Overwatch esports teams protest a mid-match rules change by not playing each other on-air

Oh no still Blizzard.

Recent action in the Overwatch European Contenders Summer Series was spicy, but not for the reasons one might expect out of an esports competition, as Blizzard reportedly elected to change the rules of a match being played between Munich Esports and 01 Esports, ultimately resulting in two esports teams performing an on-air strike over the decision.

The rule in question was regarding the teams playing to a best of seven in their face-off. The match initially saw Munich Esports go up 3-0, but then 01 Esports rallied to take the series 3-2. Both teams were ready to continue their scrap, but Blizzard abruptly called the match in favor of Munich Esports, saying it was always meant to be a best of five match. This set off a tinderbox of frustration among players and fans, particularly as players shared images of Discord conversations with Blizzard admins confirming the best of seven format.

The competition pressed on as 01 Esports was immediately scheduled to play the loser’s bracket against Ex Oblivione, but both of these teams had a surprise in store for Blizzard, as they coordinated with each other to basically stand around in-game and not fight one another in a live protest of the rules switcheroo – even as both teams were threatened with disqualification by event runners in in-game chat.

“We made an agreement with them that this was unacceptable, and that Blizzard can’t treat the players like this,” said 01 Esports support player Aron “ANJ” de Jong. “We agreed with Ex Oblivione to not play the game, but we wanted to make a statement so we decided to play the game but not actually compete.”

The Overwatch Contenders Twitter account later put out a statement, claiming a communication error and confirming that both Munich Esports and 01 Esports will duke it out again in a best of seven. Additionally, 01 Esports and Ex Oblivione will not be disqualified.

source: The Verge via Kotaku
Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees strike and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2022, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
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