What Is Overwatch?
Overwatch is one of the newest yet fastest growing team-based multiplayer shooters. Released by Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch pits teams of players against each other across futuristic Earth cityscapes. In less than a year it has become one of the most celebrated and successful games of all time, generating over $1 billion USD in sales in the first year alone.
To say that the game has captured the hearts and minds of the online gaming community is an understatement. With over 25 million registered players, competitive Overwatch has exploded in popularity on a global scale, with regional leagues and international leagues only beginning to be established.
So how is Overwatch played? Players are assigned to two teams of six that have to fight to win map objectives. Each player controls one of 25 unique hero-characters that possesses unique weapons, abilities and playstyles. Objectives vary depending on the map, these objectives include: attack and defense, escorting a payload (and preventing it from being escorted), control point, and hybrid (a mixture of payload and control point game types).
Teams that complete the objective in the shortest amount of time win the round. The diverse combination of characters and objectives make Overwatch a truly unique experience. It is one of the most fun games to play and watch.
In Overwatch players are battling it out in a futuristic conflict on planet Earth, and these battles take place on a variety of maps inspired by real-world locations. For the Competitive Mode, a map is randomly selected at the beginning of the match. This map will determine the game mode that will be played by two competing teams of six players. Below are the game-modes and the maps that support them.
Assault: The attacking team must capture two successive points on the map. The defending team must hold and prevent the the capture points from falling to the attacking team.
Escort: The attacking team has to escort a payload along a predetermined pathway. The defending team must prevent the attacking team from moving the payload to the end of the map. Players escort the objective by standing near the moving payload and keeping defending players away from it. Defenders can stall the payload by being near it.
Hybrid (Assault + Escort): The attacking team must first capture the payload from the enemy team (like capturing the first point on an Assault map) and then escort it to the end of the map. The defending team must first prevent the payload from being captured, and if so, prevent the payload from reaching its final destination.
Control: Each time tries to capture and hold a point (much like king of the hill) and hold the point to get to 100% to win the round. For the point to be captured, there must be no enemy players near the control area. Unlike other game modes, Control (or CP for short) is played until one team wins the best of three rounds. Also unlike other game modes, Control maps are more symmetrical, giving neither team an inherent geographic advantage.
Doomfist – Mobile frontline hero with a powerful cybernetic fist with incredible burst damage potential. Doomfist can one-hit kill weaker characters and push tanks around. His Meteor Strike ultimate delivers incredible AOE damage.
Genji – Cybernetic-ninja hero that with incredible harassment power. Genji shoots shurikens and unleashes his deadly Dragon Blade as his ultimate. Skilled Genji players can tear through a weak backline.
McCree – Western-style gunslinger hero. Lacking mobility, McCree relies on his revolver’s incredible stopping power to eliminate enemies. His ultimate Dead Eye can instant kill enemies who do not take cover in time.
Pharah – Jetpack-equipped hero that can fly around the map and unleash rockets on her enemies from afar. Skilled Pharah players are hard to hit and can deliver insane AOE damage with her Justice From Above ultimate.
Reaper – Wraith-like hero with hellfire shotguns and the ability to teleport and become immune to damage. A skilled Reaper can easily burst the heaviest tanks in Overwatch and shred any enemy players with his Death Blossom ultimate.
Tracer – Equipped with dual pulse pistols, Tracer can zip through battle with her blink and rewind abilities, making her an omnipresent threat. Her time-bomb can decimate enemies who stand too close together.
Sombra – Infiltrator hero that can hack heroes and health packs. A skilled Sombra player can be a nightmare, disrupting enemy players and their abilities.
Bastion – Robotic hero equipped with a deadly gatling gun and the ability to repair himself. Bastion can also switch from mobile to sentry modes and transform into a powerful tank as his ultimate.
Hanzo – Archer hero that can use his bow to snipe, reveal, and scattershot enemies. Hanzo can also climb walls and deal massive AOE damage with his Spirit Wolves ultimate.
Junkrat – Demolitionist hero equipped with a grenade launcher, traps, and concussion mines. Junkrat can zone enemies and deal massive area damage. His Rip-Tire ultimate allows him to control a fast-moving tire bomb.
Mei – Ice-empowered hero who can slow and freeze enemies with her Endothermic Blaster, block enemies with Ice Wall, and become immune by freezing herself. Her ultimate, Blizzard, freezes all enemies within a radius.
Torbjörn – Engineer hero that can build and upgrade defense turrets and give friendly players armor. Torbjörn is excellent at area-denial. His Molten Core ultimate buffs himself and his turrets with extra damage and health.
Widowmaker – Sniper hero that can eliminate enemies from afar. Widowmaker can also lay Spider Mines and use her infra-red sight to detect enemies through walls.
D.Va – Mech hero that can both fly and use Defense Matrix to shield teammates from projectiles. D.Va is excellent at harassing the enemy team and soaking damage. Her ultimate allows her to detonate her mech for massive damage.
Orisa – Protector hero that can deploy a shield for her teammates, fortify herself to reduce damage, and use graviton to displace enemies. Her ultimate supercharges all teammates within range for more damage.
Reinhardt – Knight-like hero that wields an enormous hammer and protective barrier to shield teammates. Reinhardt can also charge enemies and temporarily knock them down with his Earthshatter ultimate.
Roadhog – High-damage tank hero that can punish enemies who are out of position with his Chain Hook and Scrap Gun. Roadhog can also heal himself with Take A Breather and unleash incredible damage with his Whole Hog ultimate.
