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Talk about a dominating display. The Overwatch World Cup took place over the weekend at Blizzcon, one of many events at the convention we talked about last week, but there’s doubt in everyone’s mind that the team out of South Korea dominated proceedings from start to finish.
Going un-beaten in their group stage, the South Korean team led by Miro and Zunba blitzed the top 8 before cleaning up Russia 4-0 in their best of seven final round. They never looked like losing, despite Russia being a strong competitor through-out the same event, and can now claim the title of first ever Overwatch World Cup champions. Sweden would take bronze after a hard fought runner-up final against Scandinavian rivals Finland, which will go down as arguably the best match of the tournament thanks to some tight and gritty play by both teams.
Overall, the fan voted teams all put on some great match plays over the last few days. That includes our own Aussie contingent who, despite being put into the same group as the eventual champions, were able to pull out a win and finish third in their group overall. Be proud, guys, you’ve done something a lot of us are envious of, representing your country on stage at Blizzcon in front of thousands of onlookers.
Blizzard have since confirmed details on the upcoming Overwatch League, the ambitious mission to unite Overwatch players. The plan involves a preseason, where a giant pool of players will be brought together based on professional ranks and in-game leaderboards. Every player has a chance of being drafted during the preseason, though only the best will be picked up by an eSports team as every roster spot fills up.
There’s the promise of official, guaranteed contracts with every eSports team registered for its first season, so players can rest easy once they find a spot. The competition to get there will be fierce, no doubt, and whether every team will have more than the minimum roster spots available to cover for possible injuries or illness, perhaps even substitutions, hasn’t been clarified as yet.
The League will then have its inaugural season in 2017, with live matches streamed every week and ‘primetime’ matches between the best teams in the league. All this leads to the eventual Overwatch League Championship, though there’s no indication just yet whether this will either take the place of or work alongside this years Overwatch World Cup. There’s every possibility that the World Cup itself will return next year at Blizzcon in its current form, given the unique nature of how teams are put together in an almost ‘All-Star’ kind of way. Perhaps the player pool will be taken from League teams instead … makes sense, right?
Given their success over the past week, just about every Overwatch eSports team will be crossing their fingers that a member of the winning South Korean team will be on their side come the League proper. Either way, the future of eSports through Blizzard seems like a wild, enjoyable and engaging one. You can bet we will be keeping a close eye on the preseason schedules to discover which, if any, Aussie and New Zealand players make the cut.