Hey, it's Jon Spector from OWL. Ask me anything (AMA)!

  1. What happens if Paris, or somehow, London make it into Countdown Cup finals to Grand Finals? They can’t get to Hawaii so would there only be regional finals? How would that even work for Grand Finals?

  2. Discussed this above, but we have been working with all teams to prep visas and travel authorizations required for participation in the postseason.

  3. Will members of the desk and the casters be present at the live events or will they still be at home?

  4. Still sorting this out with our broadcast team (and the talent themselves) - will share more as we get closer to the events

  5. Hey Jon! I’ve loved the changes to the OWL this year. The format, the lofi music loading screens, and the return of live OW. Awesome! If there was any one thing you would add to the experience, what would it be? You have unlimited resources!

  6. I wanted to license "The Final Countdown" and play it every broadcast of the Countdown Cup, but it turns out that's really expensive and not worth it. Also UFC's Fight Island would've been really helpful in the pandemic with all the travel challenges.

  7. The lofi screens with artistic clips of little corners of the game was a stroke of genius. I feel like OWL is a product created by people who deeply enjoy the game, and I respect the hell out of that.

  8. Play-ins for byes, yeah. The final 8 teams are in a standard 8-team double-elim bracket but higher seeds get to choose their first round opponents.

  9. Can you or can you not confirm that there's a chance the limited edition OWL skins may get re-released, as hinted by you in the AMA with the OW dev team last month? Someone who may or may not be Sideshow or myself would be extremely interested in the re-release of the Jjonak MVP skin.

  10. I need that Atlantic All Star Rein skin. I lost it after moving to pc and I'm just not getting the fatty shattys I used to. It's the skin's fault I'm sure.

  11. as a genji and tracer player I would be through the roof if I could complete the entire cosmetics for both by getting their All Star 2018 skins

  12. I can confirm to you that Blizzard loves money. First they love to get it by inflicting FOMO, then they like to get it from those who weren't around to experience it, or didn't fall to the tactic but realized they want the product anyway.

  13. Would the league ever consider a small broadcast delay so that observers can choose the optimal angle to show fights from? I know that other esports have tried it without success, but I think the chaotic nature of Overwatch means the broadcast in uniquely suited to benefit from foreknowledge of how the fight will go, without spoiling too much for the viewer.

  14. If I understand correctly, we will be going straight from the Countdown Cup finals to the playoffs? Any plans for what happens in the time between these two events?

  15. Countdown Cup tournament weekend is August 19th through 21st. We're then giving teams a bit of a break to prep for postseason. Play-ins are Sept 4-5th. And then we've set another break before playoffs so teams can travel to Dallas and get adjusted before taking the stage.

  16. Thanks! I was working at the NBA on their esports strategy as my previous job and met a bunch of the esports team at Blizzard then. At a work dinner with that group I beat Nate in a game of Hearthstone, Blizzard had to pay the dinner bill, and they hired me shortly after :)

  17. Still sorting out some of the tickets stuff (which is why we don't go on-sale until August). Addressed this in another comment but we're working with our health and safety experts and monitoring local guidelines / rules re: event planning, capacities, etc.

  18. I think it’s fair to say that most of us here in this sub think that 16 games per season is too little. Are there any talks about increasing the number of games next year? I think the season 2 format with 7 games per stage was the ideal amount of games, so that one or two poor performances doesn’t ruin the stage for any one team, but the teams can’t exactly slack off either. What is your take on the situation?

  19. I think there's a mixed bag of some valid points here - strength of schedule can vary significantly between teams within a tournament cycle for example - but also some "well my favorite team lost so I wish they had more games right now" type sentiment too. Every format has good and less good aspects to it - this season I think the format makes every game matter, and it's been compelling IMO that the third week of every cycle nearly every map can make a difference. We also like that whenever a team competes, they are playing against an opponent playing the same number of matches (2) that week as they are, whereas in prior seasons that's sometimes been mismatched. And I think generally we've seen the best teams in each region make knockouts, qualify for the global tournament, etc.

  20. If Toronto does make it to the Playoffs, what are the plans to getting them into the USA? Canadian boarder is closed going into the USA but not vice versa.

  21. The Canadian border closing is for travel deemed non-essential. We have worked with the teams in Canada so that they would be able to travel into the US for playoffs (and also for Hawaii tournament participation).

