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.

Posted in Dota 2, League of Legends

Is League of Legends really worse than Dota2 ?? (as the elitist Dota2 veterans say)

(This article is for a common gamer out there. All of us do NOT play professionally.. And though, we want to get better in which ever game we play, we don’t aim to be an esport star).

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/3OROWtr4F8E/maxresdefault.jpg

LoL or Dota2 ??

This is something that has been raging on since time immortal (okay, since those two games came into existence). And over the years, there have been countless articles written on this subject, debating which of the two titans is better.

One of most common attitude of Dota2 players, who act like douchbags, is to ridicule LoL players by calling the game casual, kiddy, meant-for-noobs, etc. Here are some of the things what you would usually hear from them:

  • League of Legends has a worse optimized and technologically inferior engine.
  • League of Legends meta is very strict and allows for very little variation and strategy.
  • Individual skill and performance in LoL is more reliant on execution and reflexes, whereas Dota 2 is more about strategy, tactics and utility.
  • Dota 2 is a much deeper and varying game.
  • BLAH, BLAH, BLAH…….

On the other hand, LoL players try to defend their game, though poorly.

To be honest, it simply depends on what you prefer. (But people understood it so easily, this whole article would have been useless)

Here, I am trying to prove that LoL is rather better than Dota2. (Thank me later, LoL players)

  1. League is more “newbie” friendly. Anyone who has played both the games know it. Dota2 players are less welcoming and are rather “cancerous”. On the other hand, LoL players are usually for friendly, and would welcome you to the game. (Nah, they don’t need to promote their game… LoL has an bigger base than Dota2)
  2. On comparing Skills, LoL takes the lead. The game has so much diversity between characters that playing a different hero often requires a very different mindset. Yasuo for example, has a spell that creates a wind wall in a direction that blocks all incoming enemy projectiles resulting in some really punishing team fights. Other than the uniqueness of skills, one major difference between the two games is how DOTA2’s skills level up, and deal a static amount of damage after a few levels. Some even become useless at later levels when enemies have high health pools and a skill does 300 damage. In LoL, skills share offense stats and scale with attributes. As a result, casters can do massive damage in their combos, taking out enemy caries. This attribute allows for build paths with more variation. (DOTA 2 has started introducing items that enable ability scaling as well, but LoL has had this feature from day one.)
  3. League champion abilities have smaller mana costs compared to DotA 2. The former encourages frequent use of skills and aggressive play in the laning phase, while in the latter you have to be mindful of your resources and utilize abilities strategically unless your hero has a way to regain used mana fast.
  4. Accessibility: Ask anyone who has spent time with both games and they will tell you that DOTA 2 is unforgiving. On the other hand, League of Legends is more accessible and less intimidating by comparison. In DOTA 2, the ‘denying’ mechanic and death penalty is so merciless that it is possible to leave an enemy quite useless later in the game, making things intimidating for newcomers. While recent DOTA 2 patches have tweaked things so that killing enemies with greater level advantages grants bigger gold bonuses, the core lockdown mechanic is still quite brutal. LoL is more balanced in this regard. For one, you cannot execute or deny your own lane minions, nor do you lose gold on death. While you can slow a player down, if things drag, an underperforming teammate can catch up and change the course of the match. This makes the game more fun.
  • League has faster animations in attacking, turning, moving, and using an ability compared to DotA 2, so a more fast-paced feel and gameplay is obvious on the former. Players who try both games may find the latter a bit lethargic.
  • Its a tough call whether the overall lower power cap of characters in LoL is a bad thing. It allows for some nice comebacks of a team that slipped behind earlier in the game.
  • One of the common argument, Dota2 players use is that LoL requires money to buy champions and other customizations. But, this is quite far from truth. You can buy Champions with Influence Points (IP), which you gain by playing the game. Riot rewards you quite well, and you gain IP even on losing games. Plus, there is an weekly rotation of free-to-play champions, which sort of force you to try out the new ones. (Dunno why exactly Dota2 veterans consider it bad)
  • LoL matches are usually shorter, lasting about 30 to 45 mins. But it is quite unpredictable, and you can’t say that a weaker team will surely lose, as the tides may turn around anytime.
  • Last but not the least, LoL doesn’t require less skills to play. This is downright absurd. Tell any Dota2 player to try out an game or two on LoL, and they would suck.

