An Introduction to the Overwatch League

If you are at all familiar with team-based first person shooter games, you have probably heard of Overwatch. Released by Blizzard Entertainment in 2016 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, this wildly popular game took the internet by storm.

It has several different play modes generally featuring two teams of six players attacking or defending objective points on the game’s maps. Players select from pre-made heroes on the game’s roster and can switch heroes at certain points during the game if their team requires it.

Overwatch is critically and financially successful, due in large part to the fact that it has supported both casual gameplay and ranked competitive play since day one.

The Overwatch League is its professional eSports offshoot, which started its first season in 2018 and has grown exponentially since then. Now with the development of Overwatch 2, we can only assume that the League is going to flourish even more as new content is brought in.

Understanding Overwatch’s General Gameplay and Competitive Ruleset

Understanding Overwatch’s General Gameplay and Competitive Ruleset

As mentioned above, Overwatch contains many different maps with a variety of objectives. These objectives include escort, control, hybrid, and push.

In an escort map, one team moves the objective toward completion while the opposing team tries to stop them.

Control is essentially king of the hill, where both teams attempt to take and keep a designated point on the map.

Hybrid is a combination of control and escort, where one team captures an objective and then escorts it to another location.

And finally, push is a game mode where the objective is at the center of the map, and each team tries to move it closer to the enemy team’s base.

In this 6v6 first-person shooter, there are 34 unique heroes to choose from, and the widely adopted Role Queue system allows for each team to have two tanks, two damage-focused characters, and two supports.

The game requires fluid aiming and other skills with which you are already familiar if you like FPS games. Team communication and rapid-fire mechanical skills separate professional players from online casuals or those on the competitive ladder.

Overwatch League and Path to Pro

Overwatch League and Path to Pro

The Overwatch League is the highest competitive Overwatch environment. Twenty teams play a total of 24 regular-season matches, which act as qualifiers for four standalone tournaments: The Kickoff Clash, Midseason Madness, Summer Showdown, and Countdown Cup.

Each tournament is preceded by six regional qualifying matches. The Overwatch League uses a point system called League Points to determine its regular-season standings.

Every win for a team in the regular season earns them one point, and additional points can be earned by qualifying for or winning in tournaments.

The Overwatch League’s Path to Pro program for tier two competition allows the franchises involved in the league to have academy teams that compete in Overwatch Contenders. This is how the franchise teams find new players to elevate to the highest level.

To start on the Path to Pro, you must be in the top rank of Competitive Play and join the Overwatch Open Division as part of a team.

At the close of each Contenders season, the top four Open Division Teams compete in Contenders Trials, which is an eight-team promotion/relegation tournament for Overwatch Contenders.

One Contenders success story in recent times is that of American Tornado, who won Contenders in 2021. Nearly their entire roster has found a spot on an Overwatch League team in 2022.

Here are some interesting facts about the Overwatch League:

  • There are 20 international franchise teams with a $20 million buy-in for each slot.
  • Regular-season tournament cycles are where teams earn points for postseason placement.
  • The tournaments alternate between regional play and international.
  • There are 13 teams in the NA region and 7 teams in APAC.
  • The 2022 prize pool for the season is $4.2 million.

Overwatch took the online gaming scene by storm during its release in 2016. Since then Blizzard has developed a robust eSport scene that allows for the highest level of play while also developing new talent.

While global events limited the number of live competitions, the competitive community has thrived. Organizations surround skillful players with high-level coaching, increasing the talent and teamwork to the highest level of Overwatch exhibits.

We hope that you enjoyed the information provided in this blog post. Please share additional tips related to Overwatch competitive play in the comments!