This week has seen tensions reach a fever pitch in the Toronto Esports scene. Toronto Esports Club has quit Overwatch. This is following a name change request from Blizzard to remove ‘Toronto’ from their name. Blizzard cites a naming conflict with Toronto Defiant, claiming the organization has exclusive naming rights in the use of Toronto for Overwatch branding. Defiant hasn’t spoken out about the issue, although some wonder if earlier aggressive communication played a role in Blizzard’s decision.
Following the string of tweets, Toronto Esports Club are shifting their focus to Fortnite and CS:GO. The organization stated that they “love the two games and feel they know how Esports work”. The club has also been a vocal critic of how Blizzard’s managed their Tier 2 Esports scene. Toronto Esports Club has also come under criticism for regular goading and jeering of Toronto Defiant since the reveal of the latter, calling for showmatches with the team to prove themselves “the best Toronto Overwatch team”.
Toronto Defiant hit the Overwatch League scene near the end of October. The Splyce-operated team is hitting Overwatch League season two in February. They compete in the Atlantic Division and are owned by OverActive Media. Their brand name is intended to represent Toronto’s strength, character and resiliency.
The drama started with the organization’s president, Ryan Pallett, challenging Toronto Defiant to a showmatch. This is considered a strange move between a Contenders and a League team. Defiant didn’t reply to the challenge, which Toronto Esports continued to bring up. Their Twitter account issued various taunts that the team must be scared to face them, marking their silence as an indication of this.
This was met with considerable criticism from Overwatch‘s community. London Spitfire’s social media manager, Mateus Portilho, called the move ‘cringe’ and commented on how badly it is reflecting on them and Overwatch. Adding more fuel to the fire, Pallett privately messaged London Spitfire’s Twitter in response. He asked Portilho why he is against the showmatch, which was met with silence.
In response to the silence, Ryan continued to go at the London Spitfire executive. The community was considerably split by the behavior and its outcome, many considering it immature and aggressive while others wondered and wanted for the match. This led up to Toronto Esports Club’s abrupt departure from Overwatch – news that apparently even shocked the club’s own teammates.
Boston Uprising, the Overwatch League team affiliated with Toronto Esports, had its own statement regarding the issue. President Chris Loranger said that his company still owns the Contenders’ player and staff contracts, meaning the team will keep going in some form.
It would appear that the players in the Toronto Esports Club Overwatch team aren’t done, even as the team exits the game’s scene.
What are your thoughts on Toronto Esports’ recent decision? Let us know.
Don’t forget to check out our latest on Overwatch League as well, including the bizarre reveal and sudden disappearance of the Chengdu Hunters.
Programmer. Writer. Digital media specialist. Competitive gamer in the sense that I’m competing with the constant urge to throw the controller across the room.