Hello and welcome to my blog! So if the title and URL of this blog hasn’t given it away, this is a blog pertaining to the subject of video games. No, maybe not the casual Sunday afternoon play session, but to “Professional Gaming”. And yes, the phrase “Professional Gaming” sounds silly at first (and to be honest it is) but it’s not just about a teenager sitting on the couch and playing 10 hours a day, it’s a lot more.
These “Professional Gamers” are very much aware of their nonsensical title, and so they came up with a new word. Well not for the professionals themselves, but for the scene. It’s now known as eSports.
Now, the word “sports” in a title for people who play video games every day of their lives will set off the average person, but this thing called eSports still takes an immense amount of training and hard work. Not physical but mental. Instead of running miles and working out at the gym, these professionals spend their days memorizing strategies, mastering mechanics, and just straight practicing. Even with the intense training of both physical and mental athletes, some people argue that it shouldn’t be called a sport of any kind. I mean maybe it shouldn’t, but for the sake of the conversation it’s the best word to use.
The scene of eSports does not just pertain to one game. It encompasses all games that have a competitive aspect. Some more popular than others.
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (or MOBA for short) are by far the most popular genre of eSport. Two of the most played games in the world are MOBA’s, making this genre the most popular. Those include League of Legends (LoL) in 2009 and Defense of the Ancients 1 and 2 (DotA) in 2003 and 2009 . The reason this is such a competitive eSport is due to it’s intense use of teamwork and decision making. In a game like this, a player controls a single character in one of two teams. The objective is to destroy the opposing team’s main structure or nexus with the help of computer controlled “minions” that march in a predestined path. Players choose different characters with very unique abilities that define each one and gives them an edge over other characters. These abilities improve over the coarse of a match, and that strategies are revolved around.
This genre goes way back. One of the first competitive games ever to be taken seriously was an FPS (or a First Person Shooter). That was Quake (1996). This ancient game brought around the notion of eSports with the massive amount of dedication fans had for the game. Games like these take perfect aim with a mouse, and muscle memory to remember certain mechanics of the game. A more modern and highly competitive game was released in 2000 called Counter Strike that picked up where Quake left off. This revived the eSports scene as a whole and with present day installments like Counter Strike: Global Offensive in 2012, the eSports scene flourished and now CSGO is one of the top competitive eSports.
Real Time Strategy games are similar to MOBAS because of the fact that it is, well, a real time strategy game. The difference in this type of genre is the fact that you don’t control one character, but an army. This type of game requires precision micro management of different units at all times. These games are easy to learn, but hard to master. The scene of the most popular games such as Starcraft 1 and 2 in 1998 and 2010, along with it’s predecessors like Warcraft 1, 2, and 3 in 1994, 1995, and 2002 , are heavily dominated by Koreans. These games aided in the rise of eSports and are considered classics among its followers. Recently, the RTS scene is at it’s knees, with it’s player base getting ever so smaller. Hopefully we will see it back as a juggernaut in the future.
This competitive scene originated in arcades around the world. With it’s player base always being quite niche in the competitive aspect, these games are some of the most popular of all time. Franchises like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Smash Brothers are some of the most iconic and aged games in history. Their scenes never caught on but is still highly competitive in it’s community, and contain some of the most recognizable moments in gaming.
There are many other eSport games that really don’t pertain to any genre of competitive games. There’s Hearthstone in 2014 which is a spin off card game to the RTS Warcraft games and the World of Warcraft modern follow up. There’s Rocket League in 2015, which is basically soccer with RC cars. Then there are the FIFA and Madden franchises that are actual sport games and come out with a new game every year. All the games in this left over section are games that never really grew due to a vast list of reasons.
All in all, the eSports scene is massive and diverse. It’s created jobs and raised money not only as a salary but for countless charities.
Come back in a few days where I go into detail about MOBAS.