What are e-sports, and why are they so popular?
E-sports is the term used to refer to all forms of competitive gaming which are played for spectators. Typical examples of such games are: League of Legends, Overwatch, Dota 2, CSGO, Starcraft 2, and others.
E-sports are extremely popular for several reasons. Firstly, many people play video games and are interested in watching others play them – it is entertaining and they can watch their favourite team/s vs other teams. Secondly, each game and team composition is completely different – you have special abilities and tons of different characters to pick from. Each character also has tons of different skins to choose from (cool designs that you can unlock to make your character look different)! Each year on League, at Christmas, every player is gifted a random skin. One year it just so happened that I got my favourite skin for my favourite character, Jinx! (I know others weren’t so lucky… some even got Yorick skins). Finally, e-sports allow you to connect with others from all over the world who love the game just as much as you do – you can share in the excitement and fun that each match brings, and make friends along the way!
What are the basic archetypes in E-Sports teams?
In Overwatch there are four roles/types of heroes: healers, tanks, defense heroes and offense heroes. In professional Overwatch, each team should have a tank and a healer. However, team composition also depends on if your team is playing on offense or defense. Each team plays on offense in each map, and then switches to defense (or vice versa), thus team composition is centred around this dynamic.
In League of Legends, there are 3 lanes (top, middle, and bottom) and the jungle. Usually each team has one character in the top and middle lanes, a jungler who fights monsters then helps if their team is being pushed back, and a support to help the ADC (Attack Damage Carry) in bottom lane. In professional E-Sports most individuals stick to tried and true team compositions, and characters they have lots of practice in using, but many try out champions that generally wouldn’t be in particular roles. This helps to keep team compositions fresh and interesting, and allows professional players to try new methods of (hopefully!) winning their matches.
What do rankings mean/ what are rankings?
Basically, rankings show how “good” you are compared to everyone else who plays the game (providing they play ranked). Ranked games are when a team is pitched against another, and their mechanics (as mentioned below) are tested. Rankings mean, if you are in higher tiers (platinum, diamond, master, challenger) that you generally have a better grasp of mechanics and that you work well in a team to capture the point (Overwatch), or destroy the enemy nexus (League).
How important are rankings?
Rankings are seen as quite important. To many players their ranking, for example being someone in diamond compared to someone in silver, is a status symbol which demonstrates their skill, in that they have better mechanics. Mechanics are the basic fundamentals of the game. So, if someone has good mechanics they would likely be able to: play most heroes well, be able to last hit, know when and when not to harass, know where to ward, etc. However, there are many influences on how a person is ranked after they play their promo ranked games, and how they rise through the ranks. These include: team negativity, AFK team members, members feeding (intentionally dying to make the enemy team stronger), smurfs (someone with a high level making a new account to verse lower levelled players, so they are more likely to win), and your own influence on the game. Each game is different, and mechanics don’t necessarily cause you to win, or to lose. Thus, higher rankings may distinguish a person as generally being more mechanically skilled, but the outcome of each game is also dependent on other factors.
Is e-sports safe for a heterosexual like me?
E-sports isn’t safe for anyone…
Written by Hannah Griffith