The Overwatch League is Blizzard’s attempt at turning its popular hero shooter into a legitimate e-sport. Buoyed by the game’s popularity, Blizzard raised $240 million (around Rs. 15 billion) selling teams for the game’s big budget e-sports venture that CEO Mike Morhaime said is a “true next-generation e-sports experience.” From its schedule, to teams, and how to watch it, this is everything you need to know about the Overwatch League.
The Overwatch League’s first season is broken up into four stages, with the first one beginning on January 10, and going on till February 10.
12 teams will take part in the Overwatch League’s debut season. Nine of them are from North America, and the remaining three are from the rest of the world. Each of them is known by their location, and the league is split up into the Atlantic and Pacific divisions.
Rules stipulate a maximum of 12 players on the roster, and a minimum of six. Much like the IPL and EPL, the rosters are locked with a signing period later in the year allowing for transfers and new players. Blizzard states that players are guaranteed a minimum salary of $50,000 (close to Rs. 31 lacs) per year plus benefits, though some such as Jay "sinatraa" Won of San Francisco Shock signed a $150,000 (around Rs. 1 crore) contract. Total bonuses for Overwatch League teams in the first season will be $3.5 million (approximately Rs. 22 crore), with a minimum of $1 million (around Rs. 6 crore) going to the season one champion.
Here are the teams in each division:
The Atlantic Division
The Pacific Division
Like all the other Overwatch events we’ve seen over the years, the Overwatch League will have skins, allowing spectators to distinguish between one team from another. Fans can buy skins of their favourite teams with League Tokens. This in-game currency can only be used for Overwatch League skins. The reason for its introduction into Overwatch is to clearly demarcate the profits for Blizzard and the league’s teams. The company will be giving each Overwatch player enough tokens for one free league skin.
Overwatch League - how it works
Three matches will be played each day, from Wednesday to Saturday every week. All matches will consist of four maps, and the map pool for the season will be announced shortly. Each team plays 20 games in its division, and 20 cross-division, for a total of 40 games.
Overwatch League play-offs
A team’s track record during the season determines if it gets into the play-offs or not. The play-offs take place from July 11 to July 28 and include the grand finals. To qualify for the play-offs, teams have to either win their division or have one of the six best records overall.
How to watch Overwatch League
Games will be broadcast live from Blizzard’s e-sports arena and can be viewed on the official Overwatch League site or the MLG website. Twitch should be live streaming it as well, though details are yet to be revealed.
Will you be watching the Overwatch League? Who will you be rooting for? Let us know via the comments.