Overwatch: Everything You Need to Know
Overwatch is a team-based First Person Shooter (FPS). However, unlike other FPS titles, Overwatch heavily borrows elements from other genres. This includes Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games, specifically, in terms of roles and skills.
Overwatch is developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. It is Blizzard’s fourth major franchise, following Starcraft, Warcraft, and Diablo.
With its worldwide appeal, a successful franchised league (Overwatch League), Overwatch is considered one of the biggest titles in esports.
Overwatch is currently available to play on the PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
How Do You Play Overwatch?
In Overwatch, players can select from any one of the nearly three dozen “Heroes”, which belong to one of three class types: Damage, Tank, and Support. However, unlike in other titles where players cannot switch heroes in the middle of the match, players can switch heroes after each round.
This is all part of Overwatch’s design to encourage teams to adapt based on the situation.
Overwatch currently features 7 different types of game modes. 4 of these game modes are available in competitive ranked play or casual play (Assault, Control, Esport, and Hybrid). Meanwhile, Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, and Elimination, are only available via the Game Browser or the Arcade mode.
Overwatch also has a limited set of scripting tools available that allow players to create their own game modes.
Overwatch is not a free-to-play title. Instead, players will have to purchase the game for $19.99 (Standard Edition) or $39.99 (Legendary edition).
Cosmetic skins are also available for purchase in Overwatch through microtransactions.
Who Are the Best Overwatch Teams?
Because of the relatively young competitive scene of Overwatch, the only teams that can be considered the best in the game are those who have won the ultimate prize — the Overwatch League championship.
So far, no team has made it to the Grand Finals of the Overwatch League Playoffs twice in a row.
This means that the most recent champions, San Francisco Shocks, are the de-facto best Overwatch team today. Not only are they the 2019 Overwatch League Champions, but the San Francisco Shocks also won Stage 2 of the 2019 Overwatch League, with two runner-up finishes (Stage 3 and 4) before finishing the season second overall to Vancouver Titans.
London Spitfire comes as a close second owing to its success during the 2018 Overwatch League.
Who are the Best Overwatch Players?
Naturally, the best Overwatch team in the world, San Francisco Shocks, houses one of the best Overwatch players, Jay “Sinatraa” Won, who took home the Regular Season MVP.
Sinatraa was rather an obvious choice for the MVP award because of his impact throughout the regular season. Although he was later benched at times, the 19-year-old remained one of the vocal leaders of the San Francisco Shocks. He was also part of the United States lineup, which won the 2019 Overwatch World Cup. He was also named as the tournament MVP for his performance.
Sinatraa’s teammate, Choi “ChoiHyoBin” Hyo-bin, is another one of Overwatch’s best players.
A flex tank player and a D.Va specialist, ChoiHyoBin’s unique style of play, where he plays both the aggressor and the tank, earned him the Finals MVP.
Rookie of the Year, Hyo-Jong “Haksal” Kim, was the brightest star on the Vancouver Titans roster that proved to be the thorn on San Francisco Shocks’ side before eventually losing to their rivals in the Grand Finals of the 2019 Overwatch League Playoffs.
Despite failing to lead his team, London Spitfire, to a successful title defense, Park “Profit” Joon-yeong, is still widely considered as the best Overwatch player in the world.
The 20-year-old is known for his ability to turn seemingly insurmountable odds in his team’s favor. He is currently with Seoul Dynasty, where he will look to capture the 2020 Overwatch League title.
What is the Overwatch League?
The Overwatch League is an international and franchised esports league composed of city-based scattered all over the globe. Currently, a total of 20 teams, scattered across four divisions (North, South, West, and East) based all over the world are part of the Overwatch League.
The Overwatch League is patterned from traditional professional sports leagues based in North America.
What this essentially means is that teams are based in a particular city and are backed by an ownership group, instead of being based where the ownership group or players want to play, as is the case in other esports titles. Additionally, the Overwatch League follows a “Regular Season” and “Playoffs” format, with all matches being played in front of a live audience.
Teams from each division will play each other and against other teams in single matches during the regular season for four five-week stages. At the end of the regular season (Stage 4), the top-seeded teams from the Atlantic and Pacific division will qualify automatically for the playoffs. The other top four teams, regardless of division, will also advance directly to the playoffs.
The rest of the teams will then have to fight for the 2 remaining slots in a single-elimination Play-In tournament to complete the 8-team Playoffs. The format then shifts to Double-Elimination for the Playoffs portion of the event until the eventual winners are decided.
Unlike the regular season, during the Play-In and Playoffs portion of the Overwatch League, all matches become first-to-4.
Unlike players in other esports titles who make most of their money from prize pool shares, Overwatch League players are guaranteed a minimum annual salary. They also receive benefits and a share of the revenue depending on the team’s performance. This is on top of their share of the prize pool that they receive as well.
What’s Next for Overwatch?
Just three years into its release, Blizzard Entertainment already revealed plans for a sequel to Overwatch, named Overwatch 2.
Instead of focusing exclusively on PvP, Overwatch 2 will feature PvE modes as well.
It is worth taking note that Overwatch 2 will exist as a completely different game upon release. However, Blizzard Entertainment did reiterate that any new maps, heroes, and game modes introduced in Overwatch 2 will also be added to Overwatch.
It is not yet known if Overwatch 2 will have a separate Overwatch League.
For the 2020 Overwatch League, the third season will be the first year that the league will adopt an away/home format. This means that all games will be played in the home arena for each team.
The 2020 Overwatch League is expected to begin on February 8, 2020. It will run all the way through August 9. The Play-in and Playoffs stage expected to start soon after the conclusion of the regular season.