The Overwatch League (OWL) will see a new 5v5 format, a new game mode, four tournaments, a planned return to global live events for the first time in nearly two years, and more in 2022, Blizzard announced Tuesday.
With the OWL officially set to kick off its fifth season May 5, here's a breakdown of Blizzard's 2022 Overwatch League Season Community Update.
Overwatch League 2022 Season Format Announced: Schedule
The Overwatch League 2022 Season will begin in May with the 20 teams remaining split into two regions:
East Region (seven teams)
- Chengdu Hunters
- Guangzhou Charge
- Hangzhou Spark
- Los Angeles Valiant
- Philadelphia Fusion
- Seoul Dynasty
- Shanghai Dragons (2021 OWL Champions)
West Region (13 teams)
- Atlanta Reign
- Boston Uprising
- Dallas Fuel
- Florida Mayhem
- Houston Outlaws
- London Spitfire
- Los Angeles Gladiators
- New York Excelsior
- Paris Eternal
- San Francisco Shock
- Toronto Defiant
- Vancouver Titans
- Washington Justice
Each team will play a minimum of 24 regular-season matches, including six seeding matches per tournament cycle. There will be one extra day and one extra week per tournament cycle to give teams "more chances to prove themselves and achieve a more balanced strength of schedule," per the league.
In the East, each team will play a round-robin during each tournament cycle, and in the West, each team will face off twice against every other opponent over the course of the season.
Overwatch League 2022 Season Format Announced: Tournaments
The first and third tournaments of the season will be regional competitions, which will be expanded to feature more teams in each competition. Four teams will qualify for and compete in the East Region tournaments; eight teams will do the same in the West Region.
Conditions permitting, the second and fourth tournaments of the year are planned to be global live events that both feature hefty $1 million prize pools. One would be a brand new midseason event — the Midseason Madness Global Tournament— in addition to the postseason tournament.
The Midseason Madness Global Tournament would feature 12 teams — four from the East and eight from the West—competing in a double-elimination bracket over six days.
The final tournament of the season, the Countdown Cup, will serve as the play-ins for the postseason.
Dates, times and other details about tournaments and the postseason will be shared at a later date.
Overwatch League 2022 Season Format Announced: League Points
Blizzard mentioned that after reviewing League Points, they wanted to make sure that top-performing teams would be rewarded without creating too much separation from the rest of the field.
In 2022, Teams will get one League Point for every qualifier match win. Every team that qualifies for a regional tournament will receive one League Point regardless of wins during the event. The second-place team at each regional tournament will receive two League Points, and the tournament champions will receive three League Points.
At the Midseason Madness Global Tournament, the stakes will be raised as the third-place team will receive two League Points, the second-place team three League Points and the champions four League Points. Every team that qualifies for the midseason event will still receive one League Point.
At the end of the regular season, based on League Points, the top six seeds from the West will automatically qualify for the playoffs, as will the top three seeds from the East.
The Countdown Cup play-ins will determine the final three playoff teams — two from the West and one from the East.