Blizzard is bringing back the Overwatch World Cup for the third year, but has now tweaked the qualification system. Players are now being invited based on their skill at the game, and not through a popularity contest that was the World Cup qualifier last year.
The current competitive season (which lasts until 29 April) is now being monitored by Blizzard representatives. At the end, the average skill rating of the top 150 players from each country will be calculated; with the top 20 countries then being invited to compete in the group stages of the tournament.
Additionally, the four countries hosting the group stages (France, South Korea, The United States, and Thailand) will gain automatic entry into the group stages as well. Bringing the total number up to 24 teams in the tournament.
How national team committees are form has also been tweaked. Blizzard itself will now be selecting the general manager of each team, while the coach will be voted on by the top 150 players from their own countries. A community head will also be selected, but this time the vote will be open to all players from the country.
Once the committee has been organised, national tryouts will be organised in the 24 qualifying countries. This is scheduled to take place between 1 June and 15 July, and all players from within that country are allowed to participate – including those already playing in the Overwatch League.
What is interesting is that Blizzard will be compensating the entire national committee for their time. The company is also offering to pay for any travel and lodging that the committee members will need to do to go about their tasks. A very nice gesture for gaming community leaders who may have to take time off from their own lives to help promote the game.
That said, it still looks like the Overwatch World Cup doesn’t include a cash prize. The competition has been set up as a global celebration of the game, and it would appear that Blizzard is keeping any monetary incentive limited to OWL. On the other hand, making it to the finals the Overwatch World Cup does include a trip to Blizzcon later this year.