The Overwatch League.
A professional eSports league for the video game of Overwatch, created by Blizzard game who you may be familiar with if you ever played or have heard of World of Warcraft. Actually, the Overwatch League is the first of its kind. The first eSports league to implement a system of having city based teams in different regions, kind of like how traditional sports in the United States have, but the Overwatch League has teams also in different countries as well.
The first year of the league in 2018 started with 12 teams. The second year in 2019, saw an additional 8 teams join the league. The league now has a total of 20 teams. Each team has their own culture, identity and distinctive colors. The teams are divided into two divisions, the Atlantic and Pacific divisions. Seasons typically run from February till the fall, culminating with the playoffs and grand finals in September. The regular season is divided into four stages, with each stage containing 70 matches each. Stage playoffs take place after the first three stages and postseason playoffs take place after stage four. Teams are ranked by match wins throughout the season. Regular season matches are four map sets, meaning the teams play four separate games on different maps. Winning a map will give a team one match point. If a team ties or loses a map, no match point will be awarded. After all four maps are completed, the team with the most match points wins. If both teams have the same number of match points, a fifth map is played basically like overtime in traditional sports, with the winner of the tiebreaker being given the win. However, stage playoff and postseason playoff matches are “first-to” format, which means that each team must win a specific number of maps or matches to move forward.
During the season, matches are typically played Thursday through Sunday and are broadcasted on Twitch, ESPN, Disney XD, overwatchleague.com, or the official Overwatch League app. For the first two seasons of the league, regular season matches along with stage playoffs were played at the Blizzard Arena in Irvine, California. The grand finals, consisting of the best team in the Pacific and Atlantic divison each would battle for supremacy. Season one was held in Brooklyn at the Barclays center in 2018 and Season two was held in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center in 2019.
The big change to the Overwatch League comes in season three in 2020. This season the teams will live and play in their home cities. Blizzard has split the Atlantic and Pacific into conferences now, with each conference consisting of two divisons; Atlantic North, Atlantic South, Pacific East and Pacific West. There will be 52 homestand events in 2020, with each team hosting two homestand events. There will also be a selection of regular-season events hosted by a selection of teams from each division, allowing teams that already have some type of arena to host more events whilst other teams are building or securing an arena or venue. The league has also done away with stages. The season will now be broken up by an all-star event mid-season. There are going to be games every week, with teams being granted by weeks to rest and prepare for their next matches. The season will finish with a grand finals match. The season will run from February through August. Teams will play in 28 matches throughout the regular season while playing everyone in their conference two times, along with other teams in the league once throughout the entirety of the season.
Our hometown team is the Philadelphia Fusion. In the first season of the Overwatch League, the Fusion had made it to the Grand Finals and played against the London Spitfire in a losing effort. Season 3 will bring a new head coach for the Fusion, the signing of Kim “KDG” Dong-gun, who was the former coach of the Seoul Dynasty, while also the promotion of Roston Yoo from team manager to assistant general manager has brought optimism of a good season to come.
Their best DPS player on the team without a doubt, Lee “Carpe” Jae-hyeok has been given a contract extension along with DPS duo partner Josue “Eqo” Corona. A major signing from the previous season 1 champion London Spitfire, the Fusion have brought in tank player Kim “Fury” Jun-ho, who is a stud when it comes to his D.Va play. The addition of former Atlanta Reign support player Daniel “FunnyAstro” Hathaway, brings one of the best Lucio players in the world to the roster. The promotion of academy team player Kim “Alarm” Kyungbo will bring a talented flex support player to the roster after his amazing performance in the Contenders league. With these roster moves and personnel changes, it is expected that the Fusion will pack a major punch during the third season of the Overwatch League.
We will have to wait until February to see what the season and new changes will bring but I am confident in this team and management more than I have ever been and I think we are in for a great season full of winning.