eSports Week 2: Mirrored Maps Madness

Prompt: With the understanding of how to create and run a tournament, create a 16-team bracket, and generate a random result and share those results. Describe how teams qualify, venue location, timing, staff needs, team needs, marketing, activation, sponsorship, ect. Argue for why your tournament would be successful and identify the biggest challenges for its creation. Evaluate the fan engagement of a major tournament and how they keep their fans happy and engaged. Identify and research an issue in the assigned reading and in your independent reading.


Link to tournament!

So I actually took the inspiration for this tournament from one I ran back when I was a community leader in the Team Fortress 2 Steam Forums. It was one of our most successful tournaments for a couple reasons: The spectators tuned in to see the mind-bending maps that were so similar yet so wrong, and the players took advantage of the plausible deniability of playing maps that were designed to be confusing, resulting in crazy frags and gutsy plays. It felt like an eSports version of Fischer Chess.

Team qualification would be a real problem, I’m not sure how we would handle this since nobody’s going to have prior histories on the chosen maps. (Back in the day this issue wasn’t applicable because we created the teams using whoever showed up to play).

I’ve noticed that professional tournaments love using data to generate fan engagement and interest. They use data to create storylines for specific players and teams, and to backup their predictions on what will happen next. I think one reason data is so successful for creating this user interest is that it makes the listener feel smart just by watching. When I watch CS:GO, a game I love but I’m not particularly good at, I’m partially studying the pros to see how I can improve, and when the casters point out some data trend and then tie it into the current meta, I feel like I just got better at the game by learning that.

I found the problems discussed in chapter 6 of Good Luck Have Fun very interesting to read, because I absolutely agree that eSports is suffering from its intrinsic link with internet culture and the problems therein. It’s sobering to remember that eSports is currently struggling to become a place where women and under-represented groups can feel comfortable participating as players or spectators, due in large part to the sheer difficulty in moderating the seething masses of young male internet fans participating at all times. I’m reminded of an article I wrote after ESL Cologne 2016, where I discussed Twitch chat and its meme-laden immaturity. I wrote that it was crass but ultimately harmless, and contributed positively to the experience by showing the viewer they were part of an active and interested community. Scarcely had my article been published that another writer, a young woman named Medic, wrote a rebuttal asserting that Twitch chat was not, in fact, harmless. In many ways (especially the way it reacted whenever a woman appeared on screen), Twitch chat was actively discouraging her from investing in the community because it was telling her that women were neither welcome nor expected to be interested anyway. As I’ve developed tournaments and created promotional content since then, I’ve tried to always remember what Medic’s article taught me, that I must be vigilant in noticing when an environment is fostering negative experiences even if I’m not one of the ones being targeted.

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