Posted on Sunday, December 2nd, 2012 at 6:39 PM by Guest
This week we shall be looking at the games of eSports. We shall see why they suit the format and just what makes a good eSports game. Let us jump straight in.
Starting off we should probably tackle a couple of the biggest games eSports has to offer, StarCraft 2. StarCraft has enjoyed a large amount of exposure in eSports with Korea even having its own dedicated StarCraft 2 tournament TV channels. This game is an obvious choice for the eSports world. It has complex strategies, it is fast paced and there is a high amount of action involved in the play. These three mixed make it as captivating to watch as it is to compete.
StarCraft is played 1v1 with players choosing between three factions Protoss, Terran or Zerg. The factions all have unique traits which require careful attention to know how to counter. Watching a StarCraft 2 competitive match for the first time can be a daunting experience. But after the basics are grasped you start discovering the many layers that the game has. This means as you are spectating you start to get as involved as you would with any other competitive sport.
Another huge game in eSports or rather genre is the MOBA genre. This is at large represented by League of Legends (LoL) and Defence of the Ancients 2 (DOTA2). There are other games in the genre making their way into the eSports circuit but LoL and DOTA2 are the primary games you’ll see at eSports events.
These games also require immense amounts of planning and strategy, the Heroes or Champions are well balanced which suits competitive play and a bout between a group of players is often played out in the blink of an eye. It is important to note that there are 10 players on the field at a time but only two teams. A lot of eSports teams have 5 dedicated MOBA players to represent them. Communication in these games is vital to success and as with StarCraft, at first this can seem overwhelming. This terminology list should go some way to explaining the tactics used within the games.
Counter-Strike is a FPS game with a long eSports heritage. The game requires quick reflexes and vast map knowledge. A typical match sees two teams of five pitted against each other. One team has an objective to complete or alternatively you can take out the opposing forces to win the round. Gameplay is often easier to follow due to the FPS nature yet still requires a good amount of communication and teamwork for a team to succeed.
One important thing to note is that rounds are timed, as well as once you’re out you are out for the round. A stray bullet from a friend or leaving yourself exposed could result in a premature end to the round for you. This creates a tense and often dramatic atmosphere as the games are played out. There is also an economy system in Counter-Strike that requires a lot of thought behind and often involves teams going on ‘Eco-Rounds’ where they attempt to save some cash by not buying a weapon in order to get access to the higher tier weaponry should the round be successful for them. These often allow for more flourishing kills as you witness pistols take on sniper rifles at long ranges with varying degrees of success.
So we have three large scale eSports games and there are plenty more to add to the list. A list of some of the other games can be found here. But what makes these better than the other games out there for the eSports market. What are these games doing that attracts the attention of the hyper competitive players in the eSports community?
One element is what is known as the ‘skill ceiling’, this refers to the maximum level at which a game can be played. The skill ceiling is what defines the possible success an eSports game, there has to be a point in which the dedication put into the game provides a significant advantage. Whilst you could argue that anyone that spends a vast amount of time playing a game should gain an advantage over the average player, there is a point where the layers of the game stop and you reach a maximum level of ability.
Games such as StarCraft 2, Counter-Strike and the MOBAs have enough layers that you can spend hours investing your time into a certain load out, faction or hero only to have that plan thwarted after a few matches. This creates constantly evolving gameplay and breeds competition. These games also have another common detail. The teams are small and so are the maps.
This means that it is possible to put a team together. Prize finds only need to be shared among a few so it allows these Pro Gamers to continue to do this as their living. These games can also provide special eSports game types and maps to make sure that the action is fair and a lot of effort goes into making sure that eSports has been targeted as a main part of the games success.
When defining the characteristics of an eSports game you have to remember that it is competition that is the main focus. Gameplay needs to be fast, engagements need to be happening but not too frequently that it becomes hard to follow and there needs to be close action between the teams. Huge maps and large teams would create too much going on at once for any commentators or spectators to track the matches progress and there would be moments where teams could be at large distances from each other creating essentially dead air.
And so another eSports weekly comes to a close. Next week we shall be discussing what steps you should be taking should you want to become an eSports competitor. So make sure you drop on by and bring your A game.
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