If you want just to have fun and relax in a game of this genre, go for LoL, you will have tons of fun. If you have group of 5 people with similar mindset – that’s even better, you’re gonna have even more fun!

(I know this article may seem incomplete right now, and I may discuss this in another post again)

Posted in CS:GO, ESL, Intel Extreme Masters, League of Legends, Twitch

IEM Katowice Most Watched Esports Event Ever, 35 Percent Increase in Viewership YoY

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IEM Katowice was a success in every metric. The high profile two weekend tournament from ESL will easily become what esports fans point to when telling their friends that esports are here to stay. The event was record breaking in many ways, innovative in others, and lucrative as a whole.

The tournament saw 173,000 fans attend in person at the stadium in Katowice, Poland which is a greater than 50 percent increase against last year. Online, the event was just as successful breaking the record for unique viewers—previously held by 2016’s League of Legends World Championship—of 43 million handily. The event saw over 46 million people tune in over the course of the event with 340,000 of those using VR to do so.

It is likely that the event will be a landmark example for potential sponsors looking to enter the esports market.

As a method for sponsors to engage with fans, the story gets even better. 255 million impressions were generated by the event’s social media channels which makes it likely that the event will be a landmark example for potential sponsors looking to enter the esports market. Most avenues for advertising allow for little interaction but the digital natives that make up the esports audience are on every form of social media, sharing, clipping, and talking about the events they are watching.

IEM Katowice was also the most widely broadcast event is ESL’s history. The long-time producer and organizer of esports events had broadcasts in 19 languages across 70 media outlets and platforms. Business Insider points out that this shows just how lucrative exclusive broadcast deals could be. As esports continues to cross boundaries in audiences and platforms, YouTube has been signing exclusive broadcast deals and we can expect Twitch and YouTube—and soon traditional sports broadcasters—to be competing for broadcast rights in the future.

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 CS:GO, Dota 2

Route Mobile founder to invest $10m in eSports in India, and launch an online league

COBX will launch an online domestic league, and an international league besides building an Indian team for international eSports championships.

2017 is turning out to be a watershed year for India’s eSports industry as three companies have announced plans to put big money to launch their respective leagues in the country.

After Ronnie Screwvala and Nazara Games, the founder of Route Mobile Rajdip Gupta is planning his eSports venture – COBX Gaming – that will invest $10 million to promote eSports in India. COBX will launch an online domestic league, and an international league besides building an Indian team for international eSports championships.

eSports is a $99.6 billion industry globally, as of 2016. Led by China, the Asia Pacific region controls 47% of the total market and 58% of the growth in the global games market comes from the Asia-Pacific region.  

market intelligence company Newzoo

Gupta plans to launch an online league in the second half of April, inviting participation from any team in India. “We have kept the total prize money of `10 lakh for the online championship, which may not sound big, but will surely attract gamers. The idea is to get the right talent and create a team that will take part in International majors,” he added.

COBX will also launch the first international eSports league in India by the end of this year. “We are focused on getting teams from 16 different countries in December for the international league, which will have a prize money of $300,000,” he added.

Posted in Dota 2, The International

The International will stay in Seattle despite concerns over US travel ban

Photo via Valve

For the sixth year in a row, the largest Dota 2event in the world will be heading to Seattle.

That’s in spite of concerns over U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order temporary halting immigration from several Muslim-majority countries.

The news was inadvertently revealed in apress release focused on the International 7’s cosplay competition.

The fact that Syria and Iran were on the list of banned countries raised the ire of the international Dota 2 community. Team Liquid captain Kuro “KuroKy” Salehi Takhasomi is an Iranian citizen, while Digital Chaos midlaner Omar “w33” Aliwi has Syrian heritage.

A number of teams and players from regions such as Southeast Asia, China, and Eastern Europe have struggled to acquire visas to attend the International since its relocation to the U.S. In 2016, LGD Gaming’s Xue “September” Zhichuan missed the event altogether after his visa application was denied four times.

In an extended roundtable discussion with PC Gamer on Feb. 10, Valve’s Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson were asked whether the executive order would influence affect the tournament’s location. “Ideally we’d run it here [in Seattle] because it has a bunch of advantages being close to our office,” Johnson replied. “But the event’s going to happen. So yes, if it became too difficult, we’d find a way.”

