You’ve heard his commentaries and you’ve seen him live during Overwatch streams – most recently at the 2017 Overwatch World Cup at BlizzCon 2017. And guess what? We got in touch with one of the commentators of the recent Overwatch World Cup, James ‘Jamerson‘ Lee to discuss about his predictions, thoughts and hopes of the inaugural season set to kick off in January.
Which team is your early-season favourites to win Overwatch League and why?
My early favorite for the OWL is quite easily going to be Seoul Dynasty. This roster finally solves the roster problem that Lunatic-Hai had been trying to address for many seasons now. With the addition of Fleta, Munchkin, et al Seoul Dynasty shore up the weaknesses that many found in L-H.
Heading into Overwatch League, which scene (NA/ EU/ APAC) comes closest to the levels of the Koreans?
NA/EU comes closest to the levels of Korea as we got to see during the world cup from the performances of Team USA, France and Korea. The issue with the APAC teams is that in many of the regions it consists of, the talent is either pooled in one or two strong teams e.g. MY and Flash Wolves of China and Taiwan respectively, or talent is dispersed sparsely across many teams like in Japan.
Do you believe EnVyUs’ performance at APEX Season 3 fair indication on where the rest of the world are compared to the Korean teams?
Not at all. EnVyUs’ performance during APEX Season 3 was the result of lots of other factors instead of a perceived skill gap. Again, while World Cup was largely exhibition matches, we can see that star studded rosters can compete against South Korea. With the addition of extra support staff and the higher calibre standards for practice, I believe the rest of the world can catch up.
Why did it take so long for the Overwatch League to come to fruition? What is the main roadblock to launch such a circuit?
So long? I’m surprised something of this magnitude came together so quickly honestly. I was worried about the timeline set forth last year when the Overwatch League was announced. You have to understand that the OWL is a monumental undertaking. Hiring the actual OWL team(this includes broadcast, business dev, and so many different aspects), securing the investors and helping endemic orgs build relationships with them, planning/building out a studio, working with Team 4 to improve the spectator client, and so much more. The main roadblock is that there are no roads. This is new found ground.
Where do you see Overwatch in a year’s time?
I want to see the OWL expand its divisions. Asian, North American, European, Oceanic divisions. I would venture to guess that Korea will probably be the only region to have it’s own division by season 2 though.
You could choose to focus on tons of other titles – what led you to dedicate yourself to Overwatch?
I love the game. As simple as that. I had been eagerly awaiting its beta for months on end. I called off work to play more Overwatch. During beta I was probably logging 8-12 hours a day. To put history behind it though, I’ve always loved FPS games beginning with the beta days of CS. I moved on to thoroughly enjoy class based shooters like Day of Defeat and Team Fortress. Eventually I made my way over to LoL. When Overwatch came around, it was just the perfect culmination of my gaming history.
In your opinion, what differentiates Overwatch from other esports games – and what makes it a viable esports title?
First, it’s a 6v6 game and as such the individual carry potential of a player is a bit reduced, which makes it that much more incredible when you see clutch plays. And honestly, I can’t speak to the viability of OW as an esports title. I’m not an expert when it comes to esports as I do not have the experience that many others in the industry have. For me, I just have faith in the game because I love it.
What areas do you think Blizzard can improve to increase viewership of Overwatch and make it more accessible to the masses (e.g casuals and non-gamers)
We already saw the huge impact that the new spec UI updates have had upon viewership. The easiest way Blizzard can increase viewership is by simply offering drops for viewers.
Do you have any favoured teams going into the first season?
Beyond the the three main Korean rosters along with Envyus? I believe Philly, and Houston will be incredibly strong not simply because of the talent on the rosters, but because of the support staff set in place.
Personally do you prefer seeing a franchise lineup comprising of an all-star roster or pre-made from pre-existing pro teams?
Why not both? Bolster a pre-existing team by improving upon its weaker points. This is the reason why I like rosters like Seoul and Houston.
You can follow James on Twitter here and hear him cast for the Overwatch League, possibly as early as December when the pre-season kicks off, followed by the inaugural Overwatch League season which is set to kick off January 10, 2018, The regular season concludes in June 2018 and will be followed by a playoffs and finals. All regular season games will be played at the Blizzard Arena Los Angeles for the inaugural season.
You can check out Part 1 of our Overwatch League teams preview here. and Part 2 of it here as well.