The rooms are packed, every computer in the lab and the one across the hall are filled with students vigorously typing on the keys as they focus on the screen. This is not some class, however, where students are stressing over a deadline. This is the eSports League, and this year the team has grown even more after finishing its first year.
The game of choice is the massively competitive “League of Legends.” With 134 different playable characters, known as Champions, the team allows students a unique and diverse experience unlike any other school club.
“League of Legends,” or “LoL” as it is often shortened, is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, or MOBA. When playing “LoL,” the main objective is to find and destroy the opponent’s Nexus, a portal that Champions come through, while simultaneously protecting their own. This is most closely related to an online capture the flag. ESports is growing and continues to grow. Colleges, realizing how popular the trend is, are now starting to offer scholarships for students who play video games competitively.
Robert Morris University, for example, recently added eSports to its athletic program, offering students partial scholarships that can cover up to $19,000. The University of Pikeville, along with Maryville and Southwestern University have also added scholarship programs for incoming gamers.
The Warren eSports League (WESL), with 55 members, allows a student to gain an exciting experience where the team can work with others and compete in the largest eSports video game in the world. When playing the game with friends, the team must strategize to utilize both offense and defense. Without working together the team is unlikely to win, which creates a very tense gaming experience.
The team is coached by Mr. Joshua Law, who has been the coach for the two years the team has been apart of Warren Central. He is the one who assigns captains and assists the newer players.
This semester members will be put through a round robin tournament against the other Warren teams, with each team being picked at random. This allows less experienced players to practice with more experienced counterparts.
Practice for the team is easy because the game draws in 32 million players per month who the team can compete against. The team meets in room G221 on Mondays and Fridays after school.
The team is starting a round robin, where WESL players go head-to-head with each other to help decide who would make up the strongest team. After the round robin is completed, a double elimination round takes place, allowing the team to gain experience with each other.
“Each match is different. Different opponents, different characters you can play, drastically different roles for each of the team’s members, so it never gets dull” said Law, who uses the round robin to make the teams as strong as they need to be by pair captains who know how to lead with players who are strong in different aspects of the game.
To be a member of the eSports team a student cannot have D’s or F’s, must stay out of trouble and not get suspended. If a student misses four practices or one competition without having told Law beforehand, that student will also be removed from the team. Tryouts for the team occur at the beginning of each semester.
SENIOR NICOLAS KENNEDY battles his friends during a practice. The team practices every Monday and Friday.
Photo by Josh Wall