Experience Gained – A seasonal review
As students, alumni and society members we know there’s one thing this scene has in abundance, and that’s passion. Our major priority this year will be to help all of you gain the chance to express it whether in-game, at live varsity events or by growing your society into something truly special.
Before we get to our new plans for next season we thought we’d take a quick look at where we are. So here’s last season in brief:
- The season began with us launching our new national & regional format for League of Legends which saw over 4000 players face off and finished on stage at the University of Birmingham. This makes it the most competitive season of games we’ve ever had.
- We added Overwatch to our roster of games and have a fantastic community growing there. You may have heard the name Boombox who plays for Durham University, he’s qualified to attend Blizzcon representing the UK at Overwatch. Not bad for a student eh?
- We welcomed Vainglory to a host of universities by helping to support societies organise new and existing events with prizes (and lots of pizza!).
The increasing stability of the UK LoL scene with tournaments such as the ESL Premiership and UK Masters have given students the chance to take a step up from our larger grassroots tournaments and compete in the more elite national scene. This natural synergy between these tournaments and our own is growing stronger each year with more and more of our players competing in them and them providing more player and staff opportunities for the student scene.
Seeing out last season were two of the most successful collegiate esports events of all time, the University Esports Masters (UEM) and the International College Cup (ICC). Here’s a snapshot of both:
The University Esports Masters
The UEM brings together collegiate esports from six European nations in competition and friendship. Together with France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain we’ve united to put on the biggest international student-run tournament in the world. The finals of the UEM took place in Portugal and we were privileged to play a role. Alas the UK team couldn’t bring it home, but Warwick put on a performance they can be proud of.
The International College Cup
The ICC saw collegiate teams from around the world compete to be crowned the best university LoL team in the world. Taking place in Wuhan(China), it saw teams from: China, Europe, North America, South East Asia, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong fighting for glory and the ICC trophy. We were proud to have been chosen by Riot to produce the English language broadcast for the event with our casters knocking it out the park (no bias I promise)! And look forward to what next year’s tournament brings.
Taking the Objectives – The season to come
In under two weeks, on Sunday 24th September, we’ll be on the Twitch stage at EGX in Birmingham showcasing to the world live on twitch.tv/twitch what it is we all do. Join us at the NEC to watch the games or have a chat with the NUEL staff, we’d love to see you down there!
Improved Society Support
We’re in the process of gaining some major new sponsors who will help us create meaningful and substantial support packages for societies and the events you put on. This began with our recent announcement with Riot and will continue with different partners throughout the next 6 months.
We’ll also be making our expertise more accessible by helping with tasks such as running your own broadcasts, hosting your own LAN and promoting your events. This will include: compiling FAQ’s on all these topics, hosting advisory meetings on our rep discord and providing live support where possible.
Revamped League of Legends National & Regional format
For those of you just wanting to get into game, we’ve revamped our League of Legends format extensively to make it more exciting, less of a slog and much clearer. A dedicated post outlining the new format will be released in the coming weeks.
Community & Scrim nights
We’re temporarily dropping our full term long Hearthstone tournament from our Tuesday slot to allow for Community nights & a weekly Scrim night. This will be your chance to get to know those on other teams and play games we don’t run competitively. We plan to offer prizes to the societies who can martial the biggest and/or fastest growth in attending these online events and we hope they can provide something new for your society and its members.
For those of you who just want more competition we’ll be encouraging you to use this time slot for scrims. We’ll be mostly hands off with this but will provide scheduling support & tools at a later date if necessary.
Hearthstone fans fear not, this is just a pause in our tournaments while we bring them up to the standard of our other games and you can expect them to return in the not too distant future. With much more interesting , relevant prizes and with superior formats for you to enjoy!
A comment on the recent NUS motion
We are always inspired by the passion that individual members of the UK collegiate esports scene show in improving the scene whatever form it may take. It makes us want to try even harder. Whether it be our founder Josh Williams serving on the British Esports Association’s advisory board, having an active role within UKIE (including contributing last year towards the first esports whitepaper to be recognised by the UK government) and connecting our community internationally to other collegiate scenes by being a dedicated member in the UEM, we are continually pushing ourselves to reach our goal of bringing what we all love to an even wider audience. It is happening, but it can be a frustratingly slow process. As someone who was part of the University of York’s gaming society ‘Fragsoc’ during the ‘points at varsity‘ (Roses) fiasco I learnt the hard way how tedious and disappointing these obstructions can be. But it is not a tale of defeat. Esports is now recognised at the Roses varsity, Oxford and Cambridge have held multiple esports varsity events and more will follow. With the help and support of Riot, Twitch, but most importantly students like you we can build collegiate esports into something that will be its own justification.