Blizzard released an updated ruleset for roster construction in the Overwatch League last night.
The rule updates include a change to the minimum number of players an organization is required to have under contract, lowering it from eight to seven. This creates some leniency for teams that are struggling with visa issues, retirements, or other inextricable player issues to avoid punishments from the league.
A team that’s at risk of having fewer than six players available to compete in a scheduled match will now have permission to sign players to 14-day contracts. Players signed to these short-term contracts can participate in online play without any restrictions.
Blizzard also said teams may choose to have players located in multiple regions compete in online matches with the understanding that some players will be competing at a higher latency. Teams will, however, have to continue to compete on servers in their designated regions while online play continues.
These changes are being implemented in response to the numerous unforeseen obstacles that teams are having to face in regard to immigration and travel. Blizzard sites the worldwide lockdowns imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the catalyst for the updated ruleset.
The Washington Justice and Vancouver Titans have had issues meeting the league’s minimum player requirement recently. The Guangzhou Charge had to send some of their players back to their home countries due to visa issues, while the Boston Uprising has had just six players signed to the organization for the majority of the year.
The fact that so many teams are struggling with maintaining their roster this season was likely concerning for the league. But this ruleset update is an encouraging sign.
At this time, Blizzard said the altered roster construction ruleset is only in place for the remainder of the 2020 Overwatch League season. The company said it’s “continuing to evaluate our rules and deadlines around roster construction and may make further revisions in the future.”