Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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‘Calling All Heroes’ is Overwatch 2’s inclusivity program for underrepresented genders

In a blog post, Blizzard outlined the new joint program between Overwatch and the Overwatch League called “Calling All Heroes,” which aims to “build an inclusive game and competitive environment for everyone.” To do this, these teams are introducing three initiatives: The Defense Matrix, Challengers Cup, and Caster Camp.

“We are excited to announce a few initiatives this year that pursue that goal by focusing on equity, visibility, and community support for underrepresented genders,” the Overwatch and Overwatch League teams wrote. “Developers, the League office, teams, casters, players, and fans—we all have an important role to play when it comes to making Overwatch a safe and welcoming community.”

Hopefully this is a move in the right direction for Activision Blizzard King, as the company has been plagued by a culture of sexism and inequality. Over the summer, employees staged a walkout led by the employee-run Committee Against Sex and Gender Discrimination to protest ABK’s silence surrounding the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The Defense Matrix is an infrastructure of systems built into Overwatch 2 that were designed to “to protect gameplay integrity and promote positive behavior.” Defense Matrix will include SMS protect (a type of two-factor authentication using texting), audio transcriptions, and the new first-time user experience.

The Challengers Cup will be an additional competitive path for folk of underrepresented genders running alongside Path to Pro in autumn and winter 2022. Organizers are partnering with Raidiant – a project from Dignitas parent company New Meta focused on helping women and marginalized gender folks enter the esports ecosystem – to run The Challengers Cup. They emphasized that this tournament isn’t a replacement for Path to Pro, and that anyone who can should participate in both events.

“It is my absolute honor to support the Calling All Heroes Challengers Cup through Raidiant,” said Raidiant Co-Founder and Executive Producer Heather “sapphiRe” Garozzo. “It has been my personal and professional mission through Raidiant to ensure that everyone feels represented in esports. In addition to producing entertaining live broadcasts of the Challengers Cup, Raidiant will create compelling content featuring a number of the event’s competitors, telling their impressive stories and building a fandom for these deserving gamers.”

The Challengers Cup format is as follows:

Qualifier 1

Qualifier 2

  • Takes place from Nov. 18-20
  • Format is Swiss-system round play into a single-elimination bracket, with the top 4 teams advancing to the final
  • Open unlimited registration

Final

  • Takes place from Dec. 11, 17, and 18
  • Top 8 teams (top 4 from each qualifier) compete in a double-elimination bracket

Caster Camp is a program that will allow underrepresented talent to learn from experienced broadcast professionals, build skills in casting, and create professional relationships. The camp will be led by Soe Gschwind, Matt “Mr. X” Morello, and other Overwatch League talent. Participants will take what they learned from the camp to create a reel of them casting an Overwatch map that will then be reviewed by a panel of instructors. To participate, people must be 18+ and need to apply. Registration is open until October 28.

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