The Overwatch League has been a smashing success so far despite numerous doubts by the community. With the recent news about the player acquisitions for the Shanghai Dragons, the league became a trailblazer in not only their studio design but inclusion of female players as well.
It’s been announced that Shanghai Dragons, the only Overwatch League team to fail to win a single match in Stage 1, is trying to strengthen themselves before Stage 2 by signing four new players, Junjian “Sky” He, Seyeon “Geguri” Kim, Euiseok “Fearless” Lee, and Gihyeon “Ado” Chon.
There are two interesting things in this roster shakeup.
First, three of the players, Geguri, Fearless and Ado, are South Korean in an otherwise Chinese roster.
Also, Geguri is female.
Finally, some team did this. It probably helped that the Shanghai Dragons are currently hopeless and South Korea is known as one of the strongest regions in the competitive world of Overwatch.
Geguri herself is well-known in the Overwatch world for her awe-inspiring Zarya play. After a particularly great highlight came out, she was accused of cheating, with some pros actually saying that they would retire if she was proven to be legit.
Well, Geguri proved that her Zarya is just that good and attracted some attention from Korean pro teams, joining EHOME Spear and, later, ROX Orcas. This move to an Overwatch League team will be a new highlight in Geguri’s career as a professional Overwatch player.
Despite the obvious fascination with the fact that there’s now a professional female gamer at the top level of a bit esports title, Geguri herself has no wish to be singled out as a female player.
Understandably, the Zarya main wants to be judged on her play and what she can bring to the team she plays for and not her gender. While admirable, it’s not very realistic, at least for now.
For some reason, esports is thought to be a guy thing to such a level that any occasion where a girl appears to be up to the level of the boys warrants a mention. We’re guilty of that too; after all, we’re writing about this.
Nevertheless, let’s look at what Geguri is likely to face in the Overwatch League.
First of all, there will be a formidable language barrier. With 9 of the 12 players on the Shanghai Dragons roster being Chinese, the three Koreans will have to learn Mandarin quickly to have a chance of seeing stage time.
It’s been said that they will have a hardcore Mandarin bootcamp with tutors to get them up to speed as soon as possible. It’s not an insurmountable obstacle because you don’t need to know Chinese properly to play Overwatch. In the beginning, simple callouts, directions and game-specific phrases should be enough.
And that’s where we come to the place where the Shanghai Dragons could break new ground and shatter the glass-ceiling or do some damage to the inclusion of females on teams, depending on how the whole thing goes.
The popular argument is that the presence of a female player in the team house makes the rest of the guys act differently in order to appear tough in front of her or white knight in front of her. If that is what happens on Shanghai Dragons, the experiment could end quickly.
On the other hand, if the players truly manage to treat Geguri as just one more of the guys, like she actually wants to be treated, this could be a great thing for females as esports players. As long as Geguri can actually deliver in the game.