Sunday, 12 November 2017

My Excitement For The Overwatch League

Blizzcon has been and gone, the dust of the Overwatch World Cup has settled with South Korea defending their title and finally, all of the information has been released for Overwatch league with team names, rosters, colours and jerseys finalised.  I'm going to dive into why I feel The Overwatch League (OWL) is the way forward for professional esports. 

Since it's release back in May 2016, it has been one of the most popular video games played and has even rivalled and beaten League of Legends in Korean Bangs (Gaming Centres). Up until now the only main tournaments for professional players had been the Overwatch World Cup, OGN APEX & Overwatch Contenders so for Blizzard to be preparing the next level of progression is a huge step forward and the style in which they are planning to do so is promising. 

The Overwatch League's inaugural season starts early next year with 12 different teams over 3 different continents confirmed for the first season, the aim for OWL is to be global from the off set. It's going to follow conventional the American sports structure of having franchised teams within the league, which is a huge deal considering the investment that has come in from both the more well known esports teams such as Cloud 9 (Who owns London's spot) Optic Gaming (Houston) and Team Envyus (Dallas) as well as owners from professional sports teams such as the New York Mets, New England Patriots and a mixture of celebrities. As Blizzard plans to make Overwatch League as big as the NHL, NFL, NBA & MLB, Blizzard has requested that each team be created as their own franchise not linked to any other company, esport or conventional sport.

The professional backing is there as is the player support structure with guaranteed pay of at least $50k and payment plans for retirement. OWL will have a Pre-Season which runs between December 6th-9th, Regular Season which starts January 10th till July and an Off-Season. Despite it being global teams the plan is from the second season each team will have a home venue for games to be played live in front of a live audience, so home and away games are are going to be a factor. Teams have now picked their rosters to varied compositions, San Francisco have announced their team being a mixture of players from different esport teams, where as London Spitfire have just signed South Korean teams Kongdoo Pantera and CG Buscan to combined the two. This dynamic will add a new level into the scene as it takes away the friends that can game aspect from the new teams and shows which teams have put the work in along side personal skill.

The commentary team is set perfectly with both Montecristo and DOA from OGN's League of Legends being the perfect play by play team to head the commentary for OWL and by going from the way that the production from the Overwatch World Cup has shown that they are ready for the next step. By following the conventional sports structure and the way that information about teams has been teased, my excitement levels for the Overwatch League are through the roof and I'm really happy that the London Spitfire is the name of the franchise  as it fits in well with English history, the players from Kongdoo Pantera and CG Buscan should pair up really nicely and the colours of light blue, dark blue and orange really mix well together. December 7th can't come soon enough. Come season 2 when the team will be based in England instead of LA, I plan to make the short trip up to see a live game.

What's your thoughts on OWL and which city are you likely to be supporting going forward?


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