As we approach the beginning of Overwatch League’s third season, we have been met with many changes. Players have left teams and retired, and we have both lost and gained different personalities from the commentators and analysts’ desk. But through all the changes, one thing has stayed consistent: the community. And like in other gaming community, there are many leaders in professional Overwatch who don’t always get the spotlight they deserve.
One of these leaders is Reba Robinson, who is known for her heavy involvement in the Houston Outlaws fanbase, and is also a new addition to Overwatch Contenders team Revival, where she recently took over the mantle of social media manager. We got to sit down and talk with Robinson about her experiences inOverwatch, being an Outlaws fan, and what it has been like to work with Revival so far. This is her community spotlight.
SQUAD: How did you get into Overwatch?
Reba Robinson: I first got into Overwatch through Youtube! I was really into watching Let’s Plays in 2016, and when the game was released, most of the Let’s Players I watch began doing videos on it. I didn’t pick up playing the game myself until 2017, when a friend suggested I finally buy it so that we could play together.
After you first started playing, who was your first main and why?
The first time I ever started up the game, I wanted to jump in and try out heroes from every role. I quickly learned that I didn’t like playing support, though that changed a lot once I made the switch to PC and I didn’t really mind tanks. But I come from a Call of Duty background, so I preferred playing a role that was going to put me directly into all of the action.
I quickly fell in love with Sombra. She was quick, stealthy, and required a pretty high skill level to play. I spent my first couple of days exclusively playing her. Then my friend introduced me to Pharah, and I was immediately sold. So after three days of grinding out Sombra, I made the quick switch over to Pharah and still haven’t looked back. She made me realize I was fit for a flex DPS role, and eventually expanded my hero pool on that.
Oh, nice! Now moving on to the OWL scene: what drew you to the Outlaws before the league initially began?
I was a big FNRGFE fan during Season 0 of Contenders! Most of the original Outlaws roster came from the team, so it just felt right to follow them to Outlaws. I didn’t follow Contenders super closely at the time, but I really enjoyed watching them play when I did tune in. They were considered an underdog, and I love supporting an underdog.
Then when coolmatt played on Team USA with Jake and Rawkus, I was introduced to them a little better and just decided that Outlaws were the team I was meant to support, though there was a very short period where I considered the Valiant because I liked watching Grimreality when he played with Immortals. The Outlaws players were just a bit too likable though.
As a fellow Outlaws fan, I agree with you! What has been one of your favorite memories from being a member of the Outlaws community?
Two main things come to mind! The first was probably my trip to Dallas in Season 2. Though it wasn’t Houston, the turnout of Outlaws’ fans was insane, as was the overall experience. I met so many people whom I had known for a long time, and had many other people who I didn’t know quite as personally come up and introduce themselves and thank me for all the things I do for the Outlaws community.
More importantly, I got to meet a very large group of people, all of which I met through Chris “Bani” Benell‘s discord and personal community, for the first time. We all coordinated to meet up at the Dallas homestand and getting to meet them all and spend time together meant the world to me.
The second was Outlaws’ team day at Blizzard Arena in Season 2. I had the expectation that there wouldn’t be the same efforts put into their day as other teams had done, given it was a hard time for the team financially and managerially because it was during the Immortals buyout of Optic. But I didn’t want Outlaws fans to feel ignored or disappointed because of this, and I knew we were expecting a very large crowd turnout that day. So I took my own time and money, with the help of a few friends, and put together some small things to hand out and engage with people. We had big head cutouts, tiny cowboy hats, and a large sign that I hand made and had all of the fans sign and leave notes of support on. I gave it to the team as a gift at the end of the day.
I also had an extra jersey that had been gifted to me by T-Mobile as a thank-you for being supportive and committed to the team. I had their entire team and staff sign it and I gave it away on Twitter along with some other exclusive goodies, which actually ended up going to a fan who, I believe, was from Ireland and doesn’t have the accessibility of OWL like myself and a lot of others do. Being able to physically give back to the community that has been so supportive and encouraging of myself was the best feeling in the world, and meant a lot to me.
Speaking of communities, how has your time with Revival been so far? Has anything surprised you?
Working with Revival has been wonderful! I’m very fortunate to be with like-minded people. Everybody is super fun to work with, and our players are really wonderful. Every day is an adventure. We’ve always got something new in the works.
We’ve also gone through a lot of changes that have been very challenging. It’s all been an adjustment for me too, having to balance school, my other job, and work with the team. I wouldn’t say I’ve had many surprises yet. I’m faced with a lot that I expected to see and it’s just teaching me a lot about communication and adaptation.
What are some of your responsibilities with Revival?
A lot of what you would expect. I’m in charge of communicating with our entire creative team, as well as our director of operations and our manager. We all contribute to creative ideas equally, but I’m directly in charge of the execution process, outside of making graphics. Although I assist with that when I can, too.
I have to communicate with our players and manager if we desire to use them for any type of content, and make sure that they’re okay with participating, and letting them know what we need from them and when we need it.
You've met our players. Now meet the latest additions to our front office!
— Revival (@TheRevivalGG) November 6, 2019
That’s a role that everyone on the creative team plays. And then there are the obvious factors of putting together copies for tweets, making the occasional meme, interacting with our community, and making sure our accounts are just generally active and fun.
I also have a big hand in organizing community events. We already had one event with Vite Ramen where we streamed games with fans and played Minecraft, and we’re looking to do more events like that in the future. Those come together with the help of everyone on our creative team.
It sounds like a pretty fun community to be a part of. Going back to the professional Overwatch scene, what are you looking forward to most about the upcoming OWL and Contenders seasons?
For OWL, I’m looking forward to hopefully traveling to a few homestands! Houston is definitely in the books, though I’m not sure which one I’ll be making yet, as well as a Gladiators Homestand. For Contenders, I’m so excited about the light that’s going to be shown on all the non-academy teams.
It was really disheartening to see all of the academy teams that chose to step away from Contenders, but on the reverse, a lot more attention is going to be given to these unsigned teams whose talent will really be able to shine. I’m so confident in our Revival crew, and I know they’re going to turn even more heads than they already have.
I’m definitely looking forward to the upcoming season as well. Last question: is there anything you would you like to say to the Outlaws and Revival communities, as well as anyone who has supported you over the last few years?
For the Outlaws community, obviously, I won’t have the same physical presence in the community that I’ve had the last few years. Traveling is difficult, but I’m so extremely excited for others to share in the joy and experiences that I’ve gotten to have at Blizzard Arena. And I’ll still be around from time to time! I’m working hard to grow in my career to hopefully make our community and all of the esports communities a better place for everyone; to set a new standard for people.
To the Revival community: I know that things may seem off at the moment. You’re seeing changes you didn’t expect, nor were prepared for, but put your trust in us. Contenders 2020 is going to be very different, and the team will certainly make you proud as ever.
And to everyone else who’s supported me to help me grow and become someone more worthwhile for our growing industry, thank you. To TD, Jess, Brandon, Austin, and every single one of my friends, you were there for me from the start. You believed in me, gave me chances, and still continue to push me to be even better.
To my boss Rich, our manager Luna, and the rest of my creative team at Revival, thank you for always believing in me and in us. We’re going to do great things. And to everyone else who’s supported me, you’ve touched my life in a very special way. Receiving support, encouragement, and positivity from people when I didn’t know what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be but helped me find my place when I fell in love with esports, and just wanted to be myself and do good for everyone around me: thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
SQUAD would like to thank Reba Robinson for taking the time to chat with us, and wish her all the best in her future career in Overwatch!
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.