After canceling all live events for the next two months as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the Overwatch League has announced a new online match schedule.
The online matches, which will still be broadcast on YouTube, will be hosted by the Overwatch League. Blizzard discussed the revised schedule on a blog posted to the offical OWL website.
“The schedule was constructed to eliminate the need for travel while maintaining a level playing field for the teams, so all matches are taking place based in the regions where teams are currently residing,” Blizzard said.
This weekend’s upcoming matches will feature all teams from the West Coast: the Los Angeles Gladiators, Los Angeles Valiant, San Francisco Shock, and Seoul Dynasty.
To minimize latency issues that may arise with an online tournament, Blizzard will also have teams compete in three separate regions. The Vancouver Titans and Dallas Fuel will play against the aforementioned West Coast teams. The four teams in China will play each other. The Atlantic Conference teams will compete with all of them within the United States on the east coast and in Texas.
This new configuration creates new matchups. But the bigger change to the Overwatch League comes in the amount of matches each team will play. To stick with the 2020 schedule, each team will play the amount of matches necessary “to catch them up to the total amount of matches they had ben scheduled to play through the midseason point of the original schedule,” Blizzard explained.
This means that Pacific Conference teams will generally compete more often than the Atlantic Conference teams, since teams comepting in homestands in Asia were disrupted the most this season.
“The original 2020 schedule was balanced so that teams would play twice against teams in their own conference (18 of 28 matches) and once against the other conference (10 of 28 matches). With teams playing by regional location, the schedule can no longer adhere to that breakdown,” Blizzard said.
Because of the disruption, some teams will now play more than two matches against other teams, while some teams won’t play each other at all. This could potentially upset the balance in the league standings.
The Overwatch League is currently “evaluating” these changes and the structure of the playoffs, including what it will take to qualify now that the schedule has faced such massive setbacks and changes.
While this schedule sees a lot of changes for teams and their fans, the matches will still implement the new Hero Pool selection process. There will also be a map set.
Fans can visit overwatchleague.com for the full revised schedule.