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The Brisvegas LAN #6

The Brisvegas LAN #6

As the year rolls towards its close, it was time for another event from the Australian esport icon “Daniel ‘Mavrick’ Lang”, and it was iteration 6 of the Brisvegas LAN. These events have been a staple to the players in the South-East Queensland region with many known and unknown talents visiting and participating.

8 teams in two groups with a round robin format, all best of ones and a single elimination playoff bracket. Players such as Doom, Stat, YDNA, and llamas were competing as was the Emprox lineup that is competition in various leagues such as the Instafrag Advanced League Season 1. But it didn’t stop with just these players; Grayhound player Dickstacy visited, even casting a couple games along with Taffy from Renegades’ content team as well as journalist and analyst, Max Melit. Of course, the usual production team was at work, courtesy of QUT eSports with the guidance of Mavrick.

Group A

Group B

Due to time constraints, half of the tournament was run off-stream simultaneous to the other half. This allowed for the whole event to be held in a single day. In both groups A and B, one team powered through winning all 3 of their games. This was Ferraripeek in Group A and Poggers in Group B, whom both looked quite formidable within each of their games. In each of their semi-final games, Ferraripeek and Poggers were able to close out their games in a quick 2-0 fashion and the two met in the grand final. This final best of three certainly delivered, going into all three maps and additionally offered a small narrative in how Poggers dominated on the first map but the second map was incredibly close going the full 30 rounds and Ferraripeek pushed Poggers on the third map and closed it out 16 – 13 and wrapping up a true nail-biter series.

Playoffs Bracket

This short summary of the finals doesn’t do the event justice and anyone who has been within a LAN environment would agree. Mix LAN events like these had the teams forced to play a loose and puggy style of Counter-Strike. Of course, this style is very exciting to watch and can be very back and forward with so much potential for individual plays and brilliance, perhaps why these events are so riveting to spectate and be a part of. Looking outside of the games the LAN offered more than just some exciting CS. A buffet of content was produced, even just going back through the VODs will provide many laughs and interesting details of the LAN, talents who were involved and some insight into more general concepts and strategies in the game.

For anyone who follows the CS:GO community might have also seen a post on the GlobalOffensive subreddit that performed very well and was received very well. The ability for a small one-day event like this to be so memorable says a lot about the community that makes it and the passion of those involved in any regard. Furthermore, it builds on a series of LANs from both Mavrick and QUT eSports and this enables future events to be held.

A post on Reddit about the event gained traction

Again, it was great to see another event at the QUT eSports Arena which has opened up a lot of potential in Brisbane for LAN events across many games and if you haven’t, it’s worth checking out the space. And with another Brisvegas LAN wrapped up, it will be exciting to see what the next CS event will be from the QUT esports team.

Check out the photos, courtesy of dfragtv
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Defining ‘Esport’

Defining ‘Esport’

Continually growing, there is a machine with millions of parts, each just as important as the other. It is building something great; a large, exciting spectacle for all to enjoy in some way. This machine is ‘esport’. It is a part of society that has perhaps been lurking for years now but has been innovating and breaking out into mainstream media, gaining attention more and more each day. Understanding what esport is, how it works, its intricacies and nuances is a detailed machine with millions of impossibly broad parts. Despite this, there are broader concepts and explanations of esport that serve useful for anyone curious about this industry that’s here to stay. Through breaking down some of the most critical and core aspects and then making a comparison to more mainstream concepts of a similar vein, it will begin to help rationalise esport. Thus, outlining the relevance of the industry today, its impact so far and where it’s heading in the future.

 

Esport exists in a very fluid state, meaning the landscape is constantly changing and adapting to external factors. With this being said, there is also an element of esport that is consistent through these adaptations, which is its competitive nature. It is a competitive discipline, whether it is two individuals or two teams against each other, there will be an outcome that brings a winner. Notable games that have been a part of esport for many years and have a large audience behind it include DOTA2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch and Call of Duty. Each represents unique subsection of a greater community online. Within these games, team play and individualistic skills become apparent and in both physical and mental ways – whether this is how a player interacts to information being communicated or reacting mechanically to something happening on their screen. Ensuring there is a fanbase and audience behind an esport title is crucial for an array of reasons. It drives viewership analytics, which is used to gain sponsorships and to evaluate the success of an event. It also encourages a player base for the respective games, that is the group of people who own and actively play the specific game. Viewership is a large aspect of broadcasting esport titles, where these days, tournament organisers such as ELEAGUE have pushed for games and events to run on TBS and other television stations. Of course, this is associated with being an approach that traditional sport would take, hence frequent comparisons between the two.

