Overwatch World Cup: You Can Vote For Your Country’s Team Now, Except It’s Not Really A Vote

Overwatch is getting its own World Cup, we learned last week, and it’s got a populist twist. Blizzard told us that when the time came, you would be able to vote for the players in your country’s team. Well, that voting process has now started. You can pick four players to represent your nation at BlizzCon in November by logging into Battle.net and going here. Why four and not six? Well, that’s because Blizzard are keeping the final two picks to themselves. In fact, when you look closely at the tournament, it looks like Blizzard aren’t relinquishing any control over the games at all.

The World Cup is structured like this: teams from the countries listed in the picture below will be created out of a mixture of Blizzard’s nominations and player voting. Blizz will round up the likely candidates (streamers, pros, etc), then you’ll pick your favourite four from your nation, then they’ll pick the other two. But in reality, it looks like they have the final say over the entire team, according to the official rules.

“One Player will be selected by Blizzard as the Captain of his/her National team and can suggest two additional Players for Blizzard’s consideration for his/her National Team. Thereafter, Blizzard then may invite six (6) Players at its discretion to form a team to represent that particular Eligible Country to compete in the Tournament … Blizzard shall also designate the captain of each National Team from the players that Blizzard selects to compete on a National Team.”

Importantly, those rules state that the public is voting on who they would “recommend” go through. So, really, it’s not a vote, it’s a recommendation.

But then everyone dukes it out in a big international rumble, right! Well, no. They don’t. Because, as we previously pointed out, the United States, Canada, Brazil, China, South Korea and Team ANZ (a joint team made up of Australia & New Zealand) will all go through to the top 16 finals automatically. All the other countries will duke it out for their place at the table.

This rather odd arrangement is due to “a variety of factors, including server locations, regional infrastructure and connectivity, and other geographical considerations,” says Blizzard.

There’s no suggestion that this is any purposeful attempt at making the competition uneven. It’s just that whatever these “geograpical considerations” are, Blizzard isn’t telling us. It might be ridiculously complicated networking issues – but if that is the case, why does it affect the finals, when everyone will be in the same country, nay, the same building – at BlizzCon? Were any alternative competition methods considered? We’ve pinged them for an answer and will let you know if we get one.

In the mean time, you can still exercise your (ultimately non-binding) rights by “voting” for your favourite players. I just picked my four according to the characters they main. It’ll be a very tanky UK team if I get my way.


  1. Baines says:

    Like I said before, the only consideration Blizzard has is what will make them the most money. It has nothing to do with server locations or regional infrastructure, beyond how much money any particular region can make for Blizzard. Blizzard has pegged a number of countries that it wants to guarantee make the finals, leaving nothing to chance.

    Similar goes for the teams. Blizzard wants it to look like it is some kind of player choice, but they aren’t going to leave any chance that some joke team gets created. They aren’t even going to leave it to chance that fans vote a poorly meshed team. The voting four out of six gives them a bit more leeway to make it look like they are listening to voters. But teams are going to come down to what the team captain and Blizzard itself decides.

    • Haxton Fale says:

      Like I said before, the only consideration Blizzard has is what will make them the most money.

      It feels like they’re pulling all the brakes with Overwatch, considering this and the current event’s lootboxes

  2. Boothie says:

    never been one to follow esport as it is but this killed any chance of me watching this. The amount of micromanaging that blizzard is doing is fucking ridiculous.

  3. Makaze says:

    You may as well call this the BoatyMcBoatface clause. It’s pretty boiler plate in virtually anything that involves online voting these days thanks to rampant cheating and the popularity of joke candidates.

    As far as the byes countries are getting into the cup well… the entire exercise only exists as a marketing tool. So it makes perfect sense that they would make sure that marketing has the greatest impact in countries that can you know… actually afford their product. The alternative is likely not having a cup at all.

  4. Rindan says:

    I find the whole concept to be kind of strange. Overwatch is very much a team game. Why are they picking individual players to throw together on some random team? Wouldn’t it be vastly superior to have teams compete in regional matches, and then have those winners go play an international matches? It is like they feel a need to recreate the Olympics structure instead of that of an actually competitive sport. I just don’t think it is going to work as well. The result is going to be people who are just not as good, if for no other reason than that they are playing a team game with people that are not their regular teammates.

    • Haxton Fale says:

      I suspect the fact that other teams are in the same boat serves to sort of level the playing field. Tournaments where you go as a team are dime a dozen, whereas this seems like a new format they might be trying out.

    • Zankman says:

      There are no National Teams yet, that is the issue…

      Unless they organize those (acting as a governing body) and get NT competition going on throughout the year, an actually functional system like you suggest can’t exist.

      But they don’t care about that, tho; they are just making a World Cup for the sake of marketing and exposure.

    • KevinLew says:

      This whole “World Cup” thing doesn’t make any sense to me either. I don’t understand why Blizzard just doesn’t make an “All-Star Game” where you can just vote for your favorite pro players and Youtube/Twitch gamers, and it would just be an exhibition match. It would be more about BlizzCon attendees meeting their favorite gamer in person. To me, this seems like a bigger selling point than trying to stir up national pride on a FPS game.

      Maybe I’m just a giant cynic, but I keep suspecting Blizzard is only doing this to create loot drops tied to this event which can only be obtained with real-world money.

    • Baines says:

      Theoretically, you can at least throw together a dream team of best players. That, for example, is what you might have in Olympics basketball. Well, what you’d have had if the best NBA players actually cared about winning Olympic gold in basketball, which is probably slightly above how much they care about winning a D-League tournament.

  5. whodafug says:

    So the public isn’t deciding, but simply recommending? Brexit vote, all over again D;

  6. WarSpiritUK says:

    Hi guys, I’m lucky enough to be one of the nominees for Team UK. Would really appreciate any votes you could give me, vote for WarSpiritUK! Every single vote is super important. Thanks very much.