Posted in Clash Royale, CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends, OverWatch, SMITE, Twitch, Uncategorized

Esports to become the greatest sporting event by 2020

 [ THIS POST IS FROM ONE OF OUR ESTEEMED COLLEAGUE, PRATEEK MALHOTRA (https://medium.com/@prateekmalhotra) AND FIRST APPEARED HERE: https://medium.com/@prateekmalhotra/esports-to-become-the-greatest-sporting-event-by-2020-f1ddd15287cd ]
Dota 2 mid-laner Sumail “SumaiL” Hassan plays for the North American team Evil Geniuses

Two college students Minh “Gooseman” Le and Jess Cliffe created a total overhaul mod using assets from Valve’s Half Life 2. Le did all the programming and Jess worked with the community of players. What started as an experiment, attracted Valve Corporations, who in turn gave a commercial release to the mod also known as Counter Strike. These digital weapons, players and maps led to the booming of then unknown territory called the ‘esports’.

esports, an online competitive gaming tournament played between pro-gamers on a computer machines has taken the industry by storm as gaming community has started recognizing it as a career option and branded it as a real sport. Getting into the debate of whether esports is a sport or a farce will yield no results, hence I would like to reveal some statistics which will make things more transparent.

According to Newzoo, a leading provider of market intelligence across gaming, esports and mobile gaming released its third edition of esports report which highlights that esports economy will grow to $ 696 million this year. The report also added that Brands will play a major role in shaping the esports economy and by 2020, the growth will reach to $1.5 billion dollars. Further to add, US and China will generate $362 million dollars in 2017, followed by Asia-Pacific regions which will take 51% revenue share.

Why is esports becoming so popular?

esports games are divided into different genre and the most popular being fighting games ( Street Fighter ), first-person shooter ( Counter Strike Series), real time strategy ( WarCraft 3 ), and multiplayer online battle arena ( League Of Legends and Dota ).

Just like any other sport, esports has managed to garner a wide range of spectators across the globe. The overall operations of esports is similar to that of any other sporting event like NBA, NFL, Football and many others. A team consists of 5 members having individual skills which can be executed during the game. The team is managed by an esports expert who oversees players salaries, housing, office space, healthcare and sports staff. The players go through rigorous training and practice for hours to reach the pinnacle Esports tournaments are held on a grandeur level and the level of intensity and cheerfulness seen among gaming fans is similar to that seen in a football or a cricket fans. These tournaments are live-streamed on mediums like Twitch and YouTube which have millions of followers.

The popularity of competitive gaming is testament to the fact that Intel Extreme Masters which was held in Katowice, Poland drew 173000 fans to the stadium event. Online, the event was watched by 46 million unique viewers, more than Trump’s inauguration TV audience of 30.6 million viewers.

Pro Gaming Scene In India

Pro Gaming Scene in India is at its nascent stage, but it is evolving and growing at a fast pace. Hardware companies like Asus, GigaByte and NVIDIA are bolstering the esports mania by organizing Dota 2 and CS:Go tournaments across gaming cafes and events. Many startups and gaming companies have jumped into the scene to promote esports culture.

In January, USports, a ₹100 crore league, announced by the founder of UTV Group, Ronnie Screwvala, will take its course this year.

In February, Nazara Games announced that it will invest INR 130 crores in a new esports league in India over the next five years in the league, which will include PC based games DOTA 2 and Counter Strike : Global Offensive.

Last year, Mountain Dew launched Dew Arena Gaming Championship with a prize pool worth INR 10 Lakhs. Many brands followed the bandwagon by announcing individual leagues and tournaments, thus encouraging and boosting the gamers and esports scenario.

Talking about the role of a team manager and esports scenario in India, Eklovya Dutta, Captain and In Game Leader of upcoming esports team FEROCIOUS believes that the role of the team captain is to make sure that there exist a discipline, cohesion, and structure within a team. As the team captain himself , he sets fixed goals to every member and encourages them to focus on playing the game and improvise while doing so. Esports is a massive industry and is gradually growing in India. However, lack of infrastructure, support and topsy-turvy management and self-pride can impair the esports scenario in India.” In order to compete with the International players, its important to focus on team game-play rather than changing the team member.”

