Overwatch League announces Player breaks and format changes for 2019

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Blizzard has revealed details of the upcoming season of Overwatch League. The Overwatch league will see twenty teams in total for Season 2 with eight new franchises joining the League for the upcoming season. The League will retain the two divisions, namely the Pacific Division and the Atlantic Divison. Each division features 10 teams in total for Season 2.

The commencement date for Overwatch league Season 2 is February 14th. There are a few changes to the format as well as the playoff team selection.

Here are the twenty teams for Season 2 of the Overwatch League.

Atlantic Division

  • Atlanta
  • Paris
  • Toronto
  • Washington D.C
  • Boston Uprising
  • Florida mayhem
  • Houston Outlaws
  • London Spitfire
  • New York Excelsior
  • Philadelphia Fusion

Pacific Division

  • Chengdu
  • Guangzhou
  • Hangzhou
  • Vancouver
  • Dallas Fuel
  • Los Angeles Valiant
  • Los Angeles Gladiators
  • San Francisco Shock
  • Seoul Dynasty
  • Shanghai Dragons

Listening to Player feedback, a flexible schedule and player break

 

The 2018 season saw a fixed schedule for the Overwatch league teams. There were four days of games ina week and the schedule was very tight for the players. The three days of break between a week\s game and the next was simply not enough for the players. Most of this ‘free time’ was spent in boot camps and practising for the upcoming weeks. Player burnout was a real issue for Season 1 and we saw several players take breaks towards the latter stages of Season 1.

The 2019 format will see all 20 teams play 28 matches over four five-week stages, for a total of seven matches per stage. To help players stay at the top of their game, as well as give teams more opportunities to visit their home cities during the season, a more flexible schedule will see teams playing zero, one, or two matches a week, creating more breaks for players.

For the upcoming season, the twenty teams will play 28 matches over four five-week stages. So instead of having 40 matches per team as was the case during the 2018 season, the number of matches has seen a considerable decrease. This will allow players for more free time and a chance to take a break.

An elongated player break between Stage 2 and Stage 3

Keeping in tune with providing players adequate rest and preventing player burnout, the Overwatch League will move the All-star break to the middle of the season. This means that the players will have the opportunity to enjoy a longer break between Stages 2 and 3.

For 2019, the All-Star break is taking a page from some pro sports leagues and moving to the middle of the Overwatch League regular season, specifically between Stages 2 and 3, which will have a longer break between them.

It is great to see Blizzard ensuring the players’ comfort and listening to their feedback. With adequate rest, teams can have time to strategize and come back rejuvenated into their next match. It will be difficult for a team to figure out the strategy and playstyle of their opponents just based on their In-Game performances. Due to the lengthy gaps as well as the All-star break in between Stage 2 and 3, teams will be able to improve by quite a bit.

Stage Finals find relevance in the grand scheme of things

2018-07-27 / Photo: for Blizzard Entertainment

Stage Finals will no longer be just a means for players to win more prize money. The Stage Finals carry a purpose and will help in enabling the top teams towards the end of the season.

The top eight teams from each stage will make the Stage Finals, which is expanding to become a seeded playoff bracket. According to stage record, divisional winners will be seeded into the #1 and #2 slots, followed by the next six teams in the standings.

For teams like NYXL and London Spitfire [ taking the case of the strongest teams from Season 1] the impact of a Stage finals appearance and placement becomes all the more important. Ensuring a good playoff seeding is important for the top teams to ensure deeper placement at the end of the League.

There will be two more teams in the Playoffs at the end of the season. The teams placed 7th – 12th at the end of Stage 4 will play in a special play-in tournament. This will be the last opportunity for teams to enter the Playoffs and have another chance at winning the trophy.

 


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