All the ‘Overwatch’ News and Announcements From BlizzCon 2016

Nico Faraguna
eSports Overwatch
eSports Overwatch Games

For those of you who live under a rock, BlizzCon 2016 took place this past weekend in Anaheim California. Thousands of Blizzard fans showed up to the annual convention with hopes of their favorite titles announcing new content. One title everyone had their eyes on was the smash hit shooter, OverwatchNews surrounding a new addition to the game’s roster was anticipated. However, fans were pleasantly surprised by the announcement of more new Overwatch content and features rolling out soon.

The Elusive Hacker Sombra Makes an Appearance

Finally. After months of players, fans, and amateur detectives pouring their efforts into the Sombra ARG, Blizzard unveiled the new Overwatch hero, Sombra, in grand fashion at BlizzCon.

Sombra is the newest addition to the game's offensive roster. She uses her stealth and teleportation abilities to evade enemies while disrupting foes with "hacks." Check back soon for our complete Sombra character guide.

Arcade Mode

There is a new Overwatch Arcade Mode replacing the Brawl feature. Arcade Mode will include all the previous versions of Brawl, but adds more dynamic options for gameplay.

Hoping to expand on the "Brawl
Hoping to expand on the "Brawl

1v1 and 3v3 modes will be introduced via the new Arcade Mode. Blizzard specifically constructed some newer maps to compensate for the unique player capacity. In addition to the modes altering player capacity, a 6v6 mode without a hero cap will be included.

Players can select which game modes they would like to queue for from a playlist. Also, to incentivize players to try out the newest mode, Blizzard has started to offer loot boxes and rewards from participating and winnings matches.

New Overwatch Maps

If you're tired of the digital playgrounds that Overwatch currently has to offer, you'll be relieved to know that two new maps are coming soon.

Ecopoint: Antarctica is tailored around the new 1v1 and 3v3 modes that will be in the new Arcade Mode. Set in sub-zero temperatures, it was actually home to Mei during her cryostasis.

Specifically made for 1v1 and 3v3, Echopoint: Antarctica should help you refine your skills with difficult heroes.

The other new map is Oasis. Set in a similar locale as Temple of Anubis, Oasis is located in the Arabian Desert and will be the first official map to feature a jump pad. As was the case in the special Lucioball mode, the jump pad can propel players through the sky and will no doubt add an interesting facet to the Control style map.

Overwatch League

Perhaps one of the most intriguing revelations to come from the BlizzCon presentation was the announcement of the Blizzard-sponsored esports Overwatch League. Blizzard hopes to model the league after successful traditional sports leagues. The Overwatch League will have a player combine, free agency period, and try to promote regional fandom.

overwatch_league

Player Combine

At an unspecified date in early 2017, players will be eligible to attend a combine — essentially an organized tryout event. Scouts and/or coaches from established esports organizations will be in attendance at the player combine to evaluate a player’s abilities. Once the combine wraps up, there will be a signing or free-agency period to take place before the inaugural season begins.

Regional Pride

One aspect of traditional sports that has been difficult to replicate in esports is team loyalty. Esports fans often note that while they are fans of certain organizations, they ultimately abandon their allegiances for their favorite players.

Blizzard hopes to change that. Each team will be assigned to a major city across multiple regions. It is an unprecedented move for esports and perhaps one that can solve the issue of retaining fan support.

The Format

Not a ton has been announced regarding the format of the league, but we can expect live LANs in front of audiences. There will be weekly broadcasts of games and one primetime matchup that will feature the top two teams.

Once league play wraps up, there will eventually be an Overwatch League champion. Details about the postseason are scarce, but we can assume it will culminate in a final championship tournament — perhaps one to take place at BlizzCon 2017.

Blizzard is striving to make this league highly sustainable. Once teams are introduced to their league, there is no chance of them being expelled. Players will have benefits, salaries, and assurance that their interests are heard.

It should be an exciting new year for Blizzard's popular shooter. What are some changes you would like to see in the future of Overwatch? Let us know in the Discussions!

Nico Faraguna
I enjoy playing PC games, watching motorcycle racing, and eating good grub
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