Want Australia to be represented in the Overwatch World Cup later this year? Then you'd better be in the top 100, because from today Blizzard will be comparing the top 100 players from every country against each other.
In a post on the official site, Blizzard announced that the Overwatch World Cup exhibition tournament would return, starting from this month. Most importantly, the developer revealed that they would begin tracking the top 100 players from every nation as of today, using that to build an average rating for each country to pick which 32 countries should be represented:
Starting today, we will begin tracking the skill ratings of the top 100 players from every country to determine each country’s average rating. Then, in April, we’ll use those average ratings to identify which 32 countries from around the world have the most skilled players. These countries will move on to our live qualifiers (detailed below) where they will battle in groups of eight for a chance to compete on the BlizzCon 2017 stage.
That means if you're one of the top players in an eligible country, you can help your nation secure a spot in this year's tournament by bringing your best to Competitive Play.
Last year's teams were partially chosen by public vote, so this is at least a fairer and more skill-based way of doing things. There is the small problem that not every country has a level playing field, instances where the nearest Overwatch servers are located in another country. Blizzard didn't say whether it would take that into account, but that's more an issue for Southeast Asian countries, not Australia or New Zealand.
And as it stands, Australia will qualify without too much trouble. At the time of writing, here's the current average skill rankings for each Overwatch nation:
For those in New Zealand, you'll want to work a bit harder: the Kiwis are ranked just outside the bracket at #33, 10 points beneath the United Arab Emirates. The rankings are pretty interesting overall though: there haven't been too many times where Japan was ranked above Australia in a first-person shooter, Israel being above several European nations is a bit of a coup, and Ukraine all the way down at #37 is a surprise given that country's long history in Counter-Strike and PC games in general.
Once the top 32 teams are picked at the end of April, Blizzard will form a selection committee for each of the nations involved. That committee will contain ten nominees who can suggest lineups and roster picks for all stages of the competition. The public will also get to vote from this point on the specific players they want to play.
The top 32 teams will be decided in just over three weeks from now. You can refresh the worldwide rankings over on the official website, while catching up on the rest of the process. It should be fun - and with a bit of luck, hopefully Australia can climb into the top 10. (Seeding matters, after all.)