Overwatch achieved great success as an esports title, but heading into Overwatch 2 that success began to fade. The OW League became weighed down and outdated compared to its competition. 2023 saw the close of the OWL, but with a promise something new was coming. Blizzard has just announced their full plans for the new Overwatch esports format. Much like the game going free to play opened it up to all potential players, the new format will also embrace a new openness.
Blizzard has announced a new format for competitive Overwatch, dubbed the Overwatch Champions Series. What’s changing? The entire ecosystem will be working differently, not tethered to franchised teams like before. This is how the game’s competitive side is changing, and how Overwatch esports will work from 2024 and beyond.
New Overwatch Esports Format Announced
Blizzard has just announced a brand new format for competitive Overwatch. The Overwatch Champions Series is a fresh program for the highest stage of competition. Rather than being dominated by a few select regions, the new esports format will operate everywhere. Players are being divided into a few key regions, North America, Europe, Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. Each region will get multi-stage tournaments.
The first level of the new Overwatch esports format are open Qualifiers. These will be open events whittling down competitors. At the end of each, we’ll be a Main Event take place. These are two in-person events, with the best players from each region brought together.
The new format is definitely embracing a more open side of the game. This will allow the best players to compete outside of the franchise system that limited the OWL teams. How exactly will they work though?
New Format – Overwatch Champion Series
To highlight how the new overwatch esports will work, Blizzard has broken down one region. The NA/EMEA regional tournament will begin with a 9-round qualifier event. These will open online tournaments. In each stage, players can earn points. At the end of each stage, the highest-standing teams move forward. The first stage is broken into a Swiss stage, then groups, and then we get to the Main Event.
In the Swiss stage, 512 teams will have qualified. This goes down to 16 teams for the groups. Only the top 2 teams from the region move forward to the international main event.
Blizzard Partners with FACEIT for New Overwatch Esports Format
There’s a big change to how Overwatch will be played, but there are bigger changes to organization. The competitive system for the game will be run through FACEIT, who has partnered up with Blizzard for these events. FACEIT is helping to provide an open ecosystem that will allow all players to connect together and take part in events.
We’re going to see some of the top players from in to teams to compete in this new tournament. As an open event though, we’ll likely see new talent rising to the top too. The whole new system will kick off starting in March. We’ll be in a new season for Overwatch by then. We’ll also get our first taste of just how different the new Overwatch esports format will be.
Live Events Partnering with DreamHack
Rather than independent tournaments, the new Majors will be part of DreamHack. These tournament series are already home to some of the biggest events in gaming. This will give new Overwatch events a home among some of the biggest games in esports. It’ll be in DreamHack Stockholm that we see the OWCS conclude, and find our new Overwatch champions.