Turner just announced on July 22nd that they’ll be holding an open Overwatch tournament to be televised on TBS in late September.
The tournament began on July 23rd, one day after the announcement was released on the ELEAGUE page
The qualifier is held on FACEIT with a similar structure to the CS:GO FPL qualifiers.
A series of ‘competitions’ are separated by region (EU and NA) on FACEIT.
The qualification competitions are spaced one week from each other, with only one open at a time in each region.
The qualifier competitions are bracket format tournaments. With 256 team slots each, there’s space for a massive number of teams. Four scheduled qualifier competitions per region could house up to 2000 unique teams.
Interestingly, despite the short announcement time, known teams like EnVyUs and Cloud9 are already enlisted and competing in the tournament.
The tournament is open. This avoids invitation questions that would inevitably lead to issues with such a young competitive scene.
Also, it’s a great idea to capitalize on the current hype around Overwatch. Turner can play a vital role in solidifying the game as an esport.
Isn’t this kinda early? Although the most relevant teams are already participating, the small amount of preparation time (one month for the latest qualification competition) will have an affect on non-professional teams that take longer to prepare themselves.
Only NA and EU? Overwatch is huge in Korea. Furthermore, Koreans are known to heighten the level of esports competitions with their unmatched dedication. Maybe Turner had issues with KeSPA rights. Maybe FACEIT just doesn’t have the required servers in that part of the world. Either way, it seems ridiculous to televise Overwatch without including one of the game’s strongest regions.
Why 18+? Participants have to be over the age of 18 to play in the live finals. Overwatch, compared to other prevalent esports, caters to younger players. So why exclude them? The decision seems counter-productive but was most likely a result of broadcasting complications on Turner’s side of the equation.
Why are there multiple qualifiers? On FACEIT it says that the winner of each competition qualifies for the playoff immediately. The remaining teams are chosen based on points.
So what happens after the first qualifier? If teams can only compete in one of the qualifiers, wouldn’t it be smarter for less established teams to compete later, when all of the good teams are already locked in the playoff spot? Also, considering that the best teams are already enlisted in the first qualification rounds, the following qualifiers should have much weaker competition. So, teams might benefit from competing later to have a better chance at grabbing the qualification.
Furthermore, assuming that later qualifiers won’t be as full, wouldn’t it be harder for those teams to accumulate enough points to qualify? How can you qualify with points if you play fewer games?
The Overwatch Open seems like a great move from Turner. Televising Overwatch should help solidify the momentum that it gained up until now.
At the same time, the whole ordeal seems a bit rushed and some aspects of the qualifier seem confused. The regions also seem limited – raising the question whether Overwatch Open might segregate the scene.