This week Blizzard announced the format for the 2019 Overwatch World Cup. Like last year, teams from around the globe will compete. However, this years competition includes a number of exciting new changes.
More Teams, More Action
The biggest change coming to the 2019 World Cup event is the amount of teams that will be featured. While last years event featured teams from all over the world, only the top 8 teams were invited to compete at Blizzcon. However, this is all going to change for 2019. Every team will travel to Anaheim were they will compete in the week-long tournament.
The tournament will be divided up into three rounds.
- Preliminary Round: Every team will fight their way through a single-elimination bracket. The only exception to this is the top-five ranked teams. These teams will automatically advance to the next round.
- Group Stage: Next, the five- victors of the Preliminary Round and the top-five ranked teams advance to the Group Stage. The groups consist of five teams, with the top three from each group advancing.
- Playoffs: Finally, the top six teams will compete through a single-elimination bracket. The victor will earn the title of the 2019 Overwatch World Cup Champion.
Because of this new format, fans will be treated to more matches in the week leading up to Blizzcon. Also, the format gives more exposure to players from new countries to make a name for themselves on a global level.
While new nations will have a chance to prove themselves at this year’s World Cup, the dominant teams from past years will also be rewarded for their past performances. Before the tournament, teams will be ranked. These rankings are based on each nations performance in the past three World Cups. Each teams performance in the most recent World Cup will be weighted the most in these rankings.
These rankings will give top-rated teams several advantages. First, the top five-ranked teams will skip the Preliminary Round, advancing directly to the Group Stage. Furthermore, higher-ranked teams that need to compete in the Preliminary Round will have an easier path. This is because they will compete against lower-ranked teams. Finally, the top-ten ranked teams will have their travel and hotels fully paid for by Blizzard, while other teams will need to pay for their own travel. This ranking system ensures that the world’s top teams, such as South Korea, China, and the United Kingdom, will have the highest chance of advancing to the later rounds.
Fan Involvement with the Competition Committee
Like last year, each nation will have a Competition Committee in charge of organizing their team. This Committee, like last year, will consist of a General Manager, a Coach, and a Community Lead. However, this year will feature one exciting change. Fans from each nation will be able to voice their opinion on who they as their teams General Manager. Any player with a Battle.net account in good standing will be given the opportunity to vote.
The creation of each nation’s team will be divided into three phases.
- Phase 1-Committee Application and Nomination (May 15-May 23): Players interested in serving on their nation’s committee will be given a custom-URL which they can share with the community. Other members of the community from the same country will be able to endorse whichever candidate they want to represent their team. There is no limit to the number of people a person can endorse, so players can endorse anyone they want.
- Phase 2-Committee Voting (May 30-June 9): Following Phase 1, the candidates with the highest number of endorsements will be voted on by fans and players from their respective nations. Everyone will be given the chance to vote for their nation’s General Manager. Players with a high enough competitive ranking will also be given the opportunity to vote for their nation’s Coach.
- Phase 3-Player Selection (June 13-July 14): After each nation’s Committee has been selected, tryouts will be held for each nation’s team. Each Committee will be given a month to select 12 players to join the team. However, only 7 of these players will make the journey to Anaheim to represent their team at this year’s World Cup.
New Changes, Same Excitement
This year’s format for the 2019 Overwatch World Cup is filled with several changes. However, these changes all appear to be a step in the right direction. By inviting every team rather than just the top-8 teams, to Anaheim, Blizzard ensures that their will be more excitement than ever surrounding this year’s World Cup. Furthermore, allowing fans to voice their opinion during the Competition Committee selection process means fans will be more engaged with their nation’s team than ever before. With the selection processing starting in less than a month, it will be exciting to see who will represent each nation at this years World Cup.
For more information on the 2019 Overwatch World Cup be sure to check out Blizzard’s official announcement.