Overwatch League announces tournament format in May

Robert Paul/Provided by Blizzard Entertainment

The Overwatch League is changing up the schedule next month.

A new tournament structure will be introduced for the month of May. The first three weekends of play will determine seeding for an elimination tournament during the fourth weekend, which will be a three-day affair culminating with a tournament champion.

There will be two tournaments running concurrently, one for North America and another for Asia. The teams will be broken up based on where the players of the teams physically are, not by the city they represent.

Thirteen teams will compete in the North America region: Toronto, Paris, Dallas, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Gladiators, Los Angeles Valiant, Washington, Florida, Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco and Boston. The Vancouver Titans, who had previously been situated in Asia, announced via Twitter that they will also be joining the NA region.

The Asia region will consist of Guangzhou, Shanghai, Seoul, New York, Chengdu, Hangzhou and London.

The total prize pool will be $125,000 in North America and $100,000 in Asia. First-place teams at the end of the tournament in North America and Asia will receive $40,000 respectively. Second place earns $20,000, and third and fourth place will receive $5,000. On top of that, each team will receive $5,000 per win.

"We're ready at this point to innovate a little bit," said Overwatch League vice president Jon Spector, who announced the format change on Sunday's Overwatch League broadcast on YouTube.

The May tournament will not only have financial implications, but it will also affect the end of season standings. The top teams in the tournament will earn wins toward their end-of-season records.

"We heard a lot from (players and personnel) that they wanted these tournaments to matter, not just in terms of prize money, but to have some more meaningful stakes," Spector said.

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Hero pools will be suspended for the tournament, meaning all players have access to all heroes for the duration. Matches will be first to three maps, until the finals, which will be first to four maps.

As for whether or not this tournament will become a regular format, Spector said they have to wait and see.

"For now, we're just announcing a plan for May," Spector said. "Our plan tentatively is to try to do more of this as we look at June and July. I think we could land on a pretty similar structure, then we start to head into the end-of-season playoffs and finals. We do want to do more of this, but we will also be monitoring feedback and making sure it's as awesome and fun as we think it is before we set a plan further out."

Spector also noted that through extensive testing by OWL's IT teams and players across multiple servers, all 13 teams across North America should be able to match up against each other for league play by next weekend.