Free weekend returns to Overwatch.

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If you’ve been trying to get your friends into Overwatch, this is the weekend to do it! It begins on Friday, February 16 and lasts through Monday, February 19. Months back we created a guide to help brand new players AND to that helps you help your friends through their first few games of Overwatch.

Don’t forget to show your friend how Overbuff works and show them the new Compare tool!

London Spitfire win Stage 1 of the OWL.

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In an exciting match to end a 14-hour stream, the London Spitfire defeated NYXL in a reverse-sweep, and secured a US$100,000 prize for their team.

Going into Saturday, London needed a win against NYXL early in the day to be ranked first place for the playoffs that night, but they lost 2-3, which allowed NYXL to take that place instead.

Knocked into second place, London had to fight the third place Houston Outlaws in a semifinals match that would determine who would face the team from New York. Losing decisively on the first map, London pulled out all the stops and completely shut down the Outlaws in the remainder of the matchup, winning 3-1, meaning they would face NYXL yet again in the finals.

Playing an unprecedented third time in one day, down after two maps, the Spitfire rallied to win 3-2. It was a long day, but very enjoyable to watch.

OWL schedule changes.

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After such a long stream that was the final day of Stage 1, Blizzard announced changes that would affect the schedule during Stage 2.

  • Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday games will all begin at 4pm Pacific (00:00 UTC).

  • Saturday games will begin at 1pm Pacific (21:00 UTC).

  • Stage Finals will now be played on the Sunday after the last week of Stage games, and begin at 1pm Pacific (21:00 UTC).

While the original times have never been great for Europe to watch live, these schedule changes have upset even more followers. Watching later is always an option, but there’s something different about being able to watch as it happens. Maybe when OWL expands to more European teams next season, times will change yet again.

Developer Update on PTR hero changes.

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Just before the PTR updated on Wednesday, a new Developer Update video detailing upcoming changes was released. This new update gave reasons behind some upcoming changes for Doomfist, Mei, and Sombra, but also discusses a few others that haven’t been changed yet but may soon.

In summary, Doomfist’s Hand Cannon will recharge quicker, Mei will Freeze enemies for longer, and Sombra’s Hack is becoming faster and more powerful, but her ultimate will no longer charge from use of hacked health packs. If it goes live, this new version of Hack will stop even more enemy abilities, such as Genji’s Double Jump or Pharah’s Hover Jets.

Jeff also covered some things they tried to modify or replace Scatter Arrow, but ultimately didn’t like. These same attempts were described by Geoff Goodman last week on the forums. After the Developer Update, which also mentioned they’re looking at giving Hanzo a rapid-fire ability and a disengage button, Goodman made a post giving more detail on these two new abilities and even gave them names, Volley and Lunge respectively. No word yet on when these changes will go live, if at all.

Lastly, Jeff mentioned that they’re still brainstorming on Symmetra and Torbjorn, but provided no details.

Overwatch Contenders relaunch begins; some teams announced.

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Overwatch Contenders, the sort of minor leagues of Overwatch, relaunched their website and branding this week, using Genji and green as their mascot and color scheme. Along with the new website came a number of announcements regarding the league.

Season 1 of the Open Division ended this past Sunday, February 11, and a number of top teams from each region have been invited into Contenders Trials, a three-week tournament that allows victors a chance to compete in Contenders once it begins on March 11.

A few OWL teams have also taken this opportunity to reveal their own Contenders teams built up through the Academy system. The Shanghai Dragons’s Team CC and Philadelphia’s Fusion University were previously announced in January, but new this week are the British Hurricane, made up of PIT Season 2 champions, Those Guys, and the Gladiators Legion were revealed, along with their rosters.

You can see Contenders teams from your region here.

Notable News

  • Lucio discovered he can stop, will stop in Capture the Flag earlier this week when he was patched so that if he attempts to Wall Ride while carrying the flag, he will immediately drop it. This makes scenes such as this a thing of the past.

Roster Changes

  • Shanghai Dragons picked up Geguri (flex), Sky (support), Fearless (tank), and Ado (DPS).

  • Florida Mayhem picked up Sayaplayer (DPS) and aWesomeGuy (tank).

  • Dallas Fuel picked up aKm (DPS).

  • Dallas Fuel are in talks to acquire Rascal (DPS) from London Spitfire.

  • Rumor: LA Gladiators are looking to acquire Fissure from the London Spitfire.

Where to Watch

  • This weekend, the Tespa Collegiate series will be broadcasting on Overwatch’s Twitch account beginning Saturday, February 17 at 2:00 pm Pacific (23:00 UTC).