In the past, Blizzard Entertainment has been fairly proactive in the memorialization of individuals who were involved with their game, even if they were “just” fans, and passed away.
World of Warcraft has several in-game commemorations for fans and developers who are no longer with us, and now Overwatch too carries a small nod to a fairly well-known pro in one of its maps.
Dennis “INTERNETHULK” Hawelka was confirmed to have passed away on the 9th of November at only 30 by Steve Arhancet and Victor Goossens, owners of Team Liquid, an e-sports outfit that Hawelka was attached to.
Hawelka was a prominent figure in e-sports, and was special in the sense that instead of specializing like most athletes do, he was a jack-of-all-trades. INTERNETHULK took up various games during his career including other Blizzard titles such as World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2, as well as the game which started the mainstream e-sports craze, League of Legends.
Hawelka’s stint with Overwatch started early in the game’s history when he founded his own pro team, IDDQD. Later, most team members signed with Team Envy, after which Hawelka moved over to Team Liquid where he acted as a coach instead of a player. His work led the team to grab some notable victories, and even after Liquid’s Overwatch team disbanded two months ago, he stayed with the group and continued coaching, but this time in League of Legends.
The player has been commemorated in the game’s Eichenwalde map, which is fitting as Hawelka was German. In front of a crusader poster will remain an ever-lit candle and a white flower, and on the poster itself Haelkas’s little official monogram, indicating to whom the memorial is dedicated.
Hawelka was known for his optimistic and highly positive personality, and as a coach he always sought to motivate the e-sports athletes under his wing.
He is widely considered to have a lasting impact and huge influence on creating a solid foundation for Overwatch in the global e-sports industry. To commemorate this aspect of his life, Blizzard also added a new kind of season award to their game alongside the memorial in Eichenwalde.
The Hawelka Award is given to players who do the most to affect the Overwatch community in a positive way, as opposed to being based on in-game merit.
Overwatch is notorious for being more than a little toxic, so players who not only act courteously but promote that kind of positive behavior are invaluable, and recognizing them with an award named after Hawelka would be an honor to all involved.
The loss of any life is always a tragedy, but this approach of embracing Dennis Hawelka’s legacy to promote similar positivity is definitely something the famous e-sports athlete and coach would be proud of.
This effect has already taken root, as the Overwatch community commemorated Hawelka with a fund-raising charity tournament called the Hulktastic Tournament, with the proceeds donated to Hawelka’s family as well as charities.