The State of Overwatch - Asphyx Interviewed

One of our most heated discursive articles of last month was one where we dived into the history of Overwatch; the busy district which suddenly emptied as soon as last year. As an esports journalist, I decided to take a closer look through an interview. Hence, with the requirements of being an ex-Overwatch player and part of one of the more dominant teams, Georg "Asphyx" Farrugia stepped up for the interview from the side of EvH. Below are his thoughts on the situation in reaction to this article. We hope you enjoy it!

1.) Before we dive into things, let’s start with an introduction. Please share details regarding your career as a competitve gamer, highlighting your affiliation with Overwatch of course. 

I started familiarizing myself with the gaming scene since I was a little boy thanks to my brother’s addiction with World of Warcraft. I used to play the game only when my brother was not at home or sleeping, since at the time we had to share our computer. When I grew older I eventually started playing FIFA, competing regularly in tournaments organized by gamers.com.mt.  When Overwatch came out, I decided to give it a try and from then on, I started playing this game competitively with some friends and later on joining one of the top teams in Malta.

2.) It’s 2016 and Overwatch just released and you’ve managed to get your hands on it. Describe your initial thoughts on the title on a personal level, while providing insight to the potential you saw in Overwatch as an esport locally and internationally. 

When it came out I didn’t expect that I would spend playing as many hours on a game like this. This could be because I wasn’t quite familiar with FPS games, and there was a limited amount of heroes. I personally saw potential in Overwatch to be one of the main games in both a local event and internationally. This is because the game could be enjoyed and played both competitively and casually. 

3.) The title quickly became centred as a source of competition in Malta, with EvH being one of the top teams if not the best. Why do you think it became so popular locally? What were your favourite moments from this period of time?

The fact that it was included as the main game in events, it brought more players to step up their level. I think that it became so popular because it was original and different from other games such as Cod, and CS GO. Since the game is fast paced, apart from good aim, it requires good teamwork and knowledge of the game to know how to react to each and every different situation. Undoubtedly, my favourite moments were when I hit top 500 in EU and when my team, EvH managed to come back from the losers bracket and win against Paradigm6 in the final of MRO 2017 Overwatch tournament.

4.) Yet, as documented in the article, the community soon fell into shambles, almost vanishing. In your opinion, after reading the article, what caused such an untimely collapse? Did you ever expect this to occur?

In my opinion, one of the reasons that the game went locally downhill was because of the skill gap between the top 3 teams and the rest of the community. I also think that Maltese gamers were not familiar with such fast-paced fps games with so many new things to learn. Personally, I expected this to happen but I didn’t expect it to happen this soon.

5.) Having a scene in which you compete to suddenly disintegrate must be quite an experience. How did you feel and what were your thoughts upon realizing this? 

When I realized that the MRO Overwatch was the last event in which Overwatch would be competitively played, I was very disappointed especially when it was going to be replaced by Call of Duty 2. Although COD 2 is a game which came out in 2005, I do not blame the organizers for re-introducing it since the majority of the community, preferred it over Overwatch to reminisce their childhood game.

6.) With Overwatch out of the way, tell us, what are your prospects as a competitor for this year? What titles will you be competing in, if any?

At the moment, I am playing Battalion with a team and PUBG. Getting better at Battalion is not that easy since it is very different from Overwatch which is my only competitive experience. Considering that I am still young and hungry for more success in the Maltese gaming scene, I am sure that by time, with the help of my teammates I can make it to a decent level.

7.) Our final question. For Overwatch to make an immediate comeback in Malta, what do you think the local scene needs and how would this go about? 

For Overwatch to make a comeback in the competitive scene, apart from being re-introduced in the main events, Overwatch casual players must switch to competitive, since there isn’t any competition going on, and players just casually login to play a match with their friends and that’s it. I see this nearly impossible to happen with the release of Battalion. 

"Asphyx" is one of the many players making the switch to Battalion 1944 from Overwatch, understanding the transition as Battalion 1944 storms into 2018.  We're grateful for his enthusiastic participation to carry out this interview. Regarding the topic, this does shed more light on the situation with this probably being the last piece of content concerning it. As always, leave your thoughts in the comments - let's get discussing. 
 

Posted by Gabriel Sciberras on 6th March 2018, 09:31

I'm Gabriel - 17 year-old student attending a sixth form with a little free time on his hands. I've been working with Gamers.com.mt for a roughly a year now - spreading my interests in technology, gaming and writing over the platform along with interviews and hardware reviews. All constructive feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading!

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