Contenders Australia return marred by map preset, pause issues

While Overwatch Contenders Australia is back for 2020, the first week of action was marred with controversy as players struggled with admin issues, leading to one team playing a game a man down and games starting without the right settings.

General admin issues, including starting maps with the wrong settings, and not pausing for disconnects, have plagued the start of the Overwatch Contenders season in Australia for 2020.

Numerous teams reported issues all the way up to the semi-final, which was shown on broadcast as part of the update to the tier two ecosystem. Off-stream, games were delayed by up to an hour due to the errors.

During the Sydney Drop Bears vs. Scrimbux game, both teams reported that it felt like “admins weren’t even paying attention to the lobby.

“He was asking for the score post map which led everyone else to believe that if either team had to have a pause, it would be 100% late,” said one player.

The Warriors vs. NoWeaver game, which had a spot in the top four on the line, was also plagued with problems. Players messed around with map settings which weren’t checked by admins when the lobby started, leading to NoWeaver having to call for a restart.

“The ESL admin accidentally left the lobby and gave Fundrae [NoWeaver’s main tank] ownership,” team manager Lily “Cherhorowitz” Douglas said. “As a joke, he went and changed the game settings to 500% for only my team.

“My entire team thought that the lobby would either be reset or that we would be invited to another lobby. However, all we were asked to do was invite the ESL admin back into our lobby and without checking settings he started up the round.

“We quickly were yelling at him through text that he had to change the settings back since we messed around thinking that the settings would have been checked.”

After the settings were fixed, the NoWeaver vs Warriors game hit another roadblock after a Warriors player disconnected from the game. Normally, the Contenders map preset accounts for an auto-pause on disconnect, but this did not happen.

“One of the Warriors players started lagging and they were asking for a pause, but the admin’s pause button wasn’t working,” said Cherhorowitz. “The Warriors player then left the lobby trying to get the pause on disconnect to work but that setting didn’t seem to be on either.”

The game was then paused for almost an hour as the two teams worked with admins to come to a solution. “Doctor [Warriors’ manager] was unhappy with the admin and wanted to restart with a new admin to spectator us instead of this current one,” Cherhorowitz said.

“After this ordeal our match was on hold until other admins discussed what to do. This lasted for 40 minutes and it ended up being that we would have the same admin and that we would continue on.”

Snowball reached out to Warriors’ manager Daniel “Doctor” Russell, who declined to comment.

There was also a comment that went viral after being shared by North American player Carter “Carter” Smith about teabagging during Ground Zero’s match against Athletico.

“Thanks for the games tonight,” the admin said, “but as a friendly reminder please do not teabag, especially seeing as Ground Zero will be on broadcast tomorrow.”

This led to an uproar in the official Contenders discord between players and admins, who were concerned about what punishments would be added if a player was to do so.

Snowball reached out to Blizzard for comment, with the developer stating the conduct of admins “did not hit the quality bar that we hold ourselves to.”

“We’ve discussed the topic with the production team and all of our tournament admins,” said a Blizzard spokesperson. “We did not hit the quality bar that we hold ourselves to and are working to improve moving forward.”

The first week of Contenders Australia 2020 was taken out by Ground Zero Gaming, who only dropped one map throughout the bracket to secure 100 points towards qualifying for playoffs.

NoWeaver, Mindfreak, and Sydney Drop Bears fell safely in the top four to stay in Contenders for Week 2, while teams like Athletico and Warriors will return to Trials to re-qualify.


Contenders Australia 2020 returns for Week 2 on March 8 for Trials, while Contenders will restart on March 15.

ProducerJosh Swift
Andrew Amos
Andrew Amos
After joining Snowball in mid-2018, Andrew "Ducky" Amos has fast become one of our region's best esports writers. Cutting his teeth in Oceanic Overwatch, he now covers all kinds of esports for publications globally. However, his heart still lays at home, telling the story of Aussies trying to make it big.

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