Now, we all know how OWL is outlined, but it seems like there is no clear info on how the overall OW scene (including tier 2 and 3) will be structured. Solid tier 2 scene is essential to provide constant influx of new star players. I am sure Blizzard is aware of this and is working hard to develop outstanding league structure for tier 2 scene as well (as they said news on contenders is coming very soon), so this post might not really mean anything.
But I feel like one role communities like this can serve is to provide ideas for the developers. So below are some of my thoughts on how the overall OW scene should look like. Whether this post will have any meaning or not, I am just trying whatever I can to help OW to be successful as eSports since it is the first eSport I began following.
Overwatch League and Overwatch World Cup
APEX, Contenders (NA and EU), OWPS, OPC, Event Tournament (with teams from OWL, APEX, Contenders, OWPS, OPC)
APEX Challenger and Open Division
The image link above contains how I think these events should be scheduled. I only included events for KR, NA, and EU since those are the ones I am most familiar with.
Only thing I changed from the official schedule is additional 2 weeks between stage two and three for mid-season signing. I think this break in the middle would allow the teams to analyze their performance in the first half of the season, and also help the new members to adapt.
Overwatch World Cup:
I think OWWC is a great tournament to attract casual fans, and I think Blizzard should continue to run it. Qualifier during late-September to mid-October, followed by playoff during Blizzcon.
As we are experiencing now, mid-November to December seems to be void of events. So this period seems appropriate to run an event tournament featuring teams from OWL and various tier-2 scenes. I think tournaments like this will promote interest to tier-2 scenes as well by showing how competitive the teams from those tournaments are.
I really hope Contenders, APEX, and APEX Challengers (and OPC & OWPS) can remain to be strong because I strongly believe those are essential. To make the schedule, I had to come up with some kind of tournament structures, and detailed info on those rules are in this link(https://drive.google.com/open?id=1SV4lmiF5Dm26KExgZ6oZTl7B5e_IKad2). But it will probably be difficult to understand, so I will briefly explain key things below.
For both APEX and APEX challengers to remain to be functional, I think reduction in size is necessary, possibly to 10 teams. With that size, league format is certainly doable. Matches can be held from Sunday to Tuesday to avoid conflict with the OWL. Starting slightly after OWL would avoid APEX stealing the hype of the new season from OWL. Also, having semi-final and grand final during OWL off-seasons between different stages would allow fans who normally only watched OWL to turn their eyes to APEX during that off-season. I think each team having one match per week would allow enough time to analyze the opponents and come up with good counter strategy.
For Contenders NA/EU, since it is the only tier-2 tournament in the West, I think number of teams can be increased to 10. Overall structure similar to APEX as explained above.
APEX challengers has been the league that helped amateur teams to develop into top-level pro teams (Meta Athena in Season 2, X6 in Season 3, GC Busan in Season 4, possibly Element Mystic in next season). This was possible as the league has relatively tight schedule. For the league at this level, primary purpose should be to develop pro-level players rather than to display top level performance. So I think having two matches per week would be better for Challengers.
This should serve as the initial stage for Contenders (and APEX Challengers) qualifier. When there are so many teams competing, it is difficult to do anything other than single elimination. However, single elimination always has a possibility of one of top level teams being eliminated early by facing top team in early stage. To help with this issue, it would be better to run this single elimination tournament multiple times throughout a year.
Yes, that was one LONG post, and I doubt many people read it all the way.
One purpose I hope this can serve is to share everyone's thought on how tier-2 scene like contenders should be structured and what kinds of tournaments should exist (like the event tournament I mentioned in the post, or how OWWC should be modified). Blizzard once mentioned each OWL teams would be allowed to run 5 tournaments. How should those be used? Post your thoughts please.