The Overwatch League kicks off its inaugural season this Wednesday. From player bans to preseason standings, we’ll get you caught up on everything you need to know before the first broadcast goes live.
Almost two years after Overwatch launched, the official Overwatch League has finally arrived on the scene. While there have been other eSports tournaments over the last couple years, such as Overwatch Contenders and the Overwatch World Cup, these competitions were far smaller in scope, with a limited number of teams and limited schedules. While they may have been enough to develop the professional scene and provide fans with an opportunity to watch top tier players, they did not have the infrastructure or extended schedule to provide a full season of competition and drama that comes with an official league structure. Just look at the NFL or the LCS and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Which is why the Overwatch League is here to give Overwatch fans something they can truly sink their teeth into.
The first Overwatch League season kicks off this Wednesday at 4 pm PST, and there is plenty fans can do to prepare.
The Teams, the Schedule, and Where to Watch
The basics for the league have already been covered in this article. If you don’t feel like clicking through, here’s the TL;DR:
-There will be twelve teams split across two divisions.
-The regular season will be split across four stages, five weeks each, twelve games per week.
-Games will be broadcast on Twitch, MLG, and in Blizzard’s new Overwatch League app[<-iOS link]. VODs will be available on those same sites, app included[<-android link], as well as on the official webpage.
Overwatch League Skins
With the Overwatch League comes OWL skins, essentially in-game jerseys that teams will wear to differentiate themselves on the field. (More for the fans’ benefit than the players’.)
Of course, fans will be able to don these jerseys too. Blizzard is creating a separate in-game currency for OWL purchases, with proceeds going to support the teams. Players who log into Overwatch on game day, or sometime within the following month, will be given enough tokens to buy their very first jersey for free.
So go on, show off your team pride.
The Overwatch App
For those of you who don’t want to miss a moment, Blizzard has released an Overwatch League app. This app is complete with schedules, standings, news, and VODs, along with game time notifications and a “spoiler free” mode.
The preseason was our first chance to see how the teams would fare against each other, and they did not disappoint. Below are the results from preseason, although these results should be taken with a grain of salt:
-Teams were required to play all players during the course of preseason, so they weren’t always playing with their best players.
-Teams did not play all other teams, so some teams had harder matchups.
-This is preseason. No one wants to show their real strategies just yet.
That being said, the preseason still gives us some interesting insight into how the main season could play out.
- Los Angeles Valiant 2-0
- Seoul Dynasty 2-0
- San Francisco Shock 1-2
- Los Angeles Gladiators 1-1
- Dallas Fuel 1-1
- New York Excelsior 1-1
- Boston Uprising 1-1
- Florida Mayhem 0-2
- Shanghai Dragons 0-2
- London Spitfire 0-2
- Houston Outlaws 0-2
- Philadelphia Fusion 0-0
You may have noticed that Philadelphia Fusion is sitting at 0-0. No, that isn’t a typo. Due to player logistics issues, Fusion could not make it to the preseason. Their absence in the preseason, plus the 30-day suspension of their tank player Sado, means Philadelphia is off to a rough start.
So, will the preseason stats hold true and have Valiant and Dynasty sitting at the top? Or is Valiant’s score just the luck of a couple good matchups? We’ll have to wait until Wednesday to find out.
The Overwatch League is Finally Here
The wait is almost over. The stage has been set. The teams have been built, the casters have been selected, the apps have been released, and now all that is left is to see how the Overwatch League’s inaugural season unfolds.
As the months progress, check in here for the latest news on the Overwatch League.
Updated 1/10/2018 to reflect Blizzard’s official announcement on where to watch.