Next year OWL returns in full swing and it promises to be much larger than ever – apart from the 8 new squads, we will see changes in scope and schedule.
The now twenty squads will start the show on Thursday, February 14, 2019. The league will keep its two divisions with four new teams in each. They go as follows:
- The Atlantic Division has Atlanta, Paris, Toronto, and Washington, D.C. alongside old dogs Boston Uprising, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, New York Excelsior, and Philadelphia Fusion.
- The Pacific Division welcomes Chinese camps Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Canadian Vancouver, who will fight alongside Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Gladiators, Los Angeles Valiant, San Francisco Shock, Seoul Dynasty, and Shanghai Dragons.
A problem that’s being talked a lot about in the eSports community, and one that was briefly touched upon in our Football hooligan opinion piece, is player fatigue. OWL’s Inaugural season had a round-robin format in which every team played two matches every single week. This was exhausting to players and at times to fans as well.
In an attempt to remedy that, League runners chose to switch the schedule to a 28 matches over four five-week stages, or seven matches per stage. These will be split among the squads in zero, one, or two games per week, giving the contenders time to spend exploring their organizations’ cities and bond with each other – another problem that makes headlines every now and then.
Epic Stage Finals
The Stage Finals in OWL season 2 will get the treatment that Inaugural season’s Grand Final got. Each Stage Final will be preceded by a seeded playoff bracket. The two division winners will be seeded at the first and second place, and the other six teams in the standings will follow them.
The All-Star format returns
In another attempt to give players and fans time to breathe, the league will take a summer break between stages 2 and 3 – the All-Star Summer Vacation. This is a tradition established in many traditional sports leagues. However, we fully expect Blizzard to find a way to keep fans engaged during this downtime.
Playoffs Play-In tournament
The post-season is also being extended. While the two divisional champions and the next four in the standings will automatically qualify, two teams (regardless of division) will also make the cut by winning a Play-In tournament right after Stage 4. It’s a go-big-or-go-home type of deal which will definitely spice things up.
These are the announced changes so far, but Blizzard promises to show even more updates in the following months. Of course, we will keep you posted. Stay tuned to eSports.com for timely and reliable OWL coverage.