We previously covered the entry of NetEase’s Shanghai Dragons team into the Overwatch League. While the team undoubtedly pass muster when it comes to glitz and presentation, their initial 0-2 pre-season matches were a little on the worrying side.
Unfortunately for the Dragons, their first few full league matches haven’t gone much better, with them stumbling in their initial three games badly enough for their manager to issue a public apology for their less than stellar performance, despite it still being early days for the League.
In a lengthy apology seemingly now deleted from Twitter but archived by Game Informer, team manager Yang Van expounds on the many reasons why he feels the team is falling short. Starting with a lack of teamwork, building up to their overall mental state and even singling out their lack of physical exercise and entertainment outside of grinding away at Overwatch.
Most bizarrely, the apology even goes into great detail as to what the team have been eating, highlighting Shanghai, Hunan and Sichuan cuisine as staples for the crew. It sounds delicious, but I’m not sure how that really has much bearing on how well a Widowmaker player can nail headshots.
Personally, I feel it’s a little bit of an overreaction. A new team, and the first to represent their country in the league, shouldn’t expect to launch straight into the top bracket. The Dragons are still learning how to work together against both American and Korean playstyles. While the apology does end on an optimistic note that Yang Van believes that things can be turned around, it does feel a little like throwing in the towel early.
It feels like the kind of apology that would be deserved if the team had lost every single one of their first-stage matches, but to call it this early feels like admitting failure for taking a few punches right at the start of a five-round heavyweight slugfest. I, for one hope the Dragons find their footing, and their early stumbles don’t end up killing their morale for the rest of the season.