The Crowd from IEM Sydney

In order to rationalise esport being the new and exciting spectacle, it is often compared to traditional sport. Despite contrasting timelines of operation, funding and audience sizes among other factors that gauges success and longevity, esport mirrors aspects of traditional sport that act as points when discussing and defining esport. A key similarity is the existence of many ‘codes’ of esport; akin to all varieties and codes of a sport such as the NFL, Football (Soccer) and the NBA. The titles in esport include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), League of Legends and DOTA2 and they all share foundational similarities to traditional sports. To elaborate, much like how NFL is taken one play at a time, CS:GO is played as a ‘best of 30’ rounds, one round at a time with a defensive and offensive team. Elements of League of Legends can be seen in a football game through team play, endurance and momentum over the course of a more drawn out single ‘round’ or game. Ever apparent are the aspects that are shared between these competitive disciplines but is reflective of the nature of such. Skeptics doubt the cerebral aspects of esport despite it clearly demonstrating the necessity of both mechanical skills and intellectual ability. Strategy exists in many forms. Whether it is a team style or system of play, an in-game strategy designed to take advantage of another team or aspect of the game, the general metagame apparent at that time or simply understanding the habits of exceptional players and their decision-making processes in X and Y scenarios. Such has prompted coaches and analysts within teams to break down the abundance of data and information present, as well as reports and breakdown analysis for the general public; further validating this aspect of esport. Whilst the in-game characteristics are important to draw connections, as are the players. Stars like Shaquille O’Neal, Christiano Ronaldo and Roger Federer both define the peak but sometimes represent something larger than the game they play. Figures who stand tall and push the limits of their game are integral to building the viewership and raising the skill ceiling, they are players like Olofmeister, Dendi and Faker; each iconic and renowned for their ability to make the impossible, possible. They make the game memorable and serve as symbols for viewers and audiences to get behind – similar to the stars of other sports; who like Shaquille O’Neal are even getting behind esport these days supporting teams and events.

Check out this Advertisement from ELEAGUE – Starring Shaquille O’Neal

As the industry continues to grow globally, its relevance to society is increasingly present. Considering Shaquille O’Neal is not only involved but also financially invested in esport among other people and organisations such as Marshawn Lynch, Steve Aoki, the Golden State Warriors, and Coca-Cola. Investments like these give validity to esport having a future in addition to establishing a better scene now. With the continual growth of events in terms of production as well as the inclusion of more countries, the audience and viewership potential are climbing into the hundreds of thousands and occasionally millions. Esport is able to achieve this through how it incorporates technology and competition along with mental and physical ability, similar to sport but in a way that appeals to younger audiences who make up the bulk of esport audiences. Through its ability to drive a narrative and promote competition in the same way sports do, esports not only integrates technology but does so in a way that reflects what the younger generations are seeking. This is the key behind not only why esport is relevant in society today but how it will have an impact in the future as it continues to grow.

 

The esport machine is growing each and every day, it is apparent the factors that contribute to this. Understanding the fundamentals of the esports industry and how they mirror traditional sports works as a means of rationalising it linked with insight on the relevance of the industry today and going forward in the next few years. Thus, defining esport, but in another sense, this piece should stimulate thought for esport and encourage anyone to look further into the industry.

Images: ESL

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Getting the most out of QUT eSports

Getting the most out of QUT eSports

As esport proceeds to boom, continual support for the industry is apparent. QUT eSports is leading the national charge with its esport program and brand new ‘arena’ facilities. As other universities begin to follow suit, the QUT program has set the standards and continues to deliver in all aspects, whether for esport fanatics, for general gamers or for those looking to learn more about the industry or perhaps pursue research in the field. Regardless, QUT eSports has a lot to offer regardless of who you are, and this is a guide to how to get the most out of it.

This program is all about esports; that is, the pursuit of playing video games competitively. QUT eSports facilitates this in an array of ways, through training, access to competition and also events. In terms of training, a selection of the most popular and most played esport titles are offered. These training sessions are held in the arena where players are offered insight into aspects of the game to take their play to higher levels. In order to further develop and hone in such skills and practice, access to various competitions such as the AEL are on offer. These opportunities act as more practical grounds for players to test their abilities outside of training as well as have other players and organisations involved, which assists in developing the scene at a broader scale. In addition to dedicated training and competitive platforms, QUT eSports holds events that incorporate aspects of developing skill, facilitating a ground for competition but most importantly enabling community engagement. This is exemplified through an open LAN event that was run at the arena in early August, where all these aspects came together. An important part of developing a local grassroots scene are events like these and this has been proven overseas already.

Semester 2 2018 Training Schedule

Of course, while these competitive pursuits are an important aspect of esport, the wider community of more general and casual gamers are just as crucial to a growing scene. As an extension of how the program contributes towards the community, this is even more evident for any casual gamers involved. The community is critical as it defines the majority of people involved in the program, so ensuring these people are catered to are important to the ongoing success of QUT eSports.

“Community is at the crux of the QUT eSports program. Without it, we would not have a reason to start let along have been running this entire time. We put a large emphasis on looking after our community through support, general activities and even when designing our new arena space. What is also great is; through being a part of the community you can hone your competitive skills or pursue research and academic endeavours as well. I hope more people visit and learn a bit more about us because we’re open to everybody, not just QUT students and staff, and we’re very welcoming not matter who you are!” – Jess Occhi (QUT eSports Staff)

The QUT eSports arena is a space that was built for the community and acts as the hub of the program, being the place to play games, meetup, socialize and so forth. There are many things available to gamers and casual fans that reaffirm all aforementioned ideas which are array of games, high-quality PC’s and equipment, a space designed with consideration to community engagement and a group of staff who are involved and welcoming.

