Overwatch is one of the most popular games in esports betting right now. Released by Blizzard, it has become a sensation, especially so when the first league commenced back in 2016. The COVID-19 pandemic has not brought it to its knees, but not a lot of tournaments happened in 2020.
So, what can we expect this 2021? In this article, we will take a look at the plans for Overwatch League Season 2021, along with some exciting happenings that we can all look forward to.
It has now been confirmed that the league is going to adopt a new format this coming season. The split between the two regions will remain the same, but there is going to be a shakedown in the rosters. A team outfitted in Philadelphia is confirmed to be moving to the Asia-Pacific region in 2021.
This team is Philadelphia Fusion. The members will move to Seoul, South Korea and will be taking on the formidable players in the Pacific Division. This move is temporary.
Philadelphia Fusion is the first team to do this for this off-season. However, they are not the very first team to do so in history. Early in 2020, while the season was active, New York Excelsior and London Spitfire also moved to South Korea. However, Philadelphia Fusion was the first to move from the US to Asia.
How will this move affect the team during the pandemic?
The team announced that their primary concern is their safety and their health. They will be working with the officials of the league, along with government health officials to ensure a smooth transition, and that all of them are safe during their stay in South Korea.
As of 2020, we expect the Philly Team to slug it out against another Asia-Pacific Team, the Shanghai Dragons. The Dragons dominated the Pacific region this year. Apart from the Dragons, the Phillies will also have a face-off against the Seoul Dynasty, the first runner up in the Grand Finals in the regular season.
The Vice President of Overwatch Jon Spector said in a video that the OWL 2021 season would commence in spring. Traditionally, the season begins every February of the year. Prior to the announcement, there have already been rumours that the season-opening will be delayed.
Jon said that the delay would allow the company to plan for the season more effectively. He also said that everything was being done for the teams to prepare and move to their desired bases. As of the moment, there is no exact date for the start of the season.
The announcement did not end there. The regional tournaments will be back. In 2020, several types of tournaments were introduced while the season is ongoing. Examples of these are the May Melee, the Sumer Showdown and the Countdown Cup. These seasons happened separately in both North America and Asia-Pacific.
In 2021, all of these will be back, but new formats are being developed. The entire 2021 season is apparently going to be built around regional tournaments instead of a global one. The commission of the Overwatch League is also considering some other ways to optimize the 2021 season.
Another announcement came about saying that the Overwatch League start date is set on April 16.
The BlizzCon 2021 event is a free online event that anyone can attend. It replaces the BlizzCon 2020, which was cancelled during the pandemic. The online broadcast will have a community-focused tournament, and it will feature the champion of the 2020 season, the San Francisco Shock.
This feature is dubbed Shock Versus the World. The San Francisco Shock is a two-time world champion, and they will battle aspiring teams from around the world. These teams include aspiring champions and community figures.
As the 2021 season approaches, new rules are being introduced to ensure better and fairer battles. There are around 20 teams currently, and new guidelines are in place that will affect contracts and guarantees.
First off, if a team is missing a player, they have to choose from the free agent roster. This applies to the 2020 roster, and the free agent who has been signed will become a free agent again for the 2021 season.
Here are some other rules for visa and safety issues:
- The free-agent must be Asian, which means he/she should be a citizen of any country in Asia.
- The free-agent must have a visa to travel to other Asian countries.
By January 4, 2021, the Overwatch League expects all teams to have a complete roster of seven players. All contracts must be signed for the 2021 season, and they can only trade before the deadline.
Overwatch is an exciting game where a team of six slugs it out in an open-world arena. Because of the pandemic, we are all going to have a long winter. We still cannot bet on Overwatch until the start of spring, and we do not even know the actual start date yet.
A little patience will come a long way, though, as the commission is planning to re-introduce new tournaments in the coming season. The feature games of the San Francisco champions are also something that we should anticipate this coming February 2021.