Last Saturday night I walked into Wege Auditorium to compete in what YikYak proclaimed “the pinnacle of athletics at Williams,” a video game tournament. The competition, sponsored by the Williams Association of Role-Players (WARP), featured League of Legends, a computer game, as well as Hearthstone, available on both PC and mobile devices.
League of Legends is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena game (MOBA) in which two teams of five players select “champions” to fight each other and destroy the opposing base. Also simply referred to as “League,” the game currently holds the position for most played PC game in the world, with approximately 27 million players daily. League also boasts an active global competitive scene that also draws many players.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is an online turn-based collectible card game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. Set in the Warcraft universe, the game is a one-versus-one battle where players choose weapons, spells or minions from their hands to defeat their opponents. Released March 2014, the game now has over 25 million players.
“I wanted to hold a video game tournament because I knew there were a lot of people here on campus who enjoyed League of Legends and Hearthstone,” WARP President Sam Park said. “There aren’t any groups here on campus that are really focused on the new gaming scene that has taken Williams in the past two years, and I thought WARP was most suited to it, since we do a lot of game-y stuff on campus. And since I’m the president of WARP, I thought that I could make it happen. The gaming community exists here at Williams. It’s just fragmented with gaming circles here and there, so all we needed was an event to bring everyone together.”
The event began at 7 p.m. in Wege Auditorium. Refreshments including pizza were served, and other games such as Cards against Humanity and Resistance were available as well.
The League of Legends tournament featured four teams in a single elimination bracket format. While my team was able to make it to the finals, we eventually fell to the team consisting of Chris Chandler ’15, Ben Drews ’18, Benji Jones ’15, Hae-min Jung ’17 and Andy Yao ’17. Each winning player received a $10 RP gift card to purchase in-game champions and skins. The Hearthstone tournament featured 11 players in a double elimination bracket format. Juchan Kim ’18 and Park were the two finalists. Each player received a $20 Blizzard gift card to purchase card packs and other Blizzard services.
I was initially uncertain how this event would turn out, but I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who were willing to spend an entire night playing League together and having fun. In addition, there were people attending who had never even played these games before, but were still eager enough to come.
“I’m glad that Saturday’s event went well,” Park said. “While not everything went according to plan, everyone seemed to enjoy it. It was more of a nerdy social event. People just came to talk and play video games with each other and just have a good time relaxing with like-minded people. For every one player that came to play in the tournament, four people came just to watch and socialize with others as a fun event. Hopefully, WARP will be hosting even more successful events like this next year!”