A perhaps less discussed aspect of QUT eSports is in the value it offers for academics and those who aren’t as familiar with esport and gaming. Considering the growth that has been occurring in the industry, now is one of the most critical times for both more supporters and fans but also academic research and formal understanding. Regarding the group of people who aren’t as familiar with esport, QUT eSports is set up to educate and have anyone get involved. Whether this is to learn about the games themselves or learn to have an appreciation for the competitive discipline and all the effort and sacrifices that go into a career in esport– the team is able and willing to facilitate this. Esport as an emerging industry is prone to be misunderstood. And something that Michael Trotter and Dylan Poulus (Founders of the program) prioritise is ensuring that there is backing from researchers and academics for the validity in the industry, which can be and has been done in a myriad of unique fields. Business, Psychology, Media and IT among others all have a role and are components that influence how esport develops. Due to the nature of esport, it is a very exciting and highly engaging industry, comparable to traditional sports with large stadium events, international broadcasts, and multimillion-dollar sponsorship deals. While it might not be for everyone in this regard, it is certainly something to acknowledge and have a basic understanding of, which QUT eSports proudly can facilitate.

QUT eSports is a program that is about all things esport. As this industry continues to grow nationally and internationally, there has never been a better time to get involved, learn all about it and to keep a tab on all the unique aspects arriving each day. Get in touch with QUT eSports online by reaching out on Facebook/Twitter or in person with a visit to the Arena in X-Block at QUT Gardens Point.

 

Ashley Whyte – Twitter: Uncle_Shhlee

 

 

 

Traditional Sport VS Esport: Apples VS Oranges

Traditional Sport VS Esport: Apples VS Oranges

Gamers or Athletes? Faze win IEM Sydney 2018 – Credit: ESL

To compare traditional sport to esport is like comparing apples to oranges. Each is unique, with many varieties and some people prefer one to the other. However they are both fruit, rather they are both competitive disciplines with large-scale events, massive prize pools, and huge communities. Whilst the debate as to whether esport is legitimate, whether it is a sport and so forth continues, perhaps it’s not about looking the justify whether esport fits in with traditional sport. Instead, that esport is a fully functioning industry which has many parallels to traditional sport. These links are evident in how competition is run through to how organisations brand themselves and sell merchandise. It will become very apparent the differences but also common ground between the two and this will outline why comparing the two is not the right way to approach esport. Esport is new and exciting, ready for the mainstream and is here to stay.

In traditional sport we often associate with our local and national teams, following maybe a couple of different leagues and codes at differing levels. For example, some people may support the Golden State Warriors, who play in the NBA. They also follow the college leagues and occasionally tune into some MLB during the offseason. Of course, traditional sports culture is so ingrained in society, it can be easy to not appreciate the extensive nature of it all. Esport isn’t as far away from this as people would believe; featuring teams at local levels such as teams that play in the AEL where QUT eSport has teams. Looking a little broader, we see teams such as Renegades (Counter-Strike) who have been the flagship Australian team who have been competing internationally for some years now. In terms of broadcasts, the viewing experience parallels mainstream sports media, with improvements that are designed to effectively reach esports fans. Most esport events are an international spectacle, streams and broadcasts are available globally and typically for free. This is just in terms of access internationally, of course, physical attendance to these events is very popular with Australia’s IEM Sydney attracting 7,500 attendees each day this year in May, but internationally these events pull much larger crowds. Overall how esport relates to traditional sport is very clear, but at the same time, esport is also a niche.

 

TBS Presenting ELEAGUE – Credit: TBS

At the end of the day, esport and sport can be compared, but they are not a like comparison. When the questions such as; “Is this a real sport?” or “Are professional gamers athletes?” arise, the industry responds that we are not like traditional sport and are our own community. Of course, due to vast overlaps, these comparisons will surely continue but esport offers many unique things to its audience. As a whole, it is able to break down barriers in terms of accessibility because we can all play games and there is always a game for us. In the major sports leagues such as the NBA and NFL, there is gender exclusivity in that men and women compete separately. But in many esports such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike, players such as ‘Remilia’ and ‘Juliano’ compete at the same level as the men. Showing esport is perhaps one of the most equal, fair and accessible competitive pursuit available today. With this being said, there is a dilemma that stems from accessibility to esport titles and games and that is technology. This issue will not be solved overnight and it stems from a generational difference in people who’ve grown up with games and those who haven’t like we see today. Each event, live stream, team, player and individual involved has a role to show off what has been built over the years and close this gap.

And what is esport all about? For the consumer, this industry is all about bringing quality and engaging broadcasts to the widest audience possible. It is all about the best of competition and highlighting the peak performance of individuals within the games. It is also a community and platform for expression and creativity seen through the many streamers and content creators that contribute to communicating and bridging esport into the mainstream media.

Esport is here to stay, while it is akin to other sports, its nuances and unique aspects are worth learning. With considerable backing and growth in recent times, there has never been a better time to get involved!

Twitter: @Uncle_Shhlee