Blizzard Entertainment is going to make some big changes to the way the Overwatch Contenders plays out next season. The gaming giant would outline all the changes in a blog post earlier today.
Contenders is back in 2019! 🏆
Study up on what's new in Contenders next year.
— Path to Pro @ #OWWC2018 (@owpathtopro) October 30, 2018
The Path to Pro is pretty simple. The best players in the Overwatch League scene would either create an Open Division team or join an already-established Contenders team. If they are good enough, they could even join an Overwatch League Academy team. These academy teams are a great stepping stone for players. For example, if they are able to perform well, they could possibly make it to the big leagues someday. However, we now know that the way Overwatch Contenders run will be changing drastically. How? Let us jump right into the details.
First off, let’s check out the changes to the seasons and how it will affect the overall landscape of Overwatch Contenders. The first big change to speak of is that Blizzard is reducing the number of seasons from three to two. However, with fewer seasons means that the two remaining seasons will last longer. Additionally, Overwatch Contenders in North American will now be splitting into two regions, with eight teams each. Blizzard says that this will be good for “providing non-academy teams with opportunities to develop and prove themselves to Overwatch League scouts as well as fans”. At the same time, the prize pool will be changing as well. Now, the prizing will heavily reward the top teams in the league, and not the bottom tier.
However, in all the other regions, they will be reducing the number of teams from twelve to eight. This is apparently to improve the level of competition within each region. Also, this change has not been confirmed yet for Overwatch China. This may be good for some regions, but for other regions like Europe and Korea, it may not be the best news. There is so much talent in those two regions, that some good players may not be able to make a team. Still, having such a competitive setting for some of the best regions in the world could help cultivate superstars, due to the smaller amount of teams. Only the best can make it, and even then, you might get edged out by another player. You have to play at the highest level to survive!
Another factor they are introducing this coming 2019 is region soft-locking rosters. This is similar to the import rule in League of Legends, where teams are only able to add two non-resident players to their team. For the Overwatch Contenders, teams are only allowed to have three non-resident players on the team. This is to “ensure that Contenders continues to develop local talent all around the world”, says the blog post.
For 2019, any Overwatch League Academy team not currently in the league will be offered a spot in this upcoming season. However, starting in season two, every team, including Overwatch League Academy teams will be subject to relegation rules. Also, depending on how many Overwatch League Academy teams join this year, many of the top performing Contenders teams from 2018 will automatically qualify for 2019 Contenders. If a team did not get an invite to the league, they will have a chance to qualify for it once again through Contenders Trials.
What are your thoughts on the changes for Overwatch Contenders? Let us know what you think in the comments below! If you want more Overwatch League coverage, check us out here!
Born and raised in Toronto. Sometimes a writer. Sometimes a creative director. Sometimes bored. Catch me with hundreds of unplayed games in my Steam library.