The pro-gaming scene will further strengthen its hold in the Indian market considering the situation of Internet is improving in India. From 105th position and 4.1 Mbps speed till three months ago, the country has risen to 97th position on a global level with 5.6 Mbps of average connectivity speed.

Akamai’s State Of The Interne

To conclude, the competitive gaming market is growing at an exponential rate, media giants like ESPN are broadcasting the tournaments and competitions, and brands like NBA and YouTube are jumping into the world of esports. The positive synergies between companies, pro-gamers and developers can surely make esports the greatest sporting event.

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Posted in Clash Royale

Clash Royale wins BAFTA eSports award

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) recently held its second eSports award, and Clash Royale was selected as the AMD eSports audience award winner.  That right: Clash Royale, the mobile game that has yet to even establish itself as an eSports title, won the award over League of Legends, CS:GO, DOTA2, Street Fighter V and Overwatch.  While it is worth noting that the winner is selected based on fan voting, the fact that Clash Royale was nominated (and won!) is not sitting well with the eSport community.

As starters, tournaments have been few and far between, and we have yet to see any competitions on a global scale that features competition between the best in the world.  This sentiment is shared not just by esports enthusiasts, but also by Clash Royale players; even Backstabx, the winner of the Clash Royale North America Open, feels the game shouldn’t be considered an eSports title with where it is today.

Whether or not Clash Royale is deserving of the award, we hope that this will motivate Supercell to invest more in the game’s eSports initiatives.  Just as Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize as an encouragement to step up his efforts in promoting world peace, we believe that Clash Royale should see this award as an encouragement to step up its efforts in building the game’s eSports scene.  And yes, we just compared Obama and world peace to Clash Royale and eSports.

Congratulations to the Supercell team, and let’s hope this will just be the first of many eSports awards for Clash Royale!

Posted in Clash Royale

Rock, Paper, Scissors – The 3 Decks of the Metagame in Clash Royale

Today, we are here to talk about the Clash Royale metagame. People often talk about the meta in terms of specific units, like “its a Prince meta” or “everyone plays Tombstones”, but this can be a shallow understanding of what is really happening underneath individual card choices.

The metagame is really the share of people who are pursuing distinct lines of play in order to win a game. While individual card choices matter, it’s more important to understand the fundamental sequence of interactions each style of play is trying to impose on the other. No matter what deck you are playing, understanding the strategic metagame helps you better make decisions and ultimately win more games.

The Clash Royale metagame breaks down into 3 categories. These are loose groupings of various decks by their methods of winning the game, you’ve probably played against each type several times:

Beatdown – Fights you on your side, beats your Towers down

Control – Waits for you to act, Fights you on THEIR side, combo-kills a Tower on your side

Siege – Stays on their side, pressuring you to come to their side or lose a Tower

The best decks tend to focus on creating lines of play to reinforce a single strategy. When you are building decks, ask yourself which of the above play styles suit you and try to select cards that help that strategy. Don’t play too many defensive towers, for example, if you want to play Beatdown decks since the towers will never help you knock down enemy towers.

Beatdown

First up, the first strategy everyone starts with. Come over the bridge and knock down your tower, usually by winning in combat. Beatdown decks tend to be proactive, spending their Elixir on Troops that are likely to generate a large damage-to-cost ratio if uninterrupted. They put the pressure on the other player to react, and throughout the game adapt to the opponent’s defenses as the game progresses.

Beatdown decks are filled with mixtures of different Troops with the intention of creating synergistic waves that deal lots of damage to Towers. An early example when you are rising in the ranks is Giant and Musketeer. Individually, neither unit is particularly threatening. But together they can crush a Tower and defending Troops. Finding Troops that work together and abusing their interactions are the key to a successful Beatdown deck.

Whether low cost waves (Goblins + Spear Goblins) or 10+ Elixir superpushes (Golem + Wizard), they are designed to force a specific counter. If the opponent can’t counter your wave, their Tower is going down. Some Beatdown decks try to force this outcome by playing so many cards of the same style that an opponent runs out of counters, and others are very diverse in their card types in order to adapt to what the opponent shows them. Don’t be fooled – Beatdown decks can be very strategically deep and satisfying to play!

