On the subject of Pugs
Here is what I have confirmed from OWL players. During the summit the following rules were stated. No OWL members are allowed to stream pugs and no streaming stacking ranked with anything over 2 OWL members queued together. OWL players complained about these rules to Blizzard and those rules are changing. How they are changing is unknown.
Here are my thoughts. Blizzard does not like pugs. If the most recent “pro pugs” did not result in such positive feedback from the community, the rules would not change. There are multiple factors why more pro pugs have not happened in the past. One of those reasons is due to limitations in how streamline someone can make a pug system for Overwatch. Blizzard does not allow for an automated pug system. A player must invite people manually to the custom game. This is a slow time consuming process due to not every player having each other on a friends list. Any attempt to automate this process (with a bot) has been met with a cease and desist letter from Blizzard.
So while Blizzard might backtrack on this most recent ruling with pro pugs, they refuse to allow for improvements. They don’t want competition with the ranked system. Monte has tweeted out that he believes that a hard separation between pros and the ladder is bad for new players. If players are choosing to play pugs over ranked, what does that say about your ranked system? If Blizzard truly believes that the current ranked system is good for pro players they would not have to ban pugs. Would we even be having this conversation is ranked was good?
New competitive players improve by scrimming with a team, not playing ranked. This notion that taking pros out of ranked would harm new players is false. If you are truly trying to improve as a competitive player you stop playing ranked as fast as you can and scrim other teams. I believe that you are not a competitive player if you only play ranked. There is nothing wrong with playing ranked, but it is a casual experience and often can promote bad habits. I encourage all players who claim to be competitive player to find a team, start scrimming, and get ready for the next season of overwatch open. You will find that this is the path to improve as a player. Grinding scrims, not ranked is how you reach the next level in the path to pro.
Allowing pugs might force Blizzard improve the ranked system to entice pro players to play it. Healthy competition is good. Blizzard should be able to attract pro players to play their system over my pug system. They refuse to acknowledge that ranked is seriously flawed. Multiple times they have claimed that the ranked system is fine and the player toxicity is the issue. The Overwatch competitive scene would benefit from Blizzard being less controlling.