Announced Overwatch Team marks beginning of E-Sports future at WA

Daniel Allison, Writer

When you talk about teams at Westford Academy, you think Basketball, Soccer, even DECA. But starting next fall, a brand new team will not be showing their skills on the field, court, or pool, but on keyboards.

The Westford Academy Overwatch Team, known as the WA Unity will be a part of the High School E-Sports League (HSEL) for the 2018-2019 season.

Overwatch is a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter video game published by Blizzard Entertainment for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows. Overwatch assigns players into two teams of six, with each player selecting from a roster of over 27 characters, known as “heroes”, each with a different style of play whose roles are divided into four general categories: Offense, Defense, Tank, and Support. Players on a team work together to secure and defend control points on a map or escort a payload across the map in a limited amount of time.

I was lucky enough to have the team leaders, Maria Apostle and Justin Friel answer a few questions about the game and team.

“With over 27 different playable characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. This aspect of the game promotes strategy and planning, which appeals to people who like to see some creativity in how the game is played. But on the other hand, it’s still a very eye-catching game with how fast-paced it is.” Apostle Said.

A team with a unwritten future sometimes has more yet to be discovered, but the team has goals set in mind already before the final roster has even been set.

“To play, have a good time, learn to play properly as a well-coordinated competitive team, learn some skills and make meaningful connections along the way, and who knows, maybe we can put ourselves into a veritable standing. The main goal, in my opinion, is to improve and grow as a team. Winning? A side benefit of a good game’s work.” Friel Said. 

Apostle and Friel agreed to try and get the team approved by the school after having several months of Overwatch experience with Apostle looking into the competitive scene of the game and from there, an idea developed into something possibly much bigger.

But WA is not the only school hopping on the E-Sports craze, the HSEL has teams all across the United States including several schools from Canada as well with tournaments and leagues for many popular games.

“eSports is a new thing in general, but it still shares many things with traditional sports. It would be awesome to see students being encouraged to play competitively if they enjoy a particular video game, and hopefully it becomes a more common thing to see in the future. I think there will be more teams like this, maybe at WA even, since the HSEL has tournaments for a variety of different games, not just Overwatch. Who knows, maybe we’ll have Rocket League, League of Legends, or teams for other games like that. Maybe this will convince people that video games aren’t just a casual pastime, and when played in a team setting it promotes teamwork and other skills.” Apostle said

Even if you are not looking to join the team, students who have no knowledge of Overwatch may be pulled in by the game with the game’s intriguing gameplay.

“There are a lot of aspects about Overwatch that can draw new people, it has its similarities to the typica first-person shooter games: action, a fast pace, and cool characters. However, certain components, which are integral to the game’s functionality, make it unique. First is the importance of teamwork. Just like how a football team can’t win a game without close communication, an Overwatch team needs to be coordinated and have good synergy. Each hero’s role playing a critical part to a team’s composition. These parts are what draw me and many others to Overwatch, and what I hope will draw new players or spectators as well.”

WA Unity is still looking for players if interested. See one of the flyers posted around school or contact either Maria Apostle or Justin Friel for more details.