The Overwatch League Preseason is Less than a Week Away…
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that the Overwatch League, the international league for Blizzard’s multiplayer hit Overwatch, was first announced at Blizzcon 2016. Overwatch League, or OWL, now has 12 teams representing 11 cities around the world. These teams feature a multitude of talented players who have been getting ready to compete against each other for glory, prizes, and of course, bragging rights.
Speaking of bragging rights, Overwatch esports have a lot to brag about right now. The 35th annual Golden Joystick awards were held on November 17th in London. The Golden Joysticks had three awards related to esports this year and Overwatch was involved with them all. First, Overwatch itself won esports game of the year. Esports team of the year went to the Lunatic-Hai Overwatch team who are now the Seoul Dynasty. Finally Agilities outstanding Genji play won esports play of the year. All of these awards are based on votes by the public, some 3 million of which were cast.
The Preseason Matches
Official season play begins in January but the preseason starts December 6th and runs through the 9th. The preseason matches will reflect a week of regular season play with it’s Wednesday through Saturday schedule. All of the teams will compete against each other in these exhibition style matches. The Florida Mayhem faces the Philadelphia Fusion at 4:00 PM, the Los Angeles Valiant against the San Francisco Shock at 6:00 PM, and the Seoul Dynasty play the Shanghai Dragons at 8:00 PM to round out Wednesday play. The rest of the league will start playing on Thursday with the Los Angeles Gladiators and the London Spitfire 2:00 PM followed by the Texas teams Dallas Fuel and Houston Outlaws at 4:00 PM. Finally the last two teams of the league the New York Excelsior and Boston Uprising will play at 6:00 PM. Friday and Saturday matchups have yet to be announced but will likely feature a mixing up of opponents.
While Wednesday will be the first time we get to see the league’s players in action as part of their OWL teams, Reddit’s Competitive Overwatch subreddit r/Competitiveoverwatch has some preseason predictions. The members of the community ranked the teams against each other through voting. Illicit Sciences esports has put up a box and whisker plot to visualize the results.
The reddit community put the London Spitfire and Seoul Dynasty at the top while ranking Boston Uprising at the bottom. Again, while there’s no way to know how these teams will do against one another until Wednesday, these rankings do come from a large group of people who have followed the players and organizations behind these teams since before the games release. It’s worth a look if only to see whether any of these predictions happen.
It’s finally happening. Will the Overwatch League live up to all of the hype? Will it even survive as so many esports leagues before it have failed to? We start finding out Wednesday.