Examples:

  • Swarm decks are filled with cards that trade poorly with Arrows. But when your deck is 6+ swarm cards and their deck only has 1 Arrows, there are a lot of opportunities to catch them without their trusty spell.
  • Superpush decks tend to play expensive tanky units by the back wall, supplementing them with supporting Troops when they reach the bridge. This creates a single wave of 13+ Elixir, which is difficult to counter even with a full Elixir bar.

Control

These decks are the natural reaction to seeing how trades work in Clash Royale. The first time you Tombstone a Prince or Arrows a Minion Horde, your eyes light up and think “what if I just did that the whole game!” Turns out, you can!

Welcome to Control decks, where you want to counter enemy attacks with Elixir-positive trades, then use a very specific 2-3 card line of play to take a Tower with your excess Elixir. This is usually the Freeze type of decks, though really any way to kill a Tower for 10 or less Elixir will work as a win condition.

The trick is playing Control is knowing when to deploy your Tower killing line of play. Having a good sense of how much Elixir your opponent has and what cards they have shown you is crucial to making optimal decisions. You might think a Control deck would always be defensive, but knowing when to switch into attack mode is the difference that sets great Control players apart.

For example, let’s stay you’ve just Tombstone’d a Prince and Arrow’d a Minion Horde. You are up 4-0 with a Hog Rider in hand. What do you do?

  • If you don’t have Freeze, play it right away. The Hog Rider will reach the Tower while they are at ~2 Elixir and likely won’t be able to stop the damage.
  • If you do have Freeze, wait until the Elixir is at 6-2, that way you can Freeze whatever is summoned for maximum effect Note that neither scenario calls to hold your Elixir until 9.5 like you normally would as a reactive deck. Knowing when to switch from defensively holding Elixir to aggressively spending it will be the difference in countless games.

These are the sort of decisions you’ve have to make dozens of times per game at the blink of an eye. Control decks are among the hardest, but most satisfying, decks to play.

Examples:

  • Hog / Prince, fast moving ground units that deal huge DPS to Towers if unanswered are a great card to drop in the opposite lane after your opponent deploys a huge wave.
  • Balloon / Giant Skeleton, trying to deliver a Bomb to the tower, simply getting there is worth the Elixir cost. Using Spells to keep the path clear or Freeze the defense can enable thousands of damage to go through.

Siege

Siege decks can often be confused with Control decks (as Control decks sometimes use X-Bow for their win condition, this is understandable) but they are distinctly different strategies. Control decks hold their Elixir and tend to play Troops and Spell reactively. Siege decks play Buildings proactively.

Siege decks set up a fortified side of the board that makes it hard to threaten a tower. Once ‘safe’, Siege cast damage sources from its half of the board that force an opponent to come to you or lose a tower. These can take the form of Barb/Goblin Hut, X-Bow, Mortar, or simply pockets of Rockets. The important thread that ties them together is you feel obligated to play aggressively into them or lose (whereas Control decks don’t put that same pressure on you).

The trick about Siege decks is that they tend to be very all-in on a single win condition (like X-Bow) so being a great Siege player is about skillfully placing your defenses to protect not just Towers but also aggressively-placed delicate weaponry. 90%+ of Siege deck wins are going to be close fought 1-0 bloodbaths, so if you enjoy decks where each decision can be worth hundreds of HP, then Siege decks might be for you.

Examples:

  • X-Bow / Mortar where Towers and cheap Troops are used to cover the Siege weapons. Mortar and X-Bow are the highest damage-per-cost cards in the game, protecting a single one for the duration of it’s lifespan is enough to win a game.
  • Barbarian / Goblin Huts cost a bit upfront, but generate far more Troops than their cost over their lifetime. Several Huts create an endless swarm that eventually overruns a Tower, especially in the last minute of the game.

Rock / Paper / Scissors

What’s the best? It ebbs and flows with each passing week. The trick is to get comfortable and know how your cards interact inside and out. You are better off picking a strategy you enjoy playing and exploring units within that strategy than going on tilt and switching your deck up too often.

