Blizzard announced a number of changes that will be made to various regions in the Overwatch Contenders 2020 ecosystem for Season 2.
These changes come two weeks after Dan McHugh and Trevor Housten from the Path to Pro team at Blizzard made a Reddit post detailing some changes that were teased for the Overwatch Path to Pro. This post addressed multiple issues that had been at the forefront of criticism of the Path to Pro, including third party tournaments, sustainability in the Contenders and Contenders Trials levels, and exposure for up and coming talent.
A summary of the changes can be found below for their respective regions:
The format will remain the same as Contenders Season 1. Match accessibility for better talent exposure and third party events are being "planned". The total prize pool for Contenders China will be $175,000 USD.
Europe and North America
The format will be changed to a monthly tournament format, with five tournaments scheduled to be played out in each region from July through November, and all tournaments will have a $35,000 USD prize pool. These monthly tournaments are designed to allow Blizzard to "implement changes faster and experiment with different ideas more frequently in response to feedback from our players, teams, and the broader community."
Beginning in July, the new monthly tournament format will be implemented, with an eight-team double elimination tournament being played out in both regions. As for the teams being invited, the top four teams from Contenders Season 1 will be directly invited, with all other teams entering into a round-robin style Trials tournament to determine the final four entrants in the eight-team tournament. All matches in the July double elimination tournament will be broadcast.
Monthly educational sessions "aimed at preparing our players to be successful teammates, entertainers, brand ambassadors, and more" are on the horizon, with details to be unveiled later this year.
The format will be reverted to a traditional league-style format. The regular season will consist of a 10-team round robin, with two groups of five teams competing to obtain the best record. Six teams will quality for the single-elimination playoffs following the regular season.
The top eight teams from Season 1 will automatically qualify for Season 2, while the other two teams will be determined by a double-elimination Trials tournament featuring the 9th through 12th place teams from Season 1 and the top four teams from Open Division. All matches will be broadcast, and the total prize pool for Contenders Korea will be $175,000 USD.
Similarly to South Korea, Contenders Australia will be played in a traditional league-style format, with the regular season consisting of eight teams playing each other in a round-robin format. Three matches of "each cycle of the round robin" will be broadcast, while every playoff match will be broadcast. The playoffs will consist of four teams in a double-elimination format.
The top four teams from Season 1 will be automatically qualified for Season 2. The other four teams will be determined by a double elimination Trials tournament featuring the bottom four teams from Season 1 playoffs and the 9th-12th place teams from Season 1. The total prize pool for the region will be $100,000 USD.
Contenders competition will not take place in the region for the second season of Contenders 2020. To compensate, Blizzard has announced direct support for events with $100,000 USD in tournament prizing. The Contenders 2020 Season 1 champions, Talon Esports, have received an invitation to compete in Contenders Trials Korea Season 2.
Through feedback from players and teams in the region, the format for Contenders South America will be a "hybrid [of] the Season 1 format and a traditional league format". The regular season will consist of a series of 10-team round robins (with two groups of five teams competing against each other), followed by a "brief single-elimination tournament, ultimately leading to a season-end playoffs".
The eight teams that qualified for the Season 1 Playoffs will automatically qualify for Season 2. The final two teams to complete the 10-team lineup for the round robins will be determined by a double-elimination Trials tournament featuring the 9th-12th place teams from Season 1 and the top four teams from Open Division.
Similarly to Contenders Australia, the prize pool for Contenders South America will be $100,000 USD. Furthermore, exposure for talent in the region will be increased, with "more coverage of the region along with other exhibition-style competitions to promote fan engagement with players".
Details about changes to the Open Division will come at a later date. The team is looking to assist the different major areas with support that is better tailored to the region's needs. The team is also looking into different ways to get third party tournaments involved with the Open Division so it ties in more neatly with Overwatch Contenders.