The Overwatch League (OWL) became a prominent part of the eSports scene in the last three years. According to Variety, there were 1.12 million viewers worldwide in the 2019 OWL Grand Finals.
The third season features exciting changes in the roster, shifting to a best-of-three map series, making history as the first major eSports league to implement a home-and-away model based in cities, and the chance to compete for $5 million.
2020 OWL looks more promising than ever before, and it’s a wonderful time this year for new fans to leap into the game’s action. Although the battle has already begun, you are still welcome to join in the fun by first learning about the Overwatch League.
What is Overwatch?
Overwatch is a collaborative, multiplayer game developed and released by Blizzard Entertainment. Two teams of six players each compete against each other to achieve a series of goals.
Objectives might be to capture an area on the map or escort a large cart to a set location. The players complete the objectives using characters, known as “heroes,” who possess a variety of unique abilities.
Each of the game’s heroes has a set amount of health and can be killed when it reaches zero. They have to wait a certain amount of time after that to rejoin their team in the battle.
Heroes are classified into three: Damage (deal most of the damage to attack or defend control points), Tank (absorb a large amount of damage), and Support (provides healing or other buffs for their teammates).
What is Overwatch League?
The Overwatch League is an international league of professional gamers playing at the highest level, featuring 188 participants and 20 teams from around the globe. Every league season is split into four “stages.”
The season playoffs begin at the end of all four stages, and a season champion is crowned.
Because of restrictions put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 OWL halted all homestands and announced that it would move to play online on March 21, instead.
One significant change is that the teams are now organized into three geographically based groups: Atlantic (10 teams), Pacific (6 teams), and China (4 teams).
Within league play, a regular-season match features two teams (one chosen as the home team, the other as the visiting team) playing at least four maps.
Each comes with a predetermined map style, following the same gameplay structure of Overwatch‘s normal competitive mode.
The pool of different maps from the standard Overwatch rotation is periodically determined, allowing the teams to decide their player lineups and strategy while also adjusting the metagame of the season. A team can only call players in alternates between maps.
The team that wins three maps first wins the match. When teams are tied after four games, a tiebreaker game played on a Control Map is used to break the tie and decide the winner of the match.
Standings are primarily based on the overall win/loss record of the match, but ties are dissolved based on the map’s total win/loss record.
Any additional tournament placement ties are broken first based on the win/loss record for the head-to-head game, then head-to-head match count.
In the first year, there were three editions. First is the Standard Edition, which is only available digitally and on PC and cheaper than a full-price game. Next is the Origin version, which is available for PC and console, both digitally and physically.
Origin is like the standard edition with 5 Origin skins and bonuses for Blizzard games. The third is the Collector’s Edition that is available for PC and console.
It is limited in number and like the Origin edition comes with a statue, art book, postcards, and OST CD.
In the second year, they removed the Origin edition. They replaced it with the Game of the Year (GotY) edition, which is like the Origin edition plus 10 Boxes. It’s available for PC and console, both digitally and physically.
In the third year, they removed the GotY edition. They replaced it with the Legendary version (like the Origin edition with 10 skins). It’s available for PC and console, both digitally and physically.
Do not miss the action and fun! All games are broadcast exclusively on YouTube Gaming on the Overwatch League YouTube channel.