The Overwatch League brought a close to its inaugural season, last month. Now Blizzard and the players get ready for Season 2. But some players won’t be returning to the stage. Among them is Brandon “Seagull” Larned of the Dallas Fuel. The streamer-turned-pro-player took to Twitter, announcing his departure on August 7th.
I am no longer a professional OW player.
Returning to full-time streaming starting today.
— Brandon Larned (@A_Seagull) August 7, 2018
This isn’t the altogether most surprising thing in the world. There are a number of reasons as to why one might do this. Larned, himself, noted that after playing through the first season of the game, he suffered immense burnout. Given the intense schedule that players operated under, this makes sense. But another major factor in the decision likely comes down to the second half of his statement. Based on how the contracts are laid out, Larned could simply make more money streaming than he could by playing professionally. And streaming is a position he can take at his own pace.
Many fans of the Dallas Fuel are understandably upset. The Fuel suffered throughout the majority of the Overwatch League. It wasn’t until Stage 4 that they began to show true signs of life after a rough season. A large part of their improvement came down to Larned stepping up in a big way. He played exceptionally well on every hero he picked up. That isn’t to take anything away from other players, however, such as Mickie or Taimou. Taimou, in particular, seemed to come alive in Stage 4. And Mickie was able to play a style more to his liking on the back of his teammates working with him. Overall, the team gradually became a more cohesive unit. So it only makes sense that seeing a core piece of that success depart would be upsetting to fans.
But that isn’t to say the decision was met purely with contempt. Quite the contrary. There has also been a significant outpouring of support. One of the more notable responses came from the Dallas Fuel’s former Main Tank player, xQc. A controversial figure in the Overwatch League, himself, xQc congratulated Larned on the decision. Earlier in the year, he also departed from the Overwatch League, albeit due to different reasons, focusing instead on his own highly popular stream. But he noted that it was the best decision he’d ever made.
When Larned joined the Overwatch League, he brought a significant amount of hype with him. In the earlier days of the game, he was one of the earliest adopters. Many fans of the game turned to his stream to experience high-level play. He brought a fair bit of personality to the League and that was no doubt a factor in the popularity of the Dallas Fuel. Where the team and the rest of the Overwatch League go from here is anyone’s guess. But good luck to Seagull in his stream.