  22. can’t believe you forgot the 4-0 Titans stage + Them winning the Countdown Cup to gain 7 league points and make it to play ins where they don’t drop a single map and then proceed to roll everyone in the playoffs and in the finals they get rolled 0-4 by the LA Valiant who came second in the June Joust

  23. Was OWL considered when the dev team ultimately made the decision to change the game to 5v5 for Overwatch 2? If so what were the things there were being considered in terms of impact on the OWL experience both from the operator and spectator side?

  24. What repercussions is the league giving out to LAV for manipulating the min roster deadline before the season?

  25. Another commenter responded on this, but we're planning for the usual west region noon PT (2pm local time in Dallas) start times for playoffs and then 6pm PT for Finals. For these events we're always trying to balance the competing needs of fans around the world but also those in venue. We'll continue to use the Encores in spots where we know the live show doesn't work well for significant groups of fans.

  26. I don't have those powers. So far I've picked Seoul to advance in knockouts twice this year in my personal pick ems and taken the L twice.

  27. Paris have a possibility of making the post season, so with that said is it easy or even possible to get the players into the country before the post season begins or is it similar to getting Kevster in? Also just wanna say the seasons been sick so far.

  28. How difficult is it to plan for the future of the OWL considering OW2 is on the horizon (Soon™) and with it bringing massive gameplay changes?

  29. Let's just say popular opinion wanted you to play in the talent takedown. Which talent member would you really look forward to dominating on the server?

  30. Hiya Jon, thanks for doing this. In the developer AMA you mentioned looking into bringing old league skins back; is there any update you can provide on whether that idea is moving forward?

  31. Bagel sandwich with scrambled egg whites (my family has a history of high cholesterol so I try to be careful about that) and muenster or cheddar cheese.

  32. Why is your title VP of OWL? From where i sit, it seems like you have taken on the role that is usually fulfilled by the commissioner in other sports leagues. OWL has a comissioner as well, so what are we not seeing that makes these titles make more sense?

  33. Do you believe that bonus points from Tournaments needs to be reduced in the upcoming season if the format stays the same? With only 16 regular season games a win in a tourney is 3 points ( 3 won matches ) to their record. It’s a massive boost and other teams cannot physically catch up to them in the overall. Currently I believe Dragons would still be #1 even if they lose all their matches even with dropping 2 matches in the regular season which to me is absurd thanks to the bonus of from tournaments.

  34. We went through a bunch of permutations on the reward structure for tournaments this year before the season started, and it was an area where we talked with teams a lot too. The intent was that teams generally should need to perform well in the regular season to make playoffs, but that success in tournaments would matter and be impactful. For the Dragons example you gave, my take is that they deserve the #1 seed in the East. We're 75% of the way through the regular season, and they've dominated the whole way through, winning nearly all their regular matches and showing up in a big way on the global stage.

  35. There has been a fair amount of discussion over the relatively low number of games this season. Would you care to reflect this and what your thoughts are going into next year?

  36. Addressed 2 and 3 previously but on #1, we wanted to avoid any meaningful incentives for teams to manipulate play rates of heroes, and the weighted-rng is intended to address that concern.

  37. Will teams have enough time to settle in and get quality time before the finals this season since that seems to be a bane of NA players in the current format?

  38. In a deathmatch between Bren, Sideshow, Jaws, and Custa (honorary Brit) who comes out on top as the last Brit standing?

  39. With Viol2t’s ban for cheating in Overwatch, how would this affect his status with San Francisco Shock? Seeing as how it would break the official rule book 3.6 Maintaining Eligibility.

  40. I don't think he actually cheated. He made a new account that got banned because he played so well people thought he was cheating. If he was actually cheating he wouldn't tweet it out.

  41. Will the Overwatch League ever follow the expansion rules that the NHL has, barring the expansion of the OWL?

  42. what's you favorite class in hearthstone and if you put 8 of the best hearthstone players from OWL in a battlegrounds lobby who would win? :p

  43. Will there be any downtime for teams that have to compete multiple times a day? Competing back to back matches within 30 mins can be mentally stressful on a team.

  44. Will there be more than 16 regular season games next season / Will the format stay the same or see drastic changes?

  45. As we start to look to the end of season 4 and to the offseason and beyond are you happy with the 16 match format of this year, do you think it's been successful in making every match count?

  46. Are there any major patches planned for the playoffs or will the playoffs meta be as similar as possible to how it was pre-Countdown Cup hero pools?

