After the group stages of Contenders finished this weekend many fans were left with the empty feeling and the sense of a missed opportunity for what was one of the best attended online events Overwatch has had.
Perhaps taking their cue from this and following on from the recent announcement of an Open Division, Blizzard have revealed another puzzle piece of the Overwatch League today. In the last hour Nate Nanzer, Overwatch League Commissioner, published an open letter to the community which opens with a recap of the recent developments, applauding the achievements of Overwatch esports and reaffirming their hunger to deliver more.
The meaty chunks follow on in the middle of the letter, with the announcement that they have sent out an email survey to a select group of players, inviting them to declare their interest in participating in the Overwatch League:
On June 27 we sent out an email survey to a select group of top players from around the world who can now opt to be included in this report. These players were chosen based on specific criteria:
- A top-500 finish in Competitive Play (based on Skill Rating) in Overwatch Seasons 3 or 4 for any region
- A playoff finish in recent high-caliber tournaments such as APEX Season 2 or Premier Series 2017 Spring, or an invitation to Pacific Championship 2017 Season 1
- Other distinguishing qualifications indicative of top-tier talent, including but not limited to membership on an established professional Overwatch team
On top of this, all included players must have accounts that are in good standing with Blizzard and meet other legal requirements for age and eligibility to participate in professional competition as specified in each country’s laws.
The affirmative responses will be used to compile a detailed list of candidates to aid team owners in crafting their perfect roster:
In gathering and organizing this data, our intent is to provide teams with a useful tool to support a roster-building strategy; we are not saying that this information should override other important factors. Statistics, as we know, are only one piece of the puzzle in determining what makes an Overwatch player great, but we wanted to ensure that every great Overwatch player is presented to team owners on a level, transparent playing field for consideration.
We were able to secure a copy of the email that has been distributed to Overwatch’s elite today, and reproduced below in it's partially redacted glory:
Blizzard Entertainment is scouring the globe in search of future esports heroes to compete at the highest level of professional Overwatch esports: the Overwatch League.
We are gearing up to launch the Overwatch League's inaugural season, and we aim to feature the most groundbreaking and compelling Overwatch action possible from its most expert players. You are receiving this letter because of the skill and commitment you have demonstrated in Overwatch, whether through a recent top 500 Competitive Play ranking in your region, a playoff finish in a premier competition, or other results indicative of world-class prowess.
If you are ready to see how far your passion for Overwatch can take you, please fill out the survey linked below, which contains questions about you and your preferences. In addition, please download the PDF document linked below to review and sign legal releases containing an agreement that grants permission to the Overwatch League, a Blizzard affiliate, to share your information with team owners, including your in-game statistics and your personal information. Teams looking for players may use the information we provide to identify candidates for their starting or substitute lineups and may reach out to those candidates for further discussion and to seek additional information. As roster sizes are limited, we cannot guarantee that you will be contacted by a team or have an opportunity to play in the Overwatch League . In addition, please note that players must be 18 years of age or older (19 in certain regions) and fulfill other basic requirements to participate in the Overwatch League. If you are currently under the age of majority in your country but will be of majority age by June 2018, your parent or legal guardian will also need to sign the legal releases. You must both submit the survey online and email (in PDF, PNG, or JPEG format) all pages of the signed legal releases to [REDACTED] by 12:00 am PDT (7:00 GMT) on July 3, 2017 to be included in the scouting report.
Thank you for the time and energy you have dedicated to pursuing excellence in Overwatch. Without the enthusiasm and tenacity of over 30 million players across the globe, Blizzard Entertainment would not have the foundation for building an esports league more ambitious than anything the world has seen before. We'll have more Overwatch League details to announce soon, so keep an eye on OverwatchLeague.com for the latest developments.
TAKE THE SURVEY
COMPLETE THE FORM
If you have questions about the scouting report, survey, or legal releases, please email [REDACTED].
Best regards, The Overwatch League Office
On the face of it the email is a formal request to let Blizzard tout you and your stats to potential team owners. With the expected level of legality for an operation of this size. Though, the part that many fans will be focused on is that very specific date mentioned:
If you are currently under the age of majority in your country but will be of majority age by June 2018, your parent or legal guardian will also need to sign the legal releases.
Contrary to Blizzard's original pitch of a Q3 2017 launch, this is the clearest indication we have yet been given that the Overwatch League will not be commencing until 2018.
Obviously, what exactly is inferred by the June 2018 date is up for debate. Much like every episode of Lost, the elusive statements regarding the Overwatch League seem to leave us with more questions than answers. Let’s just hope the Overwatch League has a more satisfying ending.