TU’s E-Sports team elevates recreation to competition

Among TU’s fastest growing organizations is undoubtedly the E-sports team. Last year they sent a single team to a tournament of the multiplayer online battle arena League of Legends. Since then, they’ve expanded to Defense of the Ancients (Dota) 2 (of the same genre), and currently sponsor four teams, participating in Divisions 1 and 2 for both titles.

In events featuring Dota 2, TU’s team is as-of-yet undefeated and, according to Thomas Littlejohn, the team’s coordinator, they hope to remain that way.

In the Collegiate Star League, in which the team competes, there are over 140 teams hosting Dota 2. For League of Legends, there are over 300 competitive teams.

Against these odds, the team already has their sights set on an international tournament to crown themselves the best collegiate e-Sports team in the league. Last year’s Dota 2 and League winners were UC Berkeley and the University of British Columbia. The teams have already begun practicing (a joyless task, I’m sure) for this and other competitions.

Besides the official TU club, another E-sports team representing our university has formed on campus. Its focus is not on League or Dota, but is instead directed towards Hearthstone, a free-to-play online card-collecting game. They are also undefeated in their craft and currently number one in the North American region.

E-sports is a rapidly growing phenomena around the world. These events have seen an exceptional growth in popularity over the last decade and a half, especially in Korea, where extensive construction of broadband internet networks might have accelerated the trade’s transformation to professionalism.

At the turn of the century, real time strategy games such as Starcraft and Warcraft 3, the former of whose sequel remains highly popular today, were televised internationally. Now most gaming competitions are streamed via online services such as Twitch, which recorded 4.5 million individual views in a single day during The International, an annual Dota 2 tournament.

The International had a prize pool of 18 million dollars last year. The prize-pool was subsidized by players of the game through in-game purchases. This, however, is not always as the case, as prize money is often funded by sponsors or companies hoping to promote their game through lively competition.

Straying from this assortment of top-down real time strategy and multiplayer online battle arena games is the fighting game community (anachronistic to fgc). Here the prominent features are titles such as Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the Street Fighter series, and lesser-knowns such as Blazblue and King of FIghters.

Each year, a completely open tournament known as the Evolution Championship (evo) is held, which began in 1996 with Street Fighter 2 Turbo and Street Fighter Alpha 2 tournaments in an event known as “Battle by the Bay.”

This year, as in years prior, the event will feature hefty monetary rewards for the winners, such as the 30,000 dollars available to the winner of the Tekken 7 tournament.

Back on campus, the E-Sports club hopes to broaden its range to fighters such as Mortal Kombat X and even Super Smash Bros. Beyond this, they also hope to incorporate shooters such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

For anyone hoping to participate in or at least learn more about the club, Lan events are frequently held (the next being October 30), in which players can compete in teams with varying levels of skill. You can also contact the team through its email, tu.esports@gmail.com.

Post Author: tucollegian

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