By: James Neyer ~Copy Editor~
After a close loss last year to UC Berkeley, Arizona State University’s Real Dream Team won the Heroes of the Dorm computer game competition. This competition was hosted by Blizzard Entertainment in Seattle and was broadcasted on ESPN2. What makes this competition unique is that it is in the budding genre of eSports and was a March Madness-styled event designed specifically for college students.
For their victory, the five players on Real Dream Team will have their college tuition paid for by Blizzard. In addition, every team member in the “Heroic Four” was granted a gaming PC worth around $1,100 and an all-expenses- paid trip to Seattle, where the final games were hosted.
This competition started with more than 500 teams from across North America. After a three-week qualifier, the 64 best teams from each region were chosen. The rules to enter were simple, requiring five part-time or full-time students at four-year colleges and universities in the United States or Canada to form a team. The tournament itself was played with a best of three format, with the final games being best of five. Though UT Arlington’s Dark Plaze put up a fight, the Real Dream Team defeated its competitor within the first three games, securing their prize.
This is the second running of Heroes of the Dorm, named after Heroes of the Storm, the video game that spawned the tournament.
Heroes of the Storm is a Massive Online Battle Arena (MOBA), similar to Dota 2 and League of Legends, though focusing on faster gameplay and teamwork. For viewers unaware of this game, or even genre, ESPN2’s broadcast featured commentators who explained the different parts of the game as well as the rules and situations quite frequently.
This competition is part of ESPN’s larger entry into the world of eSports and was met with mixed reviews. While some traditional viewers were entertained by the new competition, others were aghast as to how video games could be considered within the realm of sports. Despite these complaints, ESPN has started to embrace eSports more, with Heroes of the Dorm bringing in a more diverse audience. Replays of the games are available online at ESPN.com.