  47. Hey John, recently there has been a lot of talk about the APAC teams having an advantage with the NA teams going to Hawaii and not Scrimming. Is there anything the league could do to help with the situation and what do you think about it?

  48. At the upcoming live events will there also be live casting? I know Bren and Uber have been very vocal about wanting to cast live.

  49. Hey, thanks for the AMA! I wanted to ask if there are any plans regarding having more interviews/vod reviews/hype intros with the players?

  50. When Overwatch League and the rest of the world return back to normal, will the overwatch league be returning back to its traditional style with holding all the teams in one arena and only sometimes going away for homestands, or will it be trying the all homestand season it had originally planned last year?

  51. The question has probably been asked already but I'm curious to know if you can disclose what would have been the plan had Paris qualified for Hawai'i ?

  52. Will we be getting 4k back? I know you guys need to make money from ads and everything, but I'm really missing the higher quality.

  53. knowing we’re not going to have an all-star this year, will there be some event matches in the LAN playoffs/grand finals just like Chinese homestands do?

  54. Is there a plan for the finals if teams outside of the US make the finals. Also how do you feel about Funnyastro waiting months to get to Korea, have a bad run on brig only for his main Lucio to get banned.

  55. Hey Jon, are the playoffs all going to be first-to-four series? I would really love the lengthier series to bring back a special feeling of importance in the playoffs, just like in 2019!

  56. Will there be some cool new stuff in the postseason to keep stuff interesting and fun or just the same all stars and widow 1v1 etc? Also would OWL host some off season content as well like a public tournament with some owl players or something?

  57. Why are bans randomized, and not using data on which heroes are played at a significantly higher rate than others? I feel like taking out dva, sym, echo, and moira could have produced an interesting meta for viewers

  58. Are you guys concerned with the march 12 winner will play a back to back match on the 19th. I thought I checked the schedule yesterday and there was only one game on the 19th. Did you move it to even out the days?

  59. Will there be owl next year? If not sure, by when will you be more comfortable about talking about next year’s plan?

  60. Hey Jon, I hope you have a nice day. You guys are still thinking about bringing back owl skins? For example, Goat Brigitte and All Stars Mercy?

  61. Will the team in each region remain the same like Fusion and Valiant in APAC, or will there a rotation of NA teams going to APAC and APAC to NA?

  62. This isn’t really about the playoffs but with the introduction of LAN back into OWL are you planning on having home stands back for season 5?

  63. Jon, can you leverage your position with Blizzard and give the people what they want? We want Ana’s bio-nade to extinguish Ashe dynamite and we want it now!

  64. Which regions are currently the most likely to get a team if new teams were to be added? Does owl have any specific countries or cities in mind?

  65. Some of my friends and I are concerned about how Chinese and Korean teams will be able to travel to the US for the playoffs. Is it true that if you are traveling for a tournament and not staying for long the paperwork you need is different than the P-1 visas that most players on NA teams have needed since they need to stay for a long time and live there? I really hope the APAC teams that qualify will be able to come to NA and won't have to play on ping.

  66. How is it justifiable to have teams travelling around the world given that there is a very real potential for them inadvertently spread covid and variants around the world?

  67. Out of curiosity, do OWL teams provide players with health benefits, like health or dental insurance? Can totally see the Glads with a killer dental plan

  68. Will the desk and casters also be on location? Really wanna see them back actually looking at each other while speaking.

  69. Hi Jon, I don't know if this has been addressed anywhere else or not but I thought I'd ask anyways, is there a reason that the 4K streams have stopped for now, is this just a temporary thing?

  70. Hi Jon, you mentioned in the last large OW Reddit AMA after the 5v5 OW2 gameplay was shown off that there were plans on having previous OWL cosmetic skins returned to the game at some point, is this something you can give any more information on now?

  71. Hey Jon! With COVID still being an issue, do you have any updates/predictions on having player meet in greets/signings in either Arlington or LA?

  72. What do you think about allowing some selected streamers to broadcast the matches on their companion streams? it's something that I think works well in valorant although the interest in that game is higher

  73. Just a short question I live in Germany so just a question that's for people who live in Europe and to u Jon will we see eu homestands next sesone because I would love seeing more live overwatch and travelling isn't possible right now and if its possible again its expensive would be great if we get a Paris homestand

  74. Hello, wondering if the finals, or even the playoffs, will be broadcasted on ESPN or Disney like back in the Day? This could bring in a lot of traffic and could really help the league and be more convenient for some people.

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