A Blizzcon edition of Watchpoint featuring Chris Puckett, Erik ‘DoA’ Lonnquist, Robert ‘hexagrams’ Kirkbride, and senior product director for Overwatch League, Jonathen Spector, pulled back the curtain on an overhauled third season for the new League.
And the League is set to become a traveling show full-time next season. With plans to expand on the homestand weekend concept for the upcoming 2020 season, we’ll see more teams playing host to some of the biggest games with a home advantage – much like how Atlanta and Dallas hosted the Reign and Fuel last season.
To make this work, each team in the league will host two home events next season. The first week of the season will see Dallas Fuel hosting the Valiant on February 8, while they take on the reigning champions the day after. New York will be hosting a match between the NYXL and Spitfire on the same day, and Boston the day after. Paris Eternal and Toronto Defiant will also be in New York that weekend, and Vancouver and the Gladiators will play in Dallas.
Broadcast days are moving exclusively to Saturdays and Sundays with start times varying based on the local timezone.
Spector also admitted in the panel that there were a lot of situations in this year’s season where individual maps or matches were not ultimately consequential, but still had to be played through. So to remedy this, all matches next year will be decided by the first team to reach three map wins.
As for the map pool, Spector added that matches will always start with a control map before moving on to a rotating set of hybrid, escort, and assault maps. All five control maps in the pool right now will stay in the pool throughout the entire 2020 season, whereas the other map types will rotate in and out over time.
The lines on the map are being redrawn such that the former Atlantic and Pacific divisions are now conferences containing two divisions each which consist of five teams a piece.
Stages, which previously acted as quarterly checkpoints for the season culminating in a small tournament, are going away next season. Instead of stage finals, the head of each conference at the time, along with two wild card teams, will compete in a mid-season tournament, which will also include fan events and an all-star event.
The season playoff format is that of an eight-team double elimination tournament. The six top-ranking teams in the league will qualify directly into the playoff bracket. Teams ranked 7-12 will participate in a single elimination play-in tournament for a playoff seed.
The location of the final has not yet been decided.