It’s been three years since the last Overwatch World Cup, and interest has been increasing lately with the release of Overwatch 2. Coincidentally, they also announced it during the World Cup’s conclusion, which makes it seem like they were planning this for a while. As the new iteration of Overwatch 2 continues to gain traction, the pro play will be a logical next step.

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Blizzard released a calendar for 2023 detailing what’s to come before the return of the OW World Cup. Here’s what we know so far:

Three Stages

There will be three stages, from the planning stages to the World Cup finals. In January, Blizzard will announce the 36 countries and regions competing for the 2023 event as the first stage. During this time, people can apply to be members of committees, though final verification will come from the company itself.

A month later, Stage 2 begins, and World Cup, where there will be multiple open tournaments. Winners from these will guarantee spots in regional and country tryouts. By then, they will also reveal the finalized committee.

In March, tryouts for hosting will begin while the committee also holds the tryouts for the regional and country. Teams will have three months to prepare before the final part of stage 2, where all the selected teams will compete in 6 regional qualifiers. The top 16 teams will advance to the group stage.

Stage 3 will begin at Fall 2023, where the top 16 teams will compete in LAN in a round robin event that will eliminate half the field. The top 8 teams will compete in a single elimination tournament to determine the 2023 Overwatch World Cup champion.

A Lot of Changes from Here to Then

The current system of Overwatch 2 will introduce new content monthly, whether it’s a battle pass or a game update. Fans are still eagerly anticipating the single-player mode. It’s a promise Blizzard made that led them to the creation of the sequel. Because the World Cup will occur in Fall, expect there to be large meta-shifts to cater to this competitive environment.

We may see the addition of new heroes that will change Overwatch 2’s meta. Blizzard may also have some balance changes to create a more varied environment for teams competing in the qualifiers. They will then do a final change before the world cup. Whatever it is, competitive tournaments are always exciting.

The World Cup presents opportunities for professional teams and unknown figures to make their names on the world stage. Players will likely support a specific org or country, depending on who makes it past the tryouts.

Hopefully, the return of the Overwatch World Cup will spell good things for the game’s future. A healthy professional play environment is usually a good thing for the longevity of any online game.

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Vincent Roy has been writing about gaming, crypto, and geek culture since 2012. He loves staying up-to-date with the latest in board games, collectibles, and video games. During his free time, he is either trading the forex market, or hosting a Dungeons & Dragons game among friends.