Fulfilling Your Sports Craving with eSports

Covid-19 has shut down pretty much everything, but perhaps the most disappointing part for some has been the cancellation of the world’s favorite sports. Luckily, eSports are still running in full swing to satisfy that craving.

eSports have been on the rise for the past decade to the point that many have expanded to hold in-person tournaments, however, these tournaments began online and have made the switch quickly to keep their seasons going.

Each of these games will be streamed on YouTube, Twitch and each of the game’s websites.

These tournaments can be complicated to watch and understand at times, but commentators break down the plays to make it more manageable.

The most popular genre for eSports is the multiplayer online battle arena which pits teams of five against each other as they fight over control of a three-lane map. Players pick and ban different champions, earn money to buy different items to enhance their abilities and fight across the map as they try to overtake each other’s base.

League of Legends and DOTA 2 dominate the eSports scene for this genre and they both have a variety of competitions going on right now.

League of Legends has a densely packed schedule with matches nearly every day for the rest of the month. Specifically, the finals for many of the big spring tournaments. The biggest being European Masters ending on May 10 with a prize pool of $162,023.

DOTA 2 is slightly less packed, however, they also have a variety of competitions this month. The biggest being ESL One Los Angeles Online, North America’s online tournament for $375,000 ending on April 19.

On the opposite side of eSports popularity is the niche speed-running community. Games Done Quick is a charity that brings speedrunners together to compete against the clock to complete games as quickly as possible to raise money. They are currently running Corona Relief Done Quick with games being played until 10 p.m. on April 19. 

There’s a mix of games new and old that they break in order to beat as fast as possible. There are extra games being played as incentives for donations as well as merchandise with all proceeds going to Direct Relief. At the time of writing, they have raised just over $30,000.

Going back to the bigger eSports, the first-person shooter genre is even more packed with variety than MOBAs. There are a variety of FPS games with competitions, both new and old. Each of the games is varied from each other which gives many choices to watch.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is a classic, realistic team-based FPS. It focuses on each team trying to plant or defuse a bomb. Killing enemies is extremely quick which can make even minor mistakes deadly.

 CS:GO has their Spring Masters coming to a close throughout the weekend and into Monday, April 20, each having a prize pool over $100,000. On top of this, FragOnline a community-run tournament, is being held this month with finals on April 27.

Also, this weekend is the first-ever Valorant competition. Valorant is a brand new game, still in closed beta, that is like a mesh between CS:GO and Overwatch. It has tense gameplay like CS:GO, but has hero-based abilities that can quickly change an entire match. This first tournament is more of a test due to the limited release of the game, so it only lasts two days.

Speaking of Overwatch, their regular season has continued in an online format with matches every weekend. It’s another team-based shooter, however, it emphasizes the abilities of each hero and is more action-packed.

Along with the regular season, Overwatch has Contenders seasons going on during the week, so there’s plenty of time to watch the game and maybe even see players that could join the regular league next year.

Apex Legends is having their fourth tournament this weekend with a prize pool of $100,000. The three-person team battle royale pits teams of three against up to 19 other teams. Players must find supplies while they fight players in an arena that shrinks over time.

Finally, Call of Duty’s League is having their finals from April 24 to April 26 with a prize pool of $6,000,000. The league plays Hardpoint, which is an objective-based game mode that has teams capturing different points. Similar to CS:GO, Call of Duty has very fast-paced kills, however, it is more action-packed.



Story by: Alex Schilling
Photos Courtesy of: Riot Games, Blizzard Entertainment, Respawn Entertainment