In recent weeks, many Overwatch League talents have distanced themselves from Blizzard, including Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles, Erik "DoA" Lonnquist, Auguste "Semmler" Massonnat and Malik Forté.
Now, a report by Richard Lewis for Dexerto has learned that Activision Blizzard had pushed some Overwatch League broadcast talent to cut their salaries for what was already shaping up to be a turbulent new season.
Once again, the departure of Nate Nanzer was pointed out. With the former Commissioner no longer involved, the report reads, an important ally between the talent and the company was lost.
Blizzard's request for talent to take a pay cut is apparently not new, and has been on the table for a while. However, given the reported good results for Season One, talent had been expecting a raise. One of the talents spoke to Nanzer, who had no idea what was going on.
For Blizzard, the cuts are explained by the reduction in work to be done for this third season, which will last less time (7 months) and with fewer working days (only two days per week). However, this does not take into account the many trips across the globe that will be required.
For Kotaku, Malik commented that he was not satisfied at all with the amount proposed by Blizzard, confirming Dexerto's report.
After interviews with the various team members, Richard Lewis heard the same complaints several times about the potential disdain Blizzard executives would show toward broadcast crews.
As one team member stated, "it's clear they don't want our comments at all. They just want us to sit there and do the show and not have a say in what we talk about or what we present. For a lot of us, it's not even a question of money. We just want to do a show where we have a certain level of involvement."
Given the sentiment in the Overwatch community, it's entirely conceivable we see more departures in the run up to Season Three.
The Overwatch League is one of the biggest competitive scenes in esports, but is quite young and therefore fragile. With the departure of many key people, new questions have arisen about the future of the League.