As the end of 2020 is right around the corner, fans are gearing up for yet another exciting season of Overwatch League. Will San Francisco Shock continue their dominance for a third time? Will Homestands system be making a comeback? How many regions will we see next year? Here are five things to know about 2021 Overwatch League:
Overwatch League 2021: 5 Things to Know Ahead of the New Season
1. Start Date is Pushed Back
Since 2018, OWL's start dates are always around Jan or Feb. For 2021, there will be a slight delay, as stated in a video featuring the VP of Overwatch Esports, Jon Spector. He mentioned that the league will start sometime in the spring. No specific dates were mentioned. This is due to the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The delay will hopefully give all OWL stakeholders "a little bit more of an opportunity to deal with all of the logistics and be ready to hit 2021 running when the season begins.”
2. The Return of Regional Tournaments
Regional tournaments have received positive feedback by the community and the fans. Fans will see more tournaments like May Melee, Summer Showdown, and Countdown Cup, only now it will not be summer-only events. These regional tournaments will be the base of the entire OWL season. Spector said that OWL is experimenting with different format options before finalizing next season's competition structure. Previously, after three weeks of play, the top teams from each region played in their respective regional tournament. Teams earned $5,000 for each win in the tournaments (with receiving a bye counting as a win) and earned a bonus win towards their regular season standings for each win after, and including, the quarterfinals.
3. Region Format is Coming Back
Regions will be returning in 2021 OWL. In 2020 season, NA region consisted of 13 teams, while APAC housed another seven. There is no confirmation yet on how the regions will divide but OWL may go for the same format considering safety and travel concerns. The league is still in discussions with OWL team organizations before announcing the final next year's regions.
4. Off-Season Tournament Series
During the winter, fans will be able to enjoy an offseason tournament series. Spector did not offer any details regarding this series yet but it will feature pro players.
5. OWL Will be Featured in BlizzConline
There will be an OWL presence at BlizzConline that is scheduled in Feb. 19. There will be a series called Shock vs. The World featuring two-time Overwatch League champions San Francisco Shock taking on "dream teams of other pro players, community figures."