Blizzard’s upcoming Overwatch League has been a hot topic in the esports world for quite some time now. Among the teams participating is OpTic Gaming, who will be responsible for managing Houston’s team in the League. I had the opportunity to interview Ryan “OpTicJ” Musselman, OpTic Gaming’s COO, about what this new venture means for the organization.
OpTic’s Decision To Join the Overwatch League
OpTic’s history is “deeply rooted in shooter games,” and Musselman sees stepping into Overwatch as a “natural progression” for the brand. Furthermore, both “Blizzard and OpTic care about growing and curating communities.” Of course, OpTic’s participation in the Overwatch League is still in “pre-launch stages,” but Musselman believes OpTic’s presence in OWL will “create opportunities that otherwise may not have been available otherwise.”
Given that the OpTic’s headquarters are now located in Dallas, I was curious about where OpTic’s Overwatch team would be living once the League officially begins.
OpTic’s Overwatch League team will not only represent Houston, but Austin and San Antonio as well, but during Season 1, OpTic’s Overwatch team will be living and playing in Burbank, California. This is because Blizzard will be hosting all preseason and regular season games in their own venue, Blizzard Arena Los Angeles, for the inaugural season of OWL. OpTic’s team will move to the Houston area for Season 2.
OpTic Gaming’s OWL Roster
Musselman walked me through the organization’s recruitment process for Overwatch players. During recruitment, Musselman explained, OpTic prioritizes not only skill, but “chemistry.” OpTic’s goal for the roster has been to “get as many top-tier players as we can, but we want to make sure that [those] top-tier players also mesh well with the overall team.”
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Musselman appreciates the strong emphasis Overwatch places on teamwork. It’s a game where professional teams can’t rely on “a single all-star who carries you every match.” OpTic wants to make sure that the different personalities on the team don’t clash, because “if you have the right chemistry, that’s when you become really strong.”
When I asked about OpTic’s hopes for Overwatch League, Musselman tells me that “greatness is definitely what we’re all after.” But he’s equally excited to watch “how teams interact with the local regions” and see “what kinds of unique partnerships start to be born out of that.” In recent years, esports has become a global industry, but Musselman points out that we’ve never really seen what it looks like “on a smaller level,” with teams representing cities and cultivating local fanbases.
What’s Next for OpTic?
According to Musselman, OpTic’s top priority is getting the new team up and running and working with their newly-hired coaches and general managers. He describes this process as “planting roots and watering the tree.”
OpTic currently has teams in Call of Duty, CS:GO, Halo, Gears of War, and Dota. I asked Musselman if OpTic plans on expanding into other games in the near future. The organization, he tells me, takes a “very calculated approach” when deciding whether or not to get involved in new esports titles. They don’t want to expand past their boundaries. As Musselman puts it, OpTic likes to “stay tight.”
Esports Edition would like to thank Ryan Musselman for his time. You can can follow him on Twitter here.