April 1, 2023

A Closer look at USU Eastern’s newest sport, E-Sports

Have you heard the news? Utah State University Eastern is getting an E-Sports team. By the time you read this article, tryouts will be over for the most part, but the teams for the games will be mostly set. But what are E-Sports, exactly? To put it simply, E-Sports are competitive video games. The team will be going to competitions and playing against other teams.

At minimum five different games will be played, and each has its own draws and quirks. The games include: Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, Hearthstone, League of Legends, Rocket League and Overwatch. Five genres of games will be played, which include some of the greatest games in its respective genre.

For starters, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, or just Smash Bros, is the sixth game in the long-running series, dating back to the Nintendo 64. It’s an infamous series of fighting games, a hall of fame for gaming icons, that’s garnered attention from fighting game enthusiasts everywhere. It’s a classic.

In no other game can you see Mario get punched with a flaming Falcon Punch, only for the user Captain Falcon to suddenly get hit over the head with a Shoryuken from Ryu of Street Fighter fame.

In no other series do you see some of the absolutely insane matchups Smash Bros can bring to the table. RPGs, fighting games, puzzle games, racing games, platformers, all kinds of characters are here for an intense clash to determine who’s the best. The competitive scene for this game is fast paced, intense and like no other. It’s well worth a watch, if only to see what the hubbub is about. Who knows, you might find your new favorite game series from it.

Of course, let’s not forget Hearthstone. This is a different one. Hearthstone is a card game developed by Activision Blizzard, featuring cards based in the lore of their famous Warcraft series.

Strange, fantastical creatures are brought together from this series to create deck archetypes that are all unique unto themselves, be they the Pandarin, pandas that are also martial artists, (sound familiar?) or the Blood Elves, a different take on the pale elves of other series.

All forms of decks bring their own unique synergies and unexpected plays to the table, and some ways the cards can interact will shock you.

 The third game is League of Legends. Surely you have heard of it at some point? It’s been around for years, but still played regularly. Dozens of characters competing in five versus five matches, as the players balance grinding for EXP, destroying enemy towers and slowly pushing into enemy territory to destroy their base.

It’s a strategic game that requires hundreds of thousands of hours to master, and only the best of the best teams with coordination, teamwork and skill will prosper.

Teams will frantically scramble for resources to destroy each other, constantly trying to outwit the other. It’s a spectacle to behold, and has been for 10 years straight.

There is always Rocket League as an option. I don’t know what mad man decided Rocket Cars and Soccer was a good combination, but they are a mad genius and should be praised for their insanity. It’s a wonderful combo that works excellently. Six players, two teams, three players each.

All of them pilot rocket powered cars, that soar through the air and slam into each other at ludicrously high speeds, all in the pursuit of achieving a goal. It’s a simple game, but sometimes the simplest of games are the best.

Lastly, is Overwatch. Released by Activision Blizzard in 2016, the game has been going strong for three years.

A team based first-person shooter, Overwatch features a diverse cast of 30 characters, and up to five characters can be featured on a team. There are three different classes of Hero as well, Offense, Defense, and Support, all three are vital roles. The Offensive Heroes are small but deadly fighters, capable of dealing high amounts of damage in short periods of time, but in exchange have small health pools.

Defense Heroes on the other hand are walls of steel, impregnable, but they can’t dish the damage out the way Offense Heroes can.

And, the Supports, are tasked with keeping their teammates alive and dealing with the pain of being targeted by every member of the enemy team. Each Hero has their own unique skills and weapons to bring to the table, resulting in thousands of possible interactions. It’s controlled chaos and that’s why it’s adored.

All of these games are being played by Easterns’ E-Sports team. Give them your support and watch the games when they go to competitions. You might be impressed by just what they have to bring to the table and maybe even get into playing the games yourselves. After all, like any good sport, E-Sports is about reaching for the top and being the best you can be. Why not join the pursuit?

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