The Overwatch Contenders Season 3 has started with Contenders China already kicking it off last week Saturday. Up until now, the China, Australia, & EU divisions are running.
The Pacific Contenders will be happening next, with the first game starting this Thursday, 22/11/2018 at 5pm Malaysia time. Nova Esports vs Talon Esports will start off the first series.
The usual format will be applied as per Season 2; teams will be facing off each other every week, every Tuesday & Friday from 5pm to 9pm with 3 series each day. Top 8 teams will be moving to the Playoffs where those who win will advance further each step towards the Finals.
The Overwatch Contenders Pacific Season 3 will have 12 teams competing against each other; which are made of 8 teams from the Contenders Top 8 & 4 Teams from Trials Top 4.
Here’s a background on the “Path to Pro” journey that’s touted in Contenders: players start from the Open Divison, where the top 16 teams will be competing in playoffs to make it to Trials. The top 4 teams from Open Division will move forward in Trials, going against the Season 2’s Contenders Bottom 4.
Once they’ve made it as Trials Top 4, they can move forward to the Contenders. If these players perform well enough & get noticed, they’ll have a higher chance to get into the Overwatch League, as many players have shown in the recent signing of the League’s rosters. (I hope by now you’ll understand why Kehprii’s “shortcut controversy” received an uproar feedback from the community)
Our neighbouring country, Thailand, will have 3 teams competing this Season 3. Team Incipience from Singapore did not make it through Trials.
The Thailand teams are Giant Esports, Xavier Esports & LYNX TH. Each team has at least one member from Team Thailand during the Overwatch World Cup 2018.
Pannys, the Ana support, is with LYNX TH. The legendary Patiphan, who made a name for himself during the Overwatch World Cup at the age of 15, is with Xavier Esports. Wrecking Ball expert Teetawat, Rocket, & SaiyajinGOD will in with Giant Esports, with Teetawat appointed as team captain. I am incredibly excited to watch them play again.
The Main Issue With This Contenders
Blizzard’s claim that with the existence of 7 regional division for Contenders, more local talents from around the world can be found & shine. However, with 50% of Korean players in the Pacific Contenders, I am not entirely sure on this claim made by Blizzard (47 out of 94 players).
Pacific Contenders have 12 teams competing, but 5 teams are made entirely of Korean rosters (+1 Kephrii & 1 Snow from Singapore). Talon Esports, PHEONiX, We Are Eternal Gaming & New Paradigm have a full Korean roster. GE Pantheon KR have 8 Korean players & 1 Kehprii (who hails from the United States) while GrandXur has 8 Korean players & 1 Snow (from Singapore).
The appearance of all Korean rosters & Korean players in the Pacific Contenders in Season 3 is an increased of 7.69% compared to Season 2; this season has 44 Korean players out of 104. That is a lot of increment & you should understand by now why I am questioning the claim of “developing more local talents from around the world”.
Contenders have officially made a statement that starting 2019, soft region-locking will be introduced in Contenders where teams can only have a maximum of 3 non-resident players on their rosters. But I am still sceptical about this.
Talon Esports, PHEONiX, GrandXur, We Are Eternal Gaming, New Paradigm & GE Pantheon KR are teams based in Korea.
The terms used by the officials, “non-resident players” are highly subjective. Does this mean if the teams are based in Korea, it is okay for them to have a full Korean roster? And why does a Korean based team allowed in the Pacific region when Contenders Korea have a special contenders event for themselves? 5 Korean based team is a bit tad too much to be included in the Pacific division in my opinion.
One can argue that if we don’t put up the local talents with the best players, but how will local players improve? Again, I might ask, what is the purpose of Pacific Contenders when Korean teams can have some sort of “extenders to Contenders Korea” here?
The fact that the Pacific Contenders is 100% online (except for Season 2 Finals) is a huge disadvantage for the other countries which does not have internet facilities as impressive as South Korea. In the recent Contenders EU, Team Young and Beautiful had to drop the series against Winstriker as one of their team members was having difficulties with his internet connection.
Season 1 & Season 2 of Pacific Contenders had seen both Korean based team with full Korean rosters winning the finals. I am rooting for the Thailand teams, and I hope they can show the world who does Pacific Contenders belong to.