The second season of the Overwatch League (OWL) started last month and the reaction thus far has been less than ideal.
The first season of the OWL was a great success for an Esports league and to build on the excitement the league added eight new teams in eight new cities as a way to try and draw in even more viewers.
However, the new meta that has a stranglehold on the competitive scene right now might just derail all of the league plans.
The now-infamous GOATS meta, made popular by the team of the same name during their North American Open run last year. Their team composition of three tanks and three healers proved to be so effective that it has now dominated the first month of OWL season two.
The main problem with this meta is that it is simply not fun to watch. The action is slow and hard to follow for casual viewers and the meta forces almost exclusively teams fights, which allows for fewer individual feats.
During one match between New York and Houston, fans in attendance boo’d so loud when the Outlaws switched to the GOATS team comp that you can hear it on stream and the casters brought attention to it. Fans watching the live stream were also not shy about sharing their opinions of GOATS.
It has gotten to the point where fans have begun to theorize that announcers have been banned from even saying “GOATS” during matches because the strategy has become so unpopular. Analysts have also tried to come to the defense of the strategy as a way to mitigate the negative feelings around it.
Jeff Kaplan himself recently talked about how the negativity around the new meta is frustrating for him.
Despite all of this, however, fans just do not like it and it seems no amount of effort from Blizzard or the league will change that.
There are a few people who like GOATS for the strategy and the team play, but they seem to be few and far between.
Stage two of season two starts on Aprils fourth, by which time the newest hero Baptiste and a number of balance changes will be live. OWL fans will have to wait until then to see if anything new will come along to overtake the GOATS meta.