2018, like every year for the past decade, will continue to be a landmark year for esports. More money, more players, more attention, more games, and more competition than ever before… again. And at the heart of this is going to be Overwatch, if Blizzard have their way, with it’s official tournament the Overwatch League. The Overwatch League is the official competitive scene for the game and has some seriously large ambitions.
The Teams and Rosters
With the inaugural season now underway, this years Overwatch League features 12 teams in total. Here’s the list:
- Atlantic Division
- Boston Uprising
- Florida Mayhem
- Houston Outlaws
- London Spitfire
- New York Excelsior
- Philadelphia Fusion
- Pacific Division
- Dallas Fuel
- Los Angeles Gladiators
- Los Angeles Valiant
- San Francisco Shock
- Seoul Dynasty
- Shanghai Dragons
As for future teams, a rumored 13th squad based in Chicago, USA and owned by FlyQuest was also set to make an appearance, but doesn’t seem to have made it to the first season. Blizzard will likely go ahead with an even number of teams this season, before looking to expand in the next season. With more European and APAC teams required to form proper divisions in those regions for true international competition, there will be plenty of opportunity for expansion.
The rules for forming a team under contract with Blizzard are as follows:
- Rosters are between six and 12 players.
- There are no region locks on who can be employed where, hence why the London-based team has a squad solely comprised of Korean superstars.
- Player housing and training facilities will be provided by teams, and they will be up to a standard set by Blizzard.
- Players under the age of 18 can sign contracts and practice, but cannot play in games until they turn 18.
Overwatch League Skins
Each team is getting their own 2 sets of skins – one home, one away – for the League. Blizzard has announced that the home skins will be available for purchase using a new token system, that allows you to pick the specific skin you want as opposed to the random nature of lootboxes. One skin requires 100 tokens to unlock and 100 tokens cost around $4.99.
Overwatch League Start Date
The Overwatch League started in full blow on January 10th, with the full schedule of matches available here. Each team will play two matches a week, in a four game set on a collection of maps which is locked in for the entire season.
Overwatch League playoffs
These will take place between July 11 and July 28th and form the end of the season, including the grand finals. They will take place in the Los Angeles Blizzard Arena.
In order to qualify for the playoffs teams have to either win their division or have one of the six best records overall. The teams most likely to be competing are the Seoul Dynasty, New York Excelsior, London Spitfire, Los Angeles Valiant, and Dallas Fuel. Early results match up to these predictions, but anything can happen across the full season.
Overwatch League all-star game
While little is known about this as of yet, it is scheduled to happen after the season ends between August 10 and August 12. It’s meant to be more of a casual thing rather than serious competition. More information is expected to be released as it draws closer.
Overwatch League App
There is an app for the league, and it allows you to follow teams, find scores and generally keep up with all things OWL while away from the PC. The app is available on iOS and Android, across the world.