6 Excerpts From the Official Overwatch League Rulebook That I Found Randomly Interesting

A couple of weeks ago the Overwatch League’s official rule book and streaming policy leaked. While there’s already been quite a bit of reporting on the major features of these documents, I finally got a chance to read them start to finish, and here’s a few additional minor tidbits that I found randomly interesting for various reasons:

1. Players Can’t Get Involved in Politics

The streaming policy has an “Off-Limits List” of things the players can’t be seen to support or endorse. Aside from standard things like drugs, weapons or gambling, players are forbidden from supporting “Political Candidates or Initiatives.” Fairly standard, but if you don’t see xQc at any Donald Trump rallies, this is probably why.

2. There’s Technically No Limit to What Teams and Players Can Be Fined

The rules simply say that if a team or player violates the league rules Blizzard may “levy fines against the Team and/or Player.” They don’t say anything about the amount of any such fines, or place any other restrictions on what kind of violations warrant what level of fines. This kind of unlimited power on Blizzard’s part could potentially become a biiiiiit of an issue in the future, so look for the teams/players to try negotiate some clearer restrictions on this at some point (if they can).

In case you’re curious, the league so far has issued fines ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 to players under this provision for various fun activities I’m not going to go into detail on here.

3. Players Can’t Wear Excessive Jewlery

While playing in matches, players are limited to wearing “a reasonable amount (as determined by the League Office) of jewelry, rings, bracelets and necklaces.” I have nothing to add except that I really, really want to see someone force Blizzard to invoke this policy at some point.

4. …Or Smart Watches

The rules also prohibit players from wearing “smart watches … smart devices, fitness devices, or any other devices with computing capabilities of any kind, other than a digital watch.” I guess this rule is in place to prevent cheating, although I fail to see how wearing a FitBit or something like that is going to give someone an unfair advantage.

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The cover of the leaked rulebook. I’m pretty sure in real life it smells like old baseball cards from the 1970s.

5. Failing To Report a Code of Conduct Violation is a Code of Conduct Violation

The league has an extensive code of conduct governing things like harassment, match fixing, drug use, etc. The code of conduct also states that “Upon becoming aware of any [prohibited conduct] players, team managers are required to immediately report the details to the league office. Failure to comply with this requirement is an independent violation of these league rules.”  So if a player becomes aware of someone else violating the code of conduct, they have to report them or they themselves will face potential discipline by Blizzard.

While there’s probably good, reasonable reasons for having this rule in place, I can’t help but get a bit of a 1984 vibe reading it.

6. Blizzard Is Explicitly Permitted to Film the Players 24/7

The rules anticipate Blizzard creating reality-show style content surrounding the league, and state that the players give Blizzard the right to monitor their daily life “using persistent, 24/7 cameras that may be placed in the team house, training facility, competition venue and other locations frequented by team members (provided that no such filming or recording will occur in any team members’ bathrooms).” My favourite part about this is the explicit exception for players’ bathrooms, in part because it implies that literally nowhere else is off-limits.

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