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Blizzard approves Hero limits for Overwatch eSports

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ESL recently announced the Overwatch Atlantic Showdown; the first eSports tournament for Blizzard's first-person shooter that has a six-figure prize pool. The top four teams from Europe and North America will meet for the epic finale at this year's gamescom where they'll compete for that $100,000 prize pool. If you host any competition for a Blizzard game that has a prize pool of over $1000 then you are obligated to follow their rules - in Overwatch's case, it meant a no hero limit.

Just imagine playing an assault or control map against a team stacked with Winston, Tracer, and Lucio. Or any map for that matter where a win is guaranteed when you stack specific heroes. So, naturally, competitive players weren't happy about the rule, there's a lot of money at stake, so it's completely understandable. However, Blizzard insisted, and the Atlantic Showdown online qualifiers kicked off on July 4th with guns blazing in all its Overwatch glory - six Pharah's if that's your thing.

Overwatch Central reports (see the video below) that Blizzard has seen the light, and, at least for the Atlantic Showdown, there is now a one hero limit. We had the same thing for Team Fortress 2 tournaments - there had to be class restrictions, or matches would just turn into ... a circus really.

The new rule is, therefore, one hero limit - but no role limit. So you can have four tanks and two support; as long as you don't pick the same hero. The South African Overwatch ladder hosted by Orena has been playing the first season with the hero limit rule all along. Talking about the local scene, according to Orena's chief hero, Luca Tucconi, "The first season started off better than expected, with teams getting more and more active." The current top four teams are:

  1. Friendship Squad   
  2. E.D.E.N
  3. Nine Meter Bears
  4. Damage Control

"EDEN being the team everyone is looking out for the most at the moment," continued Tucconi, "with Damage Control being the most active team to date. The top four get pushed into single elimination tournament at the end of the season." We have an interview schedule with the current number one, Friendship Squad, so keep an eye on GameZone. 

Check out Friendship Squad vs. Damage Control in the video below, courtesy of Orena YouTube.

But let's get back to the Overwatch Atlantic Showdown, with another change being implemented - Stop Watch. Hallelujah. If you've been climbing (or descending) the ranks in Competitive Play, then you know what a nightmare Sudden Death is. After the first round of qualifiers, Blizzard now also agreed to let draws play out with Stop Watch.

You can check out the eSports changes announcement on Overwatch Central in the video below. You'll also get a look at last week's ESL Atlantic Showdown qualifiers.

Should hero limits also come to Competitive Play now that's it's allowed in Overwatch eSports?

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