Mark down February 15 for annual leave as Blizzard has announced the format for the 2019 Overwatch League or OWL for short. It has also announced the opening day for the new season.
Regardless of what you think about Overwatch Balance and team Meta, you can’t accuse Blizzard of slacking in its efforts to make the OWL the largest esports competition in the World.
In addition to new heroes and patches, we saw added mid-season, Blizzard has now announced the addition of no less than eight new teams.
With the team names and logos under wraps, the only information available regarding the new esports franchises are the city and division in which they play. I’m excited to report that the following teams join the already competitive and thriving OWL roster of teams.
Paris, Toronto, Washington D.C. and Atlanta are now competing in the Atlantic division. Vancouver, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Hangzhou muscle in on the Pacific division.
Overwatch League 2019 Season
As the OWL spreads further across the globe, capturing more audiences, so too does the time players spend away from home. To combat this fatigue, the weekly structure of games is aimed to keep the players fresh and also spending more time in their home markets with BYE rounds and longer breaks between stages.
Whilst this may sound frustrating for fans, it actually means we get more OWL all year as ‘Overwatch Season’ looks to spread itself further out across a 12-month period. It may mean your team has a longer spell between games but there will almost always be OWL games for fans to watch.
I think the changes to the OWL structure are good for the game. More teams help to swell the divisions and heighten the competitiveness we will see as teams fight for playoff spots. With each division now at ten teams, it seems the next logical step would be to add more divisions for the third season; splitting the league into East/West or NFC /AFC many American sports fans are already familiar with.
League schedules, tickets and rosters as well as new logos and names will be announced this year. This trickle of information has me reinvigorated for the new season and hyped to see the new team’s colours.
Perhaps the most exciting thing these changes represent for Australian fans of the Overwatch League is that there’s a chance one day to get a local team to scream for. With the Australian roster performing consistently well at the Overwatch World Cup, we have proven despite how far away we are, we can still land sweet hooks or headshots on the rest of the competition.
So remember to book that annual leave, get down to your local esports bar or host an opening day BBQ and cheer on your squad on February 15 2019, because the Overwatch League is turning it up to eleven.