Drew University's eSports team was conceived last spring, in part due to President Baenninger who suggested to Coordinator of Campus Recreation Kerry Klug that she wanted to see something cultivated on campus. Now, seven months later, the eSports team, run by Luke Henry (‘21) with the advisement of Klug, has made it to the final match of the ECAC Championships to be played on Tuesday, Dec. 4 against Marist University. A beaming Henry laughed as he explained, “The final should be fun, since we lost to Marist in the spring final for the ECAC test tournament to see if something could be organized among the universities.”
Henry enthusiastically explained that when tryouts were coming up he and Klug hoped they would get enough interest to field one team; they had thirty people show up. Drew eSports was able to make two teams for the League of Legends based tournament, a blue and a green team. The active roster has ten players, five to a team. Drew eSports Blue team is the team that will participate in the final against Marist.
The ECAC eSports tournament was made up of 18 universities, separated into three groups each made up of six teams. In order to advance to the playoffs, Drew had to compete in five weeks of play in matches in the game League of Legends. Then the top two seeds in each group bracket and the two runners up with the most points acting like wild cards made up the eight group playoff.
Next semester, eSports will be participating in the Landmark Conference, which is expected to be a bigger League of Legends tournament. The Landmark eSports Champion will go on to an additional online play in tournament with winners of other conferences. From there, if the Landmark Champion is ranked high enough, they will be invited to play in the University League of Legends (ULOL), hosted by the creators of League of Legends, Riot Games. Henry said, “The goal is to get to the play in tournament because ULOL is a college league with professional gamers.”
Tryouts for the Overwatch Team just concluded, however, the roster is still in the process of being established so anyone interested can reach out, as there will be open spots. There are six players to an Overwatch team. Keep on the lookout for flyers posted around campus as eSports will be expanding to include FIFA, Hearthstone, Fortnite and Call of Duty, with the tryouts happening in the Spring.
Currently, the eSports team members play individually in their rooms over coms to talk to each other in the game. At the club’s inception, team members would all bring their equipment to the Tolley/Brown lounge, but soon realized it was impractical. Henry said, “The team hopes to attain its own gaming space on campus where they will be able to practice together in person.” The individual space would allow for increased communication and team cohesion when it’s time to play for real in tournaments. Henry believes that by showing the success of the eSports club it can increase the likelihood of receiving funding from the University to make the hope for an individual space a reality.