The Overwatch League has barely been over for a week, and already changes are being made for next season. Expansion teams in Guangzhou and Atlanta have been confirmed, with Paris expected to join them. Reports also say Berlin, Melbourne and Sweden are in consideration. With an expanding league comes the pains of trying to meet global ambitions and competing with traditional sport leagues. Here are some ways the Overwatch League can improve itself in Season 2 and onward:
Increased minimum roster counts:
This is something the league is already taking action on, mandating that each team have a minimum of eight players on their rosters. The new rule was made to avoid a situation similar to that of the Florida Mayhem, who only had six players at the start of Season 1.
Improved playoff format:
A new patch was used during the playoffs and the top two seeds got a first-round bye. Some teams were able to adapt better than others, with the two teams that made the grand finals, the Philadelphia Fusion and London Spitfire, making quick use of the triple-tank meta.
It also explains why the New York Excelsior and Los Angeles Valiant ultimately fell flat; they couldn’t run the new meta properly nor get counter strategies going. Since the league will expand, the number of teams in the playoffs should increase as well. If eight teams made it, it would do away with first-round byes and allow every team to get properly adjusted to the playoff meta.
Better synergy with Contenders teams:
Ten of the twelve Overwatch League members run developmental teams in the Contenders Series. These are named either after the organization that owns the OWL team, like Team Envy or NRG Esports, or just after the OWL team, like Gladiators Legion or XL2 Academy. Since these serve the same function as a minor league baseball team players in the Contenders Series should get chances to play for the first team. Members of the first team should also be able to be demoted to the second team if the organization need to make improvements. The main benefit from this is that it would give outside organizations, with limited resources, a better chance to shine. The Overwatch League has begun this process with its two-way player policy, allowing a maximum of two players who can play for both teams. Though contenders eligibility expires after appearing in more than two League matches.
New divisions and associated scheduling:
This is more of a long-term idea rather then something for Season 2. If the OWL plans on making itself as international as possible, and having each team play in their own arena, logistics will become a nightmare for the young league. A solution to this would be to have teams from North America, Europe and Asia play in their own divisions. They would play within those divisions similar to college football conferences or professional soccer federations. By then, the number of teams will be large enough to justify reworking the playoff format. The best teams from each division would play in the playoffs.