Not like ‘normal sports’

Photo courtesy of Tim Bronson.Castleton’s E-sports club team participates in their first official event in Burlington at the University of Vermont.

The first official E-sports team match for Castleton University’s team was held at the University of Vermont on Nov. 2.

“The Battle of Burlington” saw more than 70 competitors take to the controllers. UVM and Champlain College brought three teams each, one varsity and two JV. Castleton and SUNY Plattsburgh each brought one team.

League of Legends was the game and the prize was a trophy – and bragging rights.

The main goal of League of Legends is to destroy the other teams’ “Nexus,” or core in their base. It helps for everybody to be on equal footing with the other team skill-wise, players say. League teams are much like basketball teams, based around one or two star players and the other players help support them. Both games also have five players on either side playing different roles, and every player is absolutely vital to the team’s success.

“Unlike ‘normal’ sports, in these games when you’re ahead it makes you stronger,” said Co-Captain Liam Bury.

This makes it so a small disadvantage early on can lead to an insurmountable comeback.

The matches couldn’t start on time because of four hours of technical problems.

“It’s hard when you throw 40 people on gaming PCs in one room and you’re trying to split it between three or four ethernet ports,” said John Dubois, the team coach and co-captain.

In the athletics world, you could equate the standstill to a rain delay at a baseball game.

It was supposed to be an eight-team bracket best of three matches, but it was changed to a best of 1 format for the time’s sake. There was a winner’s and a concession bracket where if you win the first game, you get placed in the winners bracket and if you lose, you were in the concession bracket, they said.

Some teams ended up just quitting after the first loss because they didn’t see a point in continuing on, Including UVM’s varsity team, after losing to the 8th seed as the 1st seed.

Castleton didn’t use headsets to communicate with each other, which caused some complications. Even though they are sitting right beside each other, it was impossible to discern from the other players talking around them in the room. People normally play with headsets but this was an attempt to try something different. Just like with any team sport, communication is one of the biggest factors in how a team performs, they said.

Castleton didn’t end up winning the whole thing — or any of the games actually, but members said it was good exposure for the team.

“I was adding people left and right on Discord, on League, and on Facebook,” Dubois said.

Getting out and playing actual matches with other college’s was the point of the team in the first place.

“While the matches were a loss on paper, the point was not to expect a win. Rather, it was to experience and learn from competing with regional teams. It was to be able to come away from the event with a unique experience that not many people have,” said team member Tim Bronson. “This is just the start of things for Castleton E-sports, and we don’t intend on letting a sour tournament derail the progress that is being made by the team.”

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