Your chance of succeeding will always be higher with Troops that are well-understood than switching to unfamiliar strategies chasing some perceived meta. That said, understanding your favorite strategy and how it interacts with the others will help with each tactical decision you make.

Countering Beatdown:

Beatdown decks fundamentally want to come across the bridge and fight you. They must play their Troops onto the field and wait for them to cross. This gives your opponent a chance to counter your cards, and Control decks are designed to do just that. Control decks are the natural predator of Beatdown decks.

Beatdown decks can overcome this disadvantage by either being very linear (spamming similar units like Hog / Prince / Mini-PEKKA) to run the Control deck out of counters, or by using a diverse cast of Troops. With a diverse Troop choice, you can bait out counters then play a Troop safely after (for example, holding Minion Horde and playing Goblins until the Arrows come out, THEN playing Minion Horde immediately after)

Countering Control:

Control decks are designed to fight on their side of the board. Well, this is pretty awful when the opponent has no intention of crossing the bridge. Siege decks punish Control decks for their passivity by building defenses that require immense force to overcome, and Control decks usually skimp on the offensive weapons.

Control decks therefore either need enough offense to maneuver or overpower a defense (a single Hog Rider won’t do) OR some ability to prevent Buildings from staying alive too long (Lightning is a popular choice). You can also try to exploit the short lifespan of defensive buildings and time an attack during the downtime.

Countering Siege:

Siege decks have powerful defenses but tend to be the slowest to set up and execute their game plan. They are required to play their cards out in the open and hope to prevent a response. Beatdown decks, designed to power through defenses, are going to give Siege a hard time because with defenses on the field the Beatdown player can set up waves to overcome the tower AI.

Siege decks can overcome this by outsmarting the Beatdown player. Set up juicy traps, like an Inferno Tower near the river when you have Arrows in hand. Learn how to use buildings to drag Troops back and forth across the middle and disrupt their waves.

Mirror Matches:

Beatdown is proactive. Control defeats Beatdown. But Siege defeats Control, because Control struggles to be proactive. Beatdown defeats Siege because it can present challenging waves to defense. What happens when two decks of the same type meet?

Anything and everything, usually dictated by who draws what in what order. Golem-based Beatdown decks, designed to create an unstoppable wave, usually can’t stop a Golem themselves. Two Control decks likely couldn’t kill each other so it comes down to poker bluffs and human error to pull off a win. Siege decks usually draw, though excellent skill can steal a game.

If you find yourself struggling with a mirror match, try to find a spot in your deck for a card that you would hate to face yourself. The Golem deck with an Inferno Tower will probably win the mirror. The Siege deck with Lightning is delighted to see enemy Huts and Mortars. Keep in mind, that every card you replace for a mirror match is likely hurting you in another matchup!

What About My Weird Deck?

Invariably, someone will come up with a deck and claim it doesn’t fit into these archetypes. That’s probably true. Nothing is ironclad, there is room for weirdness. But I haven’t seen any deck like that have consistent success. Usually these decks are incredibly powerful at one thing, but once their weakness is exposed they aren’t able to compete.

For example, on the last day of the season several HKEsports players were playing Hog / Prince / Baby Dragon / Mirror / Lightning / Elixir Collector, which doesn’t fit in anything above. They definitely snagged a spectacular victory here and there, but it’s very one dimensional and inconsistent. By the end of the night people adjusted their decks and styles to account for it and the deck went away.

While I totally support experimentation, I truly believe that we will see the Clash Royale metagame begin to crystallize around these three core strategies. If your goal is to win, you don’t get bonus points for being clever.

Posted in Clash Royale

Analyzing Clash Royale’s tournament feature: esports as a marketing tool

Supercell wants to get into esports. Per a job offer Supercell currently has up for an esports position:
“We believe that Clash Royale has the opportunity take eSports to a place it hasn’t quite caught on… mobile platforms. Today’s eSports experience is built for console and PC games, but with the massive reach and ubiquity of mobile devices, we believe it can become much more accessible and mainstream than ever before. Mobile gaming can take eSports beyond the hardcore gaming niche and turn it into something that everyone does, everywhere.”

