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New Kanezaka Map & Kanezaka Challenge

The new Deathmatch map, Kanezaka, hit the live servers this week, along with balance changes to four heroes, and a new challenge with a skin reward for Hanzo.

“Near” Hanamura, you can actually see the temple in the distance in some areas, the new map is a combination of older Japan and the new, from a pottery shop, a cat cafe, a mall, and temple. It’s a very beautiful map that I’ll rarely see because I don’t play Deathmatch much.

Ashe, Hanzo, Sigma, and Wrecking Ball all received some adjustments in this patch.

  • Ashe - Her scoped damage was reduced but she can fire faster.
  • Hanzo - He can fire his Storm Arrows slightly faster each. Like 0.05 of a second faster.
  • Sigma - The speed at which he can redeploy his barrier has more than doubled, massively nerfing him.
  • Wrecking Ball - He gets less shield strength per nearby enemy when using Adaptive Shield.

See the patch notes for the full figures.

Finally, until January 25, you can complete the Kanezaka Challenge in-game to get rewards such as a new skin for Hanzo, or get rewards from watching ANY Overwatch stream for a cumulative total of 2, 4, and 6 hours. Check out the Blizzard website for more information.

OWL 2021 Details Released

In a video released this week, OWL Vice President Jon Spector announced many new details about the 2021 Overwatch League season.

The season begins in April, there will be four tournaments where teams from both regions will play against each other. Before each tournament, teams will play four qualifier matches within their region to first see if they will make it into the tournament and what their seed will be.

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For the top games of the tournaments, OWL is looking into the possibility of sending teams from the West Division to Hawaii to play on a specific Asia/Hawaii connection to help improve latency. This isn’t confirmed to be happening yet, but was mentioned as something they are specifically looking into.

Should it become safe again, OWL is hoping to have live events again to play in front of fans. Spector said this is probably a longshot, but they’re hoping it can come true.

With regards to streaming, there will be more details at a later date, but what we know now is that will be improvements and changes to: the virtual studio, the show’s format, the viewership rewards program, and the discoverability of the broadcasts.

Over the past month or so, many teams have announced where they would be playing this season. Here is the final list:

East Division * Chengdu Hunters * Guangzhou Charge * Hangzhou Spark * LA Valiant * NYXL * Philadelphia Fusion * Shanghai Dragons * Seoul Dynasty

West Division * Atlanta Reign * Boston Uprising * Dallas Fuel * Florida Mayhem * Houston Outlaws * London Spitfire * LA Gladiators * Paris Eternal * Vancouver Titans * Toronto Defiant * Washington Justice

Miscellaneous Esports News

  • The Kanezaka 4v4 Deathmatch Community Tournament was announced. It takes place between January 22-24, and signups last until January 21. The finals will be broadcast by OWL. (details)
  • Shanghai, Seoul, Guangzhou, and Dallas are all taking part in the NeXT Cup 2021 beginning on January 23. (source)
  • London Spitfire have announced their roster, bringing in most of their Academy team, British Hurricane. (announcement)
  • Sideshow and Bren now both live in Austin, Texas. (source)
  • ANS (SF Shock) has retired from OW. (source)
  • im37 (Boston Uprising) held an AMA on Reddit. (source)

Miscellaneous

  • A small patch hit the PTR that, the Replay Viewer, allows for small increments of speed (from 0.10x to 1.00x); you can pause from the Escape screen in Custom maps; there is a new ‘New’ filter in the Player Icon area, and the sound for boosted damage has been altered. I haven’t been able to grab a recording of this audio because I didn’t have the patience to wait 10+ minutes in the healer queue on the PTR.
  • Uber’s family welcomed their child to the world. (source)
  • Mr. X has become Sr. Manager of Product and Content at Activision Blizzard, working across the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League. He’ll still be on the broadcast team. (source)