Launched in 2011 in tandem with the beta-release of Dota 2, the first International took place in Cologne during the annual GamesCom expo. Since 2012, however, the mega-event has taken place in Seattle’s Benaroya Hall and Key Arena.

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 Vainglory

6 Takeaways from the Vainglory Preseason Invitational

Six eSports organizations have recently plunged into the Vainglory scene. This has injected money, structure, and legitimacy into a professional scene which, to this point, has been like a generally peaceful Wild West community with the devs at Super Evil MegaCorp playing the role of benevolent Westworldian overseers. In response to the wave of new teams, and the resulting ripples throughout the rosters of many organizations, SEMC invited the new organizations to their headquarters in California for a showcase in the Run the Gauntlet Vainglory Preseason Invitational.

However, the Invitational was about more than showing off new teams; developers also took the opportunity to preview their newest hero, Grumpjaw. Even more interesting for the future of the game was a video of Game Designer and Creative Content Officer Captain Neato breaking down the foreseeable future of Vainglory. The whole stream was a well-timed and sleekly packaged performance for a rapidly expanding audience. There are a multitude of takeaways from this preseason teaser, but in honor of the six new organizations we will limit it to six big ones.

  1. Vainglory is sexy right now, and SEMC knows it.

Multi-esport organizations are flocking to Vainglory right now, and globally eSports teeters on the cusp of flooding into truly mainstream culture. The developers and team at SEMC are more than aware of this hype, and would be remiss to not seize the moment. Players of League or DotA who wouldn’t consider Vainglory last year can’t ignore their favorite teams making forays into a new and rising MOBA; capturing this new audience could result in an influx of rookie Vainglory players who are nevertheless hardened MOBA veterans.

  1. Coaches and Analysts will be in demand.

With only three players per team, strategy in Vainglory is inherently more limited, in certain ways, than a traditional five man MOBA. However, the universal introduction of a double-ban draft system in professional competition makes strategic insight more important than ever. Echo Fox clearly benefited from the pregame presence of their Head Coach, Foojee. What goes on behind the scenes with coaching and strategy is tricky to quantify, but the new organizations to the scene have created a bit of an arms race, and I doubt any team will want to enter this pivotal season without the industry norm in support staffing.

  1. Misfits were stand outs.

One of the less hyped of the teams competing in the Preseason Invitational, Misfits started fast and finished with an admirable 2-1 record. The team of King, IllesT, and Eeko proved versatile, hardwinning their draft against Fnatic and snowballing to a quick victory, only to turn around and grind out a comeback win against a very experienced Immortals team. As broadcasters were quick to note on stream, the players on Misfits aren’t inexperienced, just less well known. It would be no surprise to see these players thrive within an organization with more experience, structure, and tools to help them develop.

  1. Super Evil MegaCorp is super committed to not being evil at all.

The stream opened up with a prepackaged video of CEO Kirstian Segerstrale, and Sr. Director of Content and Esports, PlayoffBeard. In what felt like a message to those watching the stream who may be new to the scene and how Super Evil operate, they doubled down on past and present commitments to engage with and listen to the community at large. PlayoffBeard and Segerstrale presented the Vainglory community as a foil to the traditionally toxic and cynical MOBA scenes; no doubt they hope some players who have long battled trolls of all sorts in other games will seek safe haven in Vainglory. Now, Vainglory isn’t without trolls or toxicity, but as a player of the game and observer of the company, I have been given little reason to doubt either their commitment to real and tangible community engagement or their claims of generally widespread community unity. Kumbaya baby.

  1. On 5.

See what I did there? The announcement of plans for a 5v5 game mode generated enough buzz to make many doubt reports of a global bee shortage. Captain Neato was quick to note that no plans are set in stone and they are still a long way out from implementing a 5v5 game mode; however, it’s still a bit surprising that they would reveal eventual plans to do so with what feels like the biggest seasons of competitive play to-date just around the corner.

  1. Expounding on rounding said corner.

All of this was about hype. No one truly knows what the next year will hold for Vainglory; everything seems to be building towards the start of the NA and EU Vainglory 8 series on March 11. One problem when it comes to analyzing Vainglory as an eSport has been the relatively small sample size; however, consistent matches and structured seasons should help bulk up our understanding of how good all these teams really are. As teams play more games, figure out seasonal play, and establish unique styles, we will see if Vainglory is the eSport on the rise it claims to be, and, if so, which players and teams will rise with it.