Winston – Gorilla scientist that can leap around the map, harass enemies with his Tesla Cannon, and protect friendlies with his Barrier Projector. Winston’s ultimate, Primal Range, turns Winston into a high-health, hero-tossing melee monstrosity.
Zarya – Energy-focused hero that can protect herself and allies with shield barriers, which charges up her Particle Cannon to amplify damage. Her ultimate, Graviton, sucks all nearby enemies into a black hole, making them vulnerable.
Ana – Versatile sniper hero that can use her biotic rifle and biotic grenades to harm enemies and heal allies. Ana can also use her tranquilizer gun to sleep enemies. Her ultimate, Nano Boost, can supercharge an ally’s damage.
Lúcio – DJ hero that can AOE heal, speed-boost teammates, and wall-ride. Lúcio can also knock opponents back his Sonic Amplifier and use Sound Barrier to give teammates a temporary shield.
Mercy – Angel-like hero that can fly to allies, and also heal or boost their damage. Her ultimate, Resurrect is a game changer: she can bring dead allies back to life in the heat of battle.
Symmetra – Architect hero that can build sentry turrets, teleportation pads, and shields for her teammates. Symmetra’s Photon Projector weapon locks on to enemies in range and melts them.
Zenyatta – Omnic hero that uses his orbs to heal allies over time, or weaken enemies by increasing their damage received. Zenyatta also throws orbs for impressive damage. His ultimate, Transcendance, restores the health of all nearby allies.
A Brief History of Overwatch
Overwatch represents Blizzard Entertainment’s first entrance into the genre of multiplayer shooters. It is Blizzard’s fourth major franchise and its first new intellectual property (IP) in over a decade. Overwatch was developed out of a highly anticipated yet secretive game dubbed “Titan,” which was cancelled in 2014.
Not much is known about Titan other than the team developing it was tasked with coming up with a new project. That team would go on to create Overwatch, which used concepts from Titan and inspiration from titles like Team Fortress 2 and hero-based battle arenas to create a massively multiplayer team-based shooter.
Overwatch is set in a futurist planet Earth where a global conflict between humans and robots (dubbed the Omnic Crisis) takes place a variety of diverse real-world locations. Each hero-character that players can take control of has a unique backstory that takes place within that conflict.
Overwatch 2017 Tournaments and Events
Despite still being in its infancy, Overwatch has one of the fastest growing competitive scenes in all of online gaming. With over 25 million registered players in the first year alone, and being one of the most fun games to both play and watch, there’s no limit to Overwatch’s potential for professional gaming in the future.
Until recently, competitive Overwatch has been relegated to regional leagues. Blizzard announced their official professional international league competition – Overwatch League (OWL) which begins this July, and will conclude in a massive event at Blizzcon this November.
In addition to OWL, Blizzard is also officiating Overwatch Contenders, which is a regional amateur league that attracts new and upcoming Overwatch talent. Contenders, for the time being, will be administered by Blizzard into regional leagues.
A quick rundown of the major competitions that make up the Overwatch professional scene include:
Overwatch League – Blizzard’s official competitive ecosystem with city-based teams, much alike to traditional, geographically-based sports teams.
Overwatch World Cup – Once a year competition in which the best teams across the globe compete, culminating in a final showdown at Blizzcon in November.
Total prize amounts are rumored to be in the 7-figures.
July 13 – November 3
Overwatch Contenders – Blizzard’s official regional competition for amateur players coming up in the scene. Contender prize pool is set at $100,000 USD. August 17 – October 7 (Europe)
August 18 – October 8 (North America)
Apex – Korea’s largest OW tournament run by OGN. Mostly Korean teams compete, however some foreign teams get invited as well (Rogue and EnVyUs).
Prize pool is $200,000+ USD.
January 17 – April 8
Overwatch Premier Series 2017 – Overwatch competitive league based in Shanghai, China. Prize pool is $143,550 USD.
July 27 – October 14
Overwatch Premier Finals 2017 – Grand Final of the Premier Series Competition based in Shanghai, China. Prize pool is $101,500 USD. October 31
APAC Premier 2017 – Overwatch competition based in Shanghai, China. Prize pool is $226,200 USD.
November 23 – December 10
PIT Championship – Regional competition featured in North America and Europe. Prize pool is $15,000 USD.
March 23 – April 14 (Europe)
March 30 – April 14 (North America)
There are many other competitions for Overwatch, however, as the game is still relatively young, the professional competitive landscape is still developing as the game enters it’s second year.
Betting on Overwatch
Those who follow the competitive scene stand to earn the biggest rewards with Overwatch. Because the game is still in its infancy, the skill gap between experienced teams and new teams is quite high. Gamblers who can follow the competitive teams and the progress of star players will be rewarded the most. Due to Overwatch being such a young game, odds are difficult to predict in comparison to older games such as CS:GO, League, and DOTA 2.
As most gamblers are only beginning to learn about the competitive landscape of Overwatch, ordinary bettors have an opportunity to enter the scene early and set themselves apart. With several large upcoming tournaments later this year, and the very first seasons of Blizzard’s highly acclaimed Overwatch League (OWL) just on the horizon, those looking to cash in on Esports have an unprecedented opportunity with Overwatch. The competitive scene is fresh and those early to the betting market have a greater chance at establishing success early on. Overwatch is exploding in popularity and will only grow larger and large as it cements itself as a cornerstone of the competitive gaming industry.