Today, January 14, 2021, Overwatch League commissioner Jon Spector made several announcements regarding the 2021 Overwatch league season. With eight teams competing in the East Division, based out of Korea and China, and twelve teams competing in the West Division, based out of North America and Europe, the League is setting new standards for their online-only format.
The East Division
As the world still recovers from the Covid 19 pandemic, eight teams have settled in Korea and China to fill out the East Division. The Shanghai Dragons, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark, Seoul Dynasty, Chengdu Hunters and New York Excelsior made the shift during the 2020 season. Joining them from North America are two new additions in the Philadelphia Fusion and the Los Angeles Valiant.
The West Division
Twelve teams remain in North America, and in Europe. The Boston Uprising, Atlanta Reign, Florida Mayhem, London Spitfire, Paris Eternal, Dallas Fuel, Houston Outlaws, Toronto Defiant, Vancouver Titans, Los Angeles Gladiators, San Francisco Shock and the Washington Justice will compete against each other.
These two divisions will compete in monthly tournament cycles. Every team will play four qualifier matches each to ensure seeding for the tournament at the end of the month. After a two-week bye, the cycle will begin again. For these tournaments, the plans are to have the top teams from the East and West divisions fly to Hawaii in order to compete against each other. Last season, fans had to wait until the very end of the 2020 season to see the best of the best from both regions face off. This year, these tournaments will break the mold, and include everyone to ensure competitive play.
Minimum Latency Technology
A new feature of the 2021 season is minimum latency technology. With this, all teams can play on an equal and level playing field. With teams spread across continents and countries, this can be difficult. This new feature aims to fix those problems, ensuring that all teams can enjoy a smooth game playing process.
Entering the second year with a partnership with YouTube, Spector also promises improvements to the viewership process. Better quality streams, easier rewards for watching the streams live, and new and improved virtual sets are on the horizon. Fans can enjoy watching the League from the comfort of their own homes with the best possible graphics and quality.
Also coming to the League is a spoiler-free viewership mode. For fans who can’t watch the games live, this will help them enjoy the games on their own time. A partnership with IBM also promises better fan engagement and more connectivity.
The League is slated to start in April, 2021. Until then, there are plenty of community tournaments to look forward to, and engage with. As encouraged by Jon Spector, fans should keep their eyes on the Overwatch League YouTube channel for more announcements as the season draws closer.
Featured Image Courtesy of the Overwatch League.
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