The Overwatch League’s 2021 season will begin in April
For its first three years of existence, the Overwatch League has kicked off early within the yr. However that’s going to alter in 2021. As we speak, Blizzard introduced that its bold esports league will start play in April. It can even be the primary season through which the league is performed completely on-line — and there can be some large adjustments to accommodate that. “To take full benefit of what was discovered final season, we’ve made a number of adjustments that may enhance the standard of competitors and the fan expertise for this coming season,” Blizzard says.
First is a structural change. Blizzard says the 20-team league can be cut up into two divisions — one manufactured from groups from China and Korea, the opposite North America and Europe — and so they’ll play in opposition to different groups of their area in the course of the common season. The highest groups from every division will then qualify for 4 main tournaments that may occur all through the season. (Full particulars and scheduling aren’t obtainable simply but.)
OWL options groups from 19 cities which can be unfold throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, and Blizzard says that it’s growing a brand new instrument to make it potential to play throughout areas. It’s described as “a brand new system that establishes minimal latency connections in order that groups anyplace on the earth can scrimmage in opposition to each other or conduct practices if gamers are aside.”
The league’s first season was in 2018, however final yr was anticipated to be a giant one for OWL; the league was going to maneuver to a home-and-away format, just like conventional sports activities leagues, with groups enjoying out of venues of their house cities. These plans had been disrupted by the pandemic, with Blizzard finally shifting to an internet format, which continued by way of to the championship sport.
The opposite controversial change in 2020 noticed the league shift its broadcast from Twitch to YouTube, after Activision Blizzard signed an unique streaming cope with Google. The change got here with a decline in viewership, although OWL says it’s planning to enhance broadcasts for this upcoming season:
For our followers, we’re working very carefully with YouTube as we enter the second yr of our partnership. There are loads of issues within the works that we will’t reveal but, however we will say that we’re going to degree up the standard of our match streams, add extra worth to watching dwell matches, and enhance the discoverability of dwell Overwatch content material.
We’re additionally improving our match broadcasts with a brand new and improved digital set, a freshly redesigned graphics package deal, and adjustments to our present format that place much more emphasis on match play. We’ll have extra to share on this later within the offseason.
And whereas the league is planning for a season of largely distant competitors, Blizzard additionally isn’t ruling out a return to dwell matches sooner or later. “Whereas we can’t predict the longer term, we hope to welcome followers again to dwell occasions if well being and security circumstances enhance in 2021, however that may not occur, and it may not be at each location the place groups compete,” the league stated in a press release. “Our high precedence stays to maintain our gamers, followers, and employees protected.”
Yesterday, Activision introduced that OWL’s sister league, the Name of Obligation League, would start play in February.
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