While last year's BlizzCon gathering was dominated with talk of Sombra and the then-new Arcade Mode for Overwatch, we also got our first glimpse at how Blizzard intends to handle Overwatch's eSports scene in the years ahead. To help you understand how exactly this new competitive system works, we've put together an Overwatch League guide which should answer any questions that you have.
We're incredibly excited about the future of this programme for Overwatch, and so you can rest assured that we'll be covering this scene in-depth once the roll-out has begun, with streams, analysis and results-tracking for matches as they happen. We'll have more on how we'll handle all that for you once the finer details have been revealed by Blizzard!
Got any questions? Let us know in the comments and we'll do our best to answer them, although we think this guide should provide you with all of the currently known information. If we've missed anything, do drop us a note and we'll be sure to add it in.
UPDATE #1: Blizzard has just announced details of the first phase of recruitment for the Overwatch League, inviting select players to express their information in having data shared with potential team owners. Check the recruitment section just below for further details.
UPDATE #2: Blizzard have announced the first seven teams to be a part of their Overwatch League. Check out our teams section for all the details.
Overwatch League: Recruitment
When the first competitive season begins, Blizzard will host an Overwatch combine. If you're not familiar with the term from traditional sports, it's a place where prospective competitors can show off specific skills to a gathering of team managers, scouts and coaches.
Players who have already demonstrated their skills at Overwatch will be invited to just such an event where they can try out for teams. There'll be a number of different tests at the event, giving team managers the opportunity to find the best candidate for rounding out their existing roster.
Try-outs are purely by invitation during this starting phase, and Blizzard has just sent out requests for top-tier players to express an interest in being considered for a collection of professional Overwatch teams. You can read more details about this selection process over at our news report on the announcement.
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Overwatch League: Teams
Below you'll find the first seven teams announced for the Overwatch League, along with their franchise owners. We'll make sure to update this section when more teams are announced in the future.
- Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots (Boston)
- Jeff Wilpon, Co-Founder and Partner of Sterling.VC and COO of the New York Mets (New York)
- Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals (Los Angeles)
- Ben Spoont, CEO and Co-Founder of Misfits Gaming (Miami-Orlando)
- Andy Miller, Chairman and Founder of NRG Esports (San Francisco)
- NetEase (Shanghai)
- Kevin Chou, Co-founder of Kabam (Seoul)
Overwatch League: Rewards
If a player is signed during the combine process, they'll be guaranteed a contract which ensures they receive a minimum salary and a benefits package. The duration of the contract and the exact remuneration figures aren't currently known - we'll update our League guide as soon as we get more details.
Overwatch League: Seasons
Once teams have been formed, they will take part in a number of matches, although the exact structure of this initial season has yet to be revealed. There won't be activity every day by the sounds of it, although the official site promises that game highlights and features will be broadcast on non-match days.
Overwatch League: The Championship Run
Beyond the usual seasonal play, there will also be a special event, broadcast live, where the top-rated teams battle to be crowned the Overwatch League World Champions.
Again, there's no timetable for this event, but you'd put money on the finals happening at BlizzCon. It certainly seems as though Overwatch League is designed to replace the World Cup, which always had the air of a stop-gap for Overwatch's first year.