Blizzard has officially unveiled the Overwatch Open Division, a new league that will provide amateur players around the world with "a more formal, structured tier of competition" than regular Competitive play, "where the demands of esports elevate players with true grit and skill."
The Open Division is divided into seven regions—Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, Latin American Spanish Speaking Countries, Brazil, Australia/New Zealand, and Southeast Asia—and is open to all players who have achieved Master rank or higher in the most recent season of Overwatch Competitive Play. Players on teams who complete all of their Open Division regular season games will earn $10 in Blizzard Balance, "with more in store for those who make it to the playoffs."
Open Division isn't a "one-off event," Blizzard said, but will cycle along with Competitive Play seasons so players who don't achieve the necessary ranking in one season will get another shot at it in the next. "And, in the future, top finishers in the Open Division may be able to earn opportunities to advance to Overwatch Contenders, the regional development league for aspiring Overwatch League professionals."
So that's Competitive play to Open Division to Contenders League to the top-tier Overwatch League, which still hasn't been officially rolled out. That's a lot of layers to work through, but it's nice to have a roadmap to the top—and it's a clear sign (if we needed one) of Blizzard's commitment to the pro scene, too.
The first season of the Overwatch Open Division is scheduled to begin on July 3, and signups are being taken now at playoverwatch.com.