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The newest Esport on the scene is Overwatch. Overwatch was released in May 2016, but is already massively popular and is being treated as the new League of Legends because of how quickly it has taken off. There is already a lot of hype surrounding the future of Overwatch with all the money coming in to support it, and the franchise fees have risen significantly since the initial $20 million price to buy a team in 2018.

The Game

Overwatch is an action-packed game that was the first first-person shooter made by Blizzard. You can choose from one of 29 characters and no character can be selected more than once per team. Teams are divided into six players apiece, and players typically specialize in being Tanks, Supports, DPS dealers, or in a Flex role.

There are multiple game modes in Overwatch, and the first season saw teams play four different modes. Maps were designated to be used for Control, Assault, Escort, and Hybrid.

Unlike other FPS games, where a player can go Rambo and totally alter the dynamic by himself, Overwatch requires constant teamwork in order to succeed. It’s possible to go out and get a solo kill or two, but you are just as likely to be killed as you are to get the kill. Knowing when to use your ultimate is key too. A character’s Ultimate ability can affect the course of a map.

The Competitive Scene

Blizzard strayed from the traditional Esports dynamic by making their model a location-based one. Like we see in regular sports, teams would represent locales like Boston, Shanghai, and San Francisco, although players do not have to be from that area in order to play for that team.

Right now, every match is being played at the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles, California, but the goal is for each team to eventually have their own arena in their own locale. We have a long way to go until that happens, but many of Blizzard’s big dreams with regards to the Overwatch League have paid off to this point.

The biggest tournament in the world of Overwatch is the Overwatch World Cup. There, teams from 16 different countries compete in a single elimination tournament to determine which country has the best Overwatch players. Each country has its own style, adding a flair to the occasion, just like the real World Cup. South Korea has won all three Overwatch World Cups since the competition’s inception in 2016, but the gap is closing.

There aren’t many other tournaments for Overwatch yet because Blizzard is putting their faith in the long-term success of the Overwatch League and not allowing much else aside from it.

Strong Beginnings

Twelve teams took part in the inaugural season of the Overwatch League. Three continents were represented, and the league was split into two divisions. The Boston Uprising, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, New York Excelsior and Philadelphia Fusion played in the Eastern Division. Meanwhile, the Dallas Fuel, Los Angeles Valiant, Los Angeles Gladiators, San Francisco Shock, Shanghai Dragons, and Seoul Dynasty played in the Western Division.

Coming into the year, the three favorites to win the Overwatch League were the Seoul Dynasty, New York Excelsior, and the London Spitfire. However, Seoul fell off after a strong start, and the Excelsior dominated the regular season with a 34-6 record.

They were heavy favorites coming into the Overwatch League Playoffs, yet the Spitfire were able to claim the crown and become the inaugural champions.

The league was so successful in its first season that eight other teams have signed on for the second season. The Atlanta Reign, Paris Eternal, Toronto Defiant, and Washington Justice will be joining the Atlantic Division, while the Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark, and Vancouver Titans will join the Pacific Division.

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