The Overwatch Contenders, the developmental Overwatch series for players looking to go pro, serves as a way for players to build their careers and gain exposure. With the growth of the series, many voices in the scene have proposed changes or regulations to help teams or players within the league.

A recent Twitter thread created by Kate Mitchell, assistant general manager of the Washington Justice, posed an idea limiting players to playing for only one Overwatch Contenders team per season, a “one-and-done” type of deal. The argument behind this position stands to prevent poaching, but this regulation would ultimately harm players who are in the process of building their own professional careers while competing in the Overwatch Contenders.

If a player loses a spot on a Contenders team, regardless of the reason, they would lose the ability to compete on any other team for the rest of the season under this rule. Overwatch Contenders serves as a stepping stone into the professional league, and exposure is crucial for players looking to move up. Denying them the chance to gain exposure through team transfers ultimately strips players of the chance to build their own career. Exposure is one of the most beneficial payouts of development series and reducing the amount of time on stage greatly lowers one’s chance at obtaining a spot in the professional league.

With salaries low in the Contenders series, implementing these limitations would not be financially practical for players looking for a way to support themselves while nurturing a growing career. Allowing players to move to a different team offers them a chance to obtain a better salary. Likewise, organizations can receive a buyout, which is oftentimes the best option for smaller, non-academy organizations, especially if the team lacks the resources or is struggling to grow as a brand.

If an organization wants to keep a player, it should find a way to do so in an offer the player believes is fair and compelling enough to take. Players should be allowed to decide for themselves what agreements constitute as fair and compelling for themselves so they can make the best moves both financially and career-wise. 

The Overwatch Contenders is, and should always be, about building players and their careers first over organizations. Implementing regulations to prevent poaching favors teams and their brands instead of the players, and these rules would take away the main purpose of a developmental series in the first place.

Cover photo courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment