Ball State joined the game, as a new challenger. Anyone familiar with Super Smash Bros. probably knows that phrase. With the growing popularity of eSports, BSU students have created their own team and are competing nationally. They join 200 chapters across North America that are part of Tespa, a “network of college clubs founded to promote gaming culture and host the best college eSports events and competitions.”
On campus, Cardinal eSports already has 15 students registered on Benny Link, even before the fall call-out meeting. While Cardinal eSports is already a year old, it became an official organization in Oct. 2016.
Founded by Chase Neukam, Cardinal eSports participated in the Tespa Overwatch training grounds in May and then the Tespa Collegiate Series tournament coming out with a 1-4 record.
Tespa says the tournament took place over three months starting with a five week group stage where schools played one match per week. Teams with a positive win/loss record (3-2 or higher) advanced to the single elimination regional playoffs. Each player on the winning team won $6,000 in scholarships. Before the tournament last year, Cardinal eSports had been training with its sister organization at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
“We lost a lot but it was a good learning experience. Miami, our sister school, was really cool and trained with us. They kicked our butts but they were good sports about it," Neukam said.
The team also participated in two League of Legends tournaments at Indiana University-Kokomo and IPFW. Anthony, known in-game as Godsavedd on the red team, said they “did pretty well for [their] ranks.” He is an ADC on the team, which stands for attack damage carry. This means he is the one doing most of the damage during a match. He said they came out winning more than half of the games throughout the two tournaments. They will have everyone from the team back this year and hope to do better because of it.
With prize pools upwards of $120,000 in scholarships in the Tespa tournament, alone, many schools are creating their own eSports teams. When most players have been playing video games for years, they enjoy the opportunity to play competitively. Anthony has been playing video games for more than 12 years.
“I joined Cardinal eSports because one of my friends mentioned that there was a club that is more dedicated [to] the eSport side of things so I decided to go to the call out meeting and I enjoyed playing with a group of people for League [of Legends],” Anthony said.
According to Neukam, Cardinal eSports’ goal for this year is to host their own tournament at Ball State.