group Stage took place at The Star casino in Pyrmont, Sydney. In front of 2,000 eager fans, eight international Overwatch teams took to the stage to determine which two teams from the event will be competing at the Overwatch World Cup finals in BlizzCon, held later this year. Consequently, stakes were high, and the Overwatch community was eager to witness and support our home-grown Australian team.
After the Australian team beat both Italy and Portugal 4-0 over Day 1 and 2 of the Cup, both the team and crowd were confident that this trend would continue in their game against Sweden on Day 3. However, Sweden was to claim victory in the match-up, with a 3-1 win securing their spot in the playoffs later that evening.
With a tied overall score of 9 wins/3 losses, both Sweden and Australia were the clear leaders in their group’s round robin matchups, and both teams went on to a playoff stage against Spain and Japan, respectively.
Sweden claimed a clean 3-0 victory over Spain, while Australia had a nail-biting 3-2 win over Japan – a game that captured the attention of Aussies everywhere and was undoubtedly the highlight of the weekend, if not the entire Group Stage of the Cup.
As the overall winners of Group C and D, both the Swedes and Aussies have guaranteed their spot in BlizzCon’s Overwatch World Cup finals in Anaheim, California later this year. This weekend has certainly proved that the Australian team is a force to be reckoned with, and the intense Australian pride within the stadium and throughout the #OWWC hashtag proves that the country’s Overwatch community is behind them every step of the way.
The team that brought this event to life certainly outdid themselves, with The Star’s event centre (normally the home of the ARIA awards) radically transformed into an impressive eSports arena. Over 2000 fans arrived to show their support and the venue was more than prepared to host them, even providing small Australian flags to spectators cheering for the national team.
Official cosplayers were also present at the event, with a fully armoured Reinhardt making an easy crowd favourite, closely rivalled by the latest hero to join the character rooster – Doomfist, who was decked out in an impressive gauntlet replica made by Henchman Studios.
Event staff were perhaps less prepared for the pop-up gear store, with its unexpected popularity attracting significantly long lines and often selling-out merchandise. This is a no-brainer to improve upon at future events, with fans more than willing to open their wallets for the chance at some sweet Blizzard loot.
The Broadcast Talent
Both the casters and desk analysts were at the top of their game, providing insightful and engaging commentary during and between matches. Particularly impressive were Mitch Leslie (Uber) and Andrew Rush (Tempo), who were casters for Sunday morning’s match between Australia and Sweden. For those unaware, this particular match was broadcast live on 7mate – a first for commercial free-to-air TV in Australia.
This presented a challenge to the casters, as viewers tuning in may be watching Overwatch for the very first time, and be unaware of the mechanics and lingo of the game. Uber and Tempo rose to the challenge and very effectively kept spectators in the know, pointing out key features of the game and expertly directing focus to important moments during the match.
This event has been widely regarded as a success, made even sweeter by the Australian team’s excellent performance against Italy, Portugal, and Japan. All eyes will be on the team as they compete in the Top 8 finals at BlizzCon this November, and we wish them all the best.