Despite a really long off season and no competitive Overwatch League to look forward to since late September 2021, Blizzard has finally put a date on exactly when the Overwatch League will return and provided a look at what the opening week's schedule will look like.
Set to start on May 5, the league will kick off and follow the formerly announced plans of being played in a 5v5 format, with the upcoming Push game mode set to be included, yet strangely enough the announcement blog post features absolutely no mention of Overwatch 2 directly, which begs the question if the season will instead be using Workshop mode to host competition.
Regardless, the league will once again be split into an East and West division, with the East including mostly the Asian teams (Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Charge, Hangzhou Spark, Los Angeles Valiant, Philadelphia Fusion, Seoul Dynasty, Shanghai Dragons) and the West including mostly North American and European franchises (Atlanta Reign, Boston Uprising, Dallas Fuel, Florida Mayhem, Houston Outlaws, London Spitfire, Los Angeles Gladiators, New York Excelsior, Paris Eternal, San Francisco Shock, Toronto Defiant, Vancouver Titans, Washington Justice).
We're also told that each team will play a minimum of 24 games over the course of the season, and that each of the four tournament cycles will feature six seeding matches all played over one extra week and day than was the case in the 2021 season.
In terms of the format for the season, the East division will play in a round-robin format, with the West's teams playing each other twice over the course of the year. The tournaments on the other hand will be regional competitions, with the plan for the second and fourth to be global live events, assuming it remains possible to do so.
As for the postseason, details remain mostly under wraps, however we were told that the top six teams in the West and the top three in the East, when looking solely at season-wide points, will automatically qualify for the Playoffs, with the remaining three participating teams determined through the Countdown Cup at the end of the year.
While we'll have to wait to see the full season schedule, you can see the plan for the first week here.