A slew of articles have been written across the void of the internet as to precisely how the pandemic has shifted esports, both for better and for worse.
View time and interaction are at an all-time high almost across the board, helped greatly by sports being completely canceled as organizations attempted to figure out how to get players on the pitch without killing anyone.
Conversely, ping has raged across all titles causing unfortunate tilts and sweeps where there shouldn’t have otherwise been a chance, disconnects that have teams trying to use their fan base to sway decision-making, and a whole slew of other issues.
The Overwatch League was stepping into a pivotal season where homestands would allow organizations to better interact with their fans (and sell merchandise) when the pandemic hit, shutting everything down into regional play.
Interestingly, a report has surfaced from The Esports Observer where they report that organizations are being approached about a possible bubble-environment for CDL in 2021, a mechanic that could once again be mirrored by the Overwatch League as it was prior to 2020.
— The Esports Observer (@esportsobserved) September 21, 2020
Within the proposed ‘bubble-environment’ all players would be located centrally to minimize health concerns as the pandemic continues to hit its second and third spikes in many countries that have many health professionals stating that the worst is far from over.
It would allow offline servers to once again reign supreme within esports, at least for the Call of Duty League, and that offering alone could help CDL stand out for the general cluster of titles and esports that now play around the clock. Further, it could shed a light on what Blizzard could be considering for the Overwatch League.
If the homestands simply aren’t a safe (and thus, viable) solution due to the current world climate, attempting to reign the teams back into Los Angeles for a return to the Blizzard Arena could likely help numbers that many have noted began falling quickly after the League’s went to YouTube Gaming Live.
Alternatively, CDL specifically has had some controversies surrounding players inconveniently disconnecting at pivotal moments in events that some alleged were the result of DDoS attacks, and Activision‘s poor match-making policies concerning online security. Thus, CDL may benefit further from localizing play onto a LAN than other titles.
Currently, the decision remains in the air as coaches and organizations hem and haw at the advantages and disadvantages that would arrive from localizing play. If anything is for sure at the moment, it’s that the pandemic isn’t quite finished in screwing up the standard operating procedures for many.