After creating a competitive mobile hits like Clash of Clans and Clash Royale, and being valued at roughly $10 billion after the Tencent buy, we think Supercell has a pretty good chance of making quite a splash into the esports industry. And, as we said already, Clash Royale has the potential to be a great esports title.
Last week, Supercell went one step closer toward that goal with the addition of a “tournament feature” to its game. But while it brings an easy way to compete on an equal playground against others, it is more a promotional tool than an effort to actually build an esports scene.

A “tournament feature” for the casual players
Creating a tournament in Clash Royale is now extremely easy—an important area of focus from Supercell, who want to attract casual players:
The tournament format is a ladder automatically managed by the game, and can’t be changed. The only customizations possible are: password entry, tournament duration, tournament size, and rewards. Even even those are handled automatically by the game, so the tournament initiator doesn’t have to micromanage post-tourney rewards.
There is, however, one significant catch: players have to spend in-game currency to create a tournament. This addition makes the entire feature both useful in Supercell’s ever-present quest for revenue, but also questionable for the game’s future esports potential.

Money rules the world
To create a tournament, players can spend from 500 gems (roughly $5) for a 100-player tournament granting a first-place reward of 30 card, to 250,000 gems (roughly $1785) for a 1000-player tournament granting a first-place reward of 15,000 cards. Which begs the question: who will pay for these tournaments, and why?
It’s relatively easy to gain 500 gems, granted that you haven’t spent any and have played for a while. And, the first tournament you organize refunds you 500 gems—so the first tournament is basically free. This explains why the first week of the new feature saw many tournaments organized, though few with more than 100 players.
It remains to be seen, though, who will create these tournaments at a loss. There’s no avoiding the fact that those gems could be more efficiently spent buying chests directly from the store. Sure, you could make a tournament and go on to win it yourself, but who wants to go through all that work?
There is a very high risk of seeing this feature die out after the first wave of tournaments. Most likely, open tournaments will become very rare, and most players will only buy tournaments for their clans.
There’s also the fact that the new feature isn’t necessary to run a tournament for the game. In fact, already established tournaments like the Reddit MEGA Tournament and ESL , as soon as they needed a bracket, didn’t use the new feature last weekend.

A perfect marketing tool
All that said, a small community investment in the tournament feature wouldn’t necessarily mean that it was a complete failure. The tournament tool will be used as a promotion tool anyway. And indeed, Supercell did just that during its first week—including an official
Tourney Week event, where Supercell had some of its most famous streamers and Youtubers play tournaments on sponsored streams in sponsored tournaments.
This is a perfect tool to build promotional events, with seemingly huge prizes, without having to invest real dollars.
Those promotional tournaments were massive. For example, Clash Royale China has organized an event to be held in Shanghai in July 23rd . The qualifiers took place last weekend, spread out over 100 tournaments, each grouping 1000 players using the new tournament feature. The total cost to create these tournaments runs to almost $20,000—an astronomical number to somebody not working with Supercell to throw it.
That’s why this is all a win for Supercell. The cost of organizing these tournaments is very low for Supercell, since it uses an already-in-place feature and the prizes are in-game currency. It basically costs nothing for Supercell to create, yet to regular players, it’s a costly investment with little clear use.
This is a perfect tool to build promotional events, with seemingly huge prizes, without having to invest real dollars. It is also a potential new source of income from players that have already bought everything in the game and don’t know where to spend their money anymore, or streamers that want to attract viewers by promising a juicy tournament. But it certainly isn’t what will make Clash Royale a big esport.

All according to plan
Once again, Supercell is caught between a desire to build a great esports and its drive for profit. The real challenge is to make those two goals thrive together. If the casual player pays to organize their own tournament, its a nice bonus. But a free tournament option, possibly without any rewards at all, would be a very welcome addition.
For Supercell —and certainly all other successful developers in esports honestly—esports is more a marketing tool than an actual sport. And if you still need any more proof: the job offer in Supercell’s esports department is listed under the “marketing” category. Case closed.

courtesy: Esports Observer