One of the big selling points for catching live Overwatch League matches on Twitch during the first two seasons was the ability to earn OWL tokens. These can be used to buy league-themed skins, including ones with team colors, in Overwatch. Following last year’s move to YouTube, these rewards were unavailable for a while before Blizzard brought them back on the OWL app and website.
This year, though, you can claim tokens by watching on YouTube directly. You’ll typically earn five tokens per viewing hour. There may be occasional double-token promotions.
The OWL token rewards start with this weekend’s Experimental Card Tournament. You’ll need to link your Blizzard and YouTube accounts to earn tokens from the Overwatch League YouTube channel. This is a great upgrade for people who prefer to watch on the likes of smart TVs rather than their phone or computer, and it makes earning tokens a bit easier.
That’s not all, as you’ll be able to claim viewership rewards from encore replays. OWL officials will run such replays of 24 matches in which New York Excelsior, Philadelphia Fusion, and Los Angeles Valiant are competing. Although they represent North American cities, they’re based in the Asia-Pacific (or East) region this year. The replays will air at more palatable times for North American viewers — each encore broadcast will start at 9:30am PT.
There are also special OWL skins up for grabs if you watch four hours of live matches during each of the four tournaments, starting with the May Melee on May 7. If you earn those skins, you’ll unlock a community-designed spray too.
You’ll have more ways to spend tokens this year, such as the 2020 OWL championship and MVP skins, a couple of legendary skins that will hit the store tomorrow and sprays, including an Opening Week one designed by host Soe “Soembie” Gschwind.
Meanwhile, there are big changes on the way to the actual broadcasts. For the first time, Overwatch League matches will stream in 4K. Perhaps you’ll see some players getting caught (out of position) in 4K.
Player cams will be more present during the 2021 season. When you see action from a player’s perspective, you’ll usually see their camera feed too. On top of that, OWL officials plan to bring live player comms into broadcasts at certain points.
With YouTube’s Twitch-style clips feature, you’ll be able to clip and share snippets lasting up to 60 seconds from matches. Blizzard has also created a new virtual set and updated its graphics for the broadcasts. As for the OWL website, there’s a score ticker and a spoiler free-mode that should go live at the start of the season.
These are all strong changes, which should make the broadcasts even better this year. It’s a little disappointing that there’s no All-Access Pass like Blizzard and Twitch offered in season two, which allowed viewers to switch between player perspectives whenever they like.