Overwatch League moves to online format, adds Friday games

Pacific teams will get a chance to play games and catch up on canceled matches.

Photo by Robert Paul via Blizzard Entertainment
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The Overwatch League may have canceled live events due to the coronavirus, but the league is moving to an online format for the next few months. Last week, Overwatch League commissioner Pete Vlastelica hinted that matches would still be played despite cancelations. We now have a schedule for this big move.

In a special Watchpoint update, host Soe Gschwind interviewed senior director of the Overwatch League Jon Spector and got all the details about the new schedule.

Matches will resume on March 21 at 1pm CT with the Pacific West division teams playing for the first time in weeks. The San Francisco Shock, Seoul Dynasty, Los Angeles Valiant, and Los Angeles Gladiators will play four matches over the weekend.

Screengrab via Overwatch League

One drawback of online matches is the potential for lag due to cross-country connections. For these online matches, teams will be divided onto three “servers” for optimal latency, according to Spector. All 10 Atlantic Division teams will be based on the East Coast of North America and will play on a server located there. Six teams, the Pacific West teams and the Seoul Dynasty, will play on a West Coast server. All four Chinese teams will play on local server in Asia.  

The Overwatch League will also be adding games on Fridays to accelerate the number of makeup games played. While the full schedule has not been released, Spector revealed that teams will likely play all of the matches that were postponed in March and April, meaning the schedule should be back to normal by May 1.

Unfortunately for fans anticipating shenanigans, the All-Stars Tournament has been postponed to the end of the season. The anticipated mid-season tournament, which would have functioned as stage playoffs had in past years of the league, has been canceled. “In order to make that competition work from a competitive integrity perspective, we would have to gather all the players,” which would be impossible at the moment, Spector said.

Every online match will be broadcast for fans on the Overwatch League’s YouTube channel. The season resumes at 1pm CT on March 21.