Blizzard Is Opening the Door for More Overwatch Players to Go Pro

Esports isn’t the easiest field to break into, but Blizzard is doing what they can to make it [...]

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Esports isn't the easiest field to break into, but Blizzard is doing what they can to make it more accessible to Overwatch players with their new Path to Pro plan.

Blizzard's plans revolve around expanding the Overwatch Contenders league to encompass more regions. Overwatch Contenders acts as a development league that allows teams and players to take part in high-level games that'll help them get noticed by professional teams while earning a bit of money in the process.

The first step for improving Overwatch Contenders involves rebranding some of the existing leagues to Contender leagues while also adding new leagues based on other regions. Overwatch APEX, Overwatch Premier Series, and the Overwatch Pacific Championship will become Contenders Korea, Contenders China, and Contenders Pacific, respectively, and two new Contenders leagues will be created for Australia and South America. This means that there will soon be seven different Contenders leagues, and with three seasons a year played in each region, that gives many more players the opportunity to work their way to the top.

When dealing with the best of the best form each region, Blizzard said that the new regions' leagues will have to play some qualifying matches to determine which teams gain entry.

"At a minimum, the top six teams from existing tournaments (Contenders North America and Europe, APEX, Premier, and the Pacific Championship) will be invited to join their region's Contenders for 2018. The new Contenders regions, Australia and South America, will hold open qualifier tournaments to determine entry. Contenders will not be region-locked, although online matches will be played on each region's server. As with the Overwatch League, it's important for us to have the best players in the world competing at every level of competition."

The Open Division league is also being changed to allow teams to move up into the Overwatch Contenders if they perform well enough.

"At the close of each Contenders season, the top four Open Division teams from each region will be invited to compete in that region's Contenders Trials, an eight-team promotion-relegation tournament for Overwatch Contenders. The first Contenders Trials series will be in February. In these tournaments, teams will battle for their share of a prize pool—and a spot in the next season of Contenders."

Blizzard added the more details on the programs' overhauls will be revealed in December.