In our continued effort to capture the breadth of fandom, and our particular love of esports, we plan on bringing you a regular digest of the biggest stories, patch notes, streams, etc. from the world of esports. This week, Rainbow Six: Siege blasts into the esports scene, a Street Fighter legend takes a punch, Rocket League zooms into a new season, and more. Check out all the biggest esports stories below.
‘Overwatch’ beta makes its return
Blizzard has brought the popular (albeit exclusive) Overwatch beta back to its servers recently. The update features a new progression system, which is also part of its loot system. This update also brings a hefty changelog of gameplay tweaks that are geared toward shaping the competitive landscape of the game and making public games more enjoyable.
Ubisoft shoots its way into esports
Another tactical FPS making the headlines this month was Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six: Siege. The tactical shooter has big plans to grab a piece of the esports pie by starting a pro league for the best teams in the world. Starting in March, the top teams in ESL’s Go4R6 league will be invited to compete for a prize pool of $100,000.
For those unfamiliar with the game, R6: Siege is a heavily calculated shooter played inside structures that rewards execution and planning more than individual skill. Watching the best teams in the world should be an intriguing experience, especially for those looking to step up their game.
First female player in ‘League of Legends’ LCS steps down
Maria “Remi” Creveling recently stepped down from her starting position on the League of Legends team, Renegades.
Creveling cited mental pressures such as “anxiety and self-esteem” as the major factors contributing to her resignation. Aspiring female esport athletes are no doubt at a disadvantage, in no small part to the online harassment pervasive on the Internet, and this bit of news is a bit disparaging. Let’s hope Creveling can overcome and come back to the LCS soon.
You can read Creveling’s public letter here.
Heroes of the Dorm makes its return
Collegiate esports makes its return to ESPN this Spring with another Heroes of the Dorm tournament. Numerous Heroes of the Storm college teams will take part in a national tournament until four teams remain. The “Heroic Four” portion of the tournament will be aired on ESPN 2 April 9 – 10. Unique to this collegiate competition, players have a chance to win up to $75,000 in tuition.
‘League of Legends’ players run into visa issues
Russian jungler, “DiamondProx” and Armenian support Edward will be out indefinitely while their respective organizations work with the German embassy to obtain visas for the two players.
This has been an ongoing issue across esports. Some players from countries with stricter laws are not able to travel as freely as others and it results in a lot of hair pulling and heartbreak for organizations and players. The issue at hand is that most countries governments do not recognize esports as a legitimate reason for issuing a work visa and some are wary that their citizens will defect all together.
Hopefully, esports will continue to grow and the German authorities will see its positive impact for their country and citizens.
‘DOTA 2’ offers a new compendium
For awhile now, digital compendiums have accompanied most big DOTA 2 competitions. You could think of compendiums as programs you would buy at a sporting event. DOTA 2 compendiums were different in that they were more interactive and generally came with some special limited cosmetics. For the upcoming Shanghai Major starting this March, Valve will instead release a seasonal, and more sizeable, “Battle Pass.”
Quests are a new addition to the format and an interesting progression tree has many fans excited to show their proficiency in a role. A new betting platform will also allow players to wager task-earned tokens on matches to hopefully up their winnings and purchase their sought after cosmetics.
The Battle Pass will presumably remain available until the end of the Shanghai Major on March 6th and sells for $7.99.
Changes loom for ‘Hearthstone’
The now “Standard” Hearthstone format will restrict the card pool, effectively banning all cards available in the expansions. Meanwhile, the “Wild” format will remain the plain ol’ Hearthstone you’ve grown to love and admire. As you would expect, this move should mix up the meta, locking certain powerful cards and archetypes out of Standard play.
This weekend in San Francisco, Calif., a showmatch was organized between Daigo Umehara, widely regarded as the best Street Fighter player in the scene, and famous rapper/musician, Lupe Fiasco. In a best-of-five series, Lupe ended up taking home the victory much to the surprise of those in attendance and watching from home.
Some think the match was intentionally thrown. You can decide yourself by watching the match right here:
‘Rocket League’ rolls out new competitive season
For all you car-soccer enthusiasts out there, these past couple weeks have been exciting. The folks over at Psyonix have begun the highly anticipated season 2 of Rocket League. The multi-platform smash hit has been on gamers’ playlists for awhile now and the new season has brought some interesting changes, including a complete overhaul of its ranking system. New loot, performance boosts, a reporting system, and Rocket Labs have also been added.
Events to Watch
Halo World Championship NA Finals
February 19 – 21
The best that North America has to offer will be duking it out for the chance to be invited to the Halo World Championships in March. Sixteen North American teams will be participating for eight spots in a highly competitive region.