Gather around summoners because we are half way through Riot’s Season 3 Championship series. While I am not the biggest fan of any of any one professional League of Legends teams or the individual professional players, I have been following the official US/EU summer split steams.
Those League of Legends streams acted as the gateway for me to get interested and watch other professional e-sport matches, whether it be Team Fortress 2 and StarCraft 2 matches or the Pokemon World Championship series or the Dota 2 International series (which surprisingly both took place last weekend).
Whether I was watching an intense match of shooting people in bright hats, a game of science fiction Real Time Strategy or the turn based pocket monster games I just was not satisfying the itch that I got whenever I watched a proper Action Real Time Strategy (A.R.T.S) match like League or Dota 2.
With the raising popularity of eSports I think we will see A.R.T.S games take the lead and clear the pathway for professional, competitive players of different games to be recognized by the general population.I make this claim because both League and Dota 2 hits the trifecta of what makes a IRL sports, like Football, Baseball, and Soccer, so enjoyable to watch, both of these eSports are team focused, offers the right about of strategy and action in a given match and they are created in such a way that the fans at home get to see everything that is going on in the battlefield.
The various teams acts as a common interest in the gaming community, a way to get people to bond over something and create some rivalry between the fans in matches, just like the conflicts between the fans of the Red Sox and Yankees or between the two US political parties. From my experience it is easier to lend support to the idea of a team than supporting a single player.
But beyond the teams, League of Legends, Dota 2, and all other A.R.T.S brings that special balance of action and strategy to the game. In the professional games there are plenty of wonderful players and team fights to get the viewers at home excited and interested and gets the crowd going at their live events. On the flip side, after every play, team-fight and match there are sports/shoutcasters that are able to dissects, analyse and provide play-by-plays on exactly what happened . While the action is what draws people in and what makes a proper turn based strategy tournament game like Pokemon games a bit tough to sit through if you do not know all of the optimized move sets off the top of your head.
But most importantly of all in an A.R.T.S match that trumps all others in how the spectators can see everything that is happening on the map in real-time, just like how professional IRL Sports are viewed.
I recently watched a documentary of a TF2 Lan that showcased a match between the best TF2 teams in the US and EU and while it went into the background of the players the documentary also showed a bit of the game that was broadcast in front of an auditorium full of fans and it was all fast passed with it’s fair share of action I just could not get into it because you could only watch the game from either the individual player’s perspective or from a fixed camera points around the map. There was no roaming, and to pan left or right on the map, now compare that to the ability that League and Dota 2 has of giving the fans a bird’s-eye view of the map to see what every player is doing on the field that gives us a strategic advantage over the best in the world. And while a team set up a trap at one of the key objective in a game is entertaining to watch, there is just as much value to be had seeing all the pieces be set in place, from both sides get set up and fall the way it does.
With the growing popularity it would not be foolish to think that in a few years the both Riot’s and Valve’s tournament might draw an audience outside of the gamer niche and appears in the T.V cable sport channels and pave the way for the more obscure professional gamer, like BOILeR tournaments, to be recognized, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an eESPN channel by the end of this decade.
But I want to know what you think, do you follow any professional eSports events, if so which ones? Do you think there is a chance all or any professional videogame gamers to be recognized by the sporting society? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear what you think.
Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays