ELEAGUE changes format for its Overwatch league after player plea

The 16 teams competing in Turner’s inaugural ELEAGUE Overwatch season successfully lobbied Turner for a better tournament format

The 16 teams competing in Turner’s inaugural ELEAGUE Overwatch season successfully lobbied Turner for a better tournament format.

In a letter sent to the league’s commissioner Min-Sik Ko, REUNITED’s support player Thomas “Morte” Kerbusch, on behalf of the 16 participating teams, outlined three major issues with the league’s original setup.

After Turner informed the teams ELEAGUE offline event in Atlanta would be a single elimination bracket, they “quickly agreed that this format would be very detrimental to the competitive nature for an event of such magnitude,” Morte wrote Dot Esports in an email.

After speaking with players from all teams in the league, Morte wrote a letter to Ko—which was obtained by Dot Esports—containing three major grievances with the league. These topics included the proposed format, ELEAGUE not providing travel accommodations for coaches, and the lack of international competition prior to the grand finals.

Twelve hours after the mail was sent, ELEAGUE responded with an updated format mirroring that of the recently concluded ESL Atlantic Showdown tournament at GamesCom. Meaning the teams will play in GSL-style double-elimination groups. The playoffs will still be single elimination, but are all now played as best-of-fives.

“I must say I’m pleasantly surprised with the swift reaction by ELEAGUE as they instantly adopted the suggested format,” Morte said.

The tournament format now better reflects the wishes of the teams. But some still aren’t happy that North America and Europe won’t have a chance to clash until the grand final as each group will only contain teams from one specific region.

“I believe that separating regions massively takes away from an international event,” Morte wrote to Ko. “GamesCom perfectly showcased how entertaining matches between the different regions are. Matches within a region are not nearly as exciting as clashes between different regions, simply because matches within regions happen so often.”

Despite his criticisms, Morte said he understood the reasoning behind ELEAGUE’s decision to retain the current system. “With the grand final being televised it obviously makes for a guaranteed great story and matchup if the best of Europe faces off against the best North America has to offer,” he wrote. 

Was this an early attempt at unionization? That’s a “bit of a stretch” Morte said. “However creating a player union for Overwatch is something I’ve been pondering about for a while now. I think it’s great if we can stand strong when facing issues like this.”

Ko did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.