Esports competition craze hits UW

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The Ontario eSports Series (OES) Waterloo Qualifier was held in the Mathematics 3 building at the University of Waterloo campus, Sept. 27. OES Waterloo was a collaboration between eSport Gaming Events (EGE) and the UW League of Legends Club (UWLoL), as well as Even Matchup Gaming (EMG). Winners of the qualifier would move onto provincials in tournaments for League of Legends (LoL) 5v5, Defense of the Ancients II (DoTA 2) 5v5, and Super Smash Brothers Melee (SSBM) 1v1.
The event ran from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the prize pool was at $750 divided amongst the three games, with <em>SSBM</em> taking around $300. Players each supplied their own controllers and laptops, with some devoted players bringing in heavy desktops and CRT monitors.


OES Waterloo attracted five <em>LoL</em> teams, three <em>DoTA2 </em>teams, and 23 <em>SSBM</em> players from across Ontario. Most attendees were students from the Kitchener-Waterloo region between the ages of 17 and 24. Other cities with OES qualifiers included London, Toronto, Ottawa, and Windsor.


EGE organizer Sean Byrne explained that the OES has been running for three years, holding a tournament each semester with fluctuating attendance. <em>LoL</em> has been the most popular event, but a rising interest in <em>SSBM </em>is predicted with the hype of the upcoming <em>Smash Brothers</em> releases from Nintendo.


UWLoL co-president Andr&eacute; Paradis attributes the popularity of <em>LoL</em> to it being beginner friendly with no steep learning curve, as well as being free to play. Once run through the UW Gaming Club, UWLoL has now evolved into a 429-member group since July 2014. Noted <em>LoL </em>players Denny and Daribou also participated in the event.


The UW Rookie Championship was held for casual <em>LoL</em> players. According to Paradis, to be a good <em>LoL</em> player, players should prioritize improving over winning. And the biggest challenge? Teamwork.


Teamwork was also cited as the number one challenge when speaking with <em>DoTA2</em> team &ldquo;Mariana Trench.&rdquo; Named after Vancouver&rsquo;s pop rock band, the five-person team travelled from Windsor to participate. Its members have been gaming for 4&ndash;10 years, and have competed as a team since October 2013.


<em>SSBM</em>, the oldest of the three games, has a dedicated crowd, such as Joe Cribari, an EMG member and player for nine years. Cribari, or &ldquo;toronto joe,&rdquo; is the president of York University&rsquo;s <em>SSBM</em> club. His advice for players transitioning to competitive play is to practice, come out to tournaments, and never forget to have fun.


Nationally ranked player WeonX also attended the events. EMG also received an unreleased North American version of the New 3DS from Nintendo and held a <em>SSBM</em> 3DS competition at OES Waterloo.


Commentated streams of all matches can be found at http://twitch.tv/evenmatchupgaming.
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