Welcome to eSports Weekly, your latest on the eSports scene (and yes, every week this different. It’s how I roll).
So Bungie dropped their latest Overwatch themed event, this time focusing on the greatest holiday of them all that isn’t actually a holiday (well, depending on when you’re from). It did get me thinking, why didn’t Bungie involve the new skins and custom level designs for Halloween into a special tournament event. Imagine if the many rules associated with certain special events are dropped into a special once off, forcing teams to use particular characters or upping the speed, etc. In the case of Halloween, it would have been fun to see Cloud 9 suddenly become all Reapers just for a laugh.
We take eSports so seriously lately, every week there’s big money on the table and teams flying just about everywhere and training every day. It feels like an off-season is an appropriate thing to consider, just to keep every player sane. Themed events like Overwatch’s Halloween are obviously created to have players spend more money on unique in-game items, of course, but it’s also a chance to add some much needed diversity, something unique for long time players to have a little fun with or get back into the experience. Take that kind of moment and throw it into an eSports situation, that’s what I’d like to see.
Speaking of which, remember when I was talking about the NanYang Dota 2 Championships on board a cruise ship? Well it’s been happening across the weekend, with Wings Gaming, Newbee, iG Vitality and Invictus Gaming all challenging each other in the middle of the Sapphire Princess cruise ship. There’s still money on the table, but that’s the kind of unique experience I’m talking about, not just for viewers but for the players themselves.
Burn out can come thick and fast, it’s why I’m so amazed NBA players can play four or five games within a week of each other. But the stamina of playing a video game over and over again takes a different kind of tole, which is even more impressive. You might think players just link up on the day and play their hearts out, but the reality is far different. Almost every waking moment is spent practising, working on a strategy that works for the competition, aiming to improve on your previous results. It can be a challenge in itself to train, let alone stand up on stage in front of a few hundred or thousand fans and compete at a high level on a consistent basis.
Upon reflection, we seem to take eSports teams for granted. Just like real sports, we criticise and praise each team as they go through their paces, no matter the game they play. But we rarely stop to take in what it actually means to play these games, to compete at a high level or to have the pressure of performance determine your livelihood. For many players, this is it for them. They’ve left whatever career they may have had lined up and put it all on the line. It’s much the same vein as becoming a YouTuber or Twitch streamer, it’s the risks we take to make a living out of the things we love. But for eSports, the pressure mounts with every win and every loss, it’s a unique situation that many may never get to feel.
So the next time you go watching a League of Legends, Hearthstone or Street Fighter, just remember that the players competing are putting in one hell of an effort, even if it’s just to make it to a tournament itself.