An eSports league recently began in America on Feb 15th. The game: Heroes of the Storm, The region: North America, Participating Teams: 282, and time: from Feb 15 to Apr 8th. Of course, this is none other than “Heroes of the Dorm.”
Heroes of the Dorm is the world’s largest HotS college league. Universities from all around the States gather to win the cup, regardless of the high competition rate. In terms of competition rate, Heroes of the Dorm is the world’s most competitive sports league.
Last year’s participants were a total of 482 teams. Even though this year’s participants are only half the amount compared to last year’s, 282 is still a huge number. These teams will go through the region division and playoffs in order to make it to the round of 64. The 64 remaining teams will then have tournaments until the best team becomes the winner. That is a lot of matches to go through, but every match will be a valuable experience for every player.
Let us see what exactly Heroes of the Dorm is, how it became this popular, and who will be the next “Hero of the Dorm.”
How an amateur league became the largest eSports league
As mentioned above, Heroes of the Dorm is held in North America, which means the participants are from all 50 states. This is a lengthy and large region division. The region division divides North America into four regions: North, South, East, and West. Participating teams from each region must play against each other in order to make it to the single elimination tournament. 78 teams from the North, 57 teams from the South, 66 from the East, and 81 from the West are participating in this season.
Each area already had its first match on either Feb 15th or 16th. The region division will be held for three weeks in a Swiss-system tournament. Each team will have one match per day and a total of 5 matches during the region division. The winning team will have their next match with another winning team, and the same rule applies for the losing team. For the winning teams, the matches become more challenging as time passes. After going through all 5 matches, each team evaluates their win/loss ratio.
After the three-week long region division is over, all teams with a winning percentage higher than 3/5 will make it to the single-elimination playoffs. The playoffs are held from March 4th to 9th, and last until the highest 16 teams are left in each region. However, only one team per school is eligible to enter the playoffs. If more than one team is eligible, the teams will have a tiebreaker to determine who will be the one to make it to the playoffs.
16 teams from each region make it to the round of 64, and they are divided into groups in order to have Best of 5 matches. The total prize pool equals $500,000, some of which will be rewarded as a scholarship. Each member of the final winning team can receive up to $25,000 within a three year period.
This is probably why Heroes of the Dorm became a popular eSports event. Every college students who likes to play HotS can start their own team and play for their respective school. Even if they don’t become the final winner, it will still be a great memory.
Another unique aspect of Heroes of the Dorm is that Facebook will be one of the live streaming platforms starting from this year. Facebook now supports a live stream system, and is willing to expand their business to video game live-streaming. We will find out soon if Facebook is different from other live streamers like Twitch, and if Facebook will successfully compete against them. (Heroes eSports Facebook Page)
The Story of the “Heroes” of Heroes of the Dorm
The four teams that made it to the semifinals last year were Tennessee State University, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Connecticut, and Arizona State University. The four schools fought against each other for two days, and the final winner was Real Dream Team from Arizona State University. Real Dream Team had a 3-0 victory in the finals, and zero losses in the whole tournament. The team’s win/loss score reads: 25 wins/ 0 losses. This is what the best team is capable of.
Each member of Real Dream Team received a $25,000 reward as scholarship. In addition, MichaelUdall, one of the members of Real Dream Team, became an official member of the pro HotS gaming team Gale Force eSports. Just like in other sports, a talented individual started in university league and made it to the pro league.
MichaelUdall is now the MVP of Gale Force eSports. The team is one of the best four teams in North America in the 2017 HGC (Heroes of the Storm Global Championship) and has secured their entry in the Western Clash. The team is now aiming for a higher place and we will surely meet them on global stages.
Heroes of the Dorm might be an amateur league, but it is full of chances for players to prove themselves and discover opportunities to become pros. Participants go through a large number of matches, spends hours and hours practicing, and are always thinking of a new strategy in order to win the tournament.
▲Tespa's documentary film on Heroes of the Dorm
Tespa, a North American collegiate eSports organization, focused on the participants and the winners after the tournament. They tried to deliver the message that video games are not just for kids and are now a form of entertainment. Tespa interviewed parents and faculty members, who all had similar reactions towards the tournament. At first they thought students were supposed to study, and not waste their time playing video games. But as the students earned their tuition on their own, their negative perception has changed. eSports is more than just video games. It is a way people can prove themselves, and even support their family.
A lot of people tell students that they should pursue their dreams, but in reality, there aren’t that many choices when they are stuck in the box called school. Despite this, these students are pursuing their dreams outside of the box.
The Story of the Heroes Continues
Watching Heroes of the Dorm was surely a dramatic experience. Average students gathered around as one group from hundreds of teams and a select few from thousands of players, overcame all the hardships, became the final victor, and proved themselves to be the best. This is what we wanted to see; the story of true heroes.
Will Heroes of the Dorm write another hero story this year? The answer is: of course it will. Although students might lack skill and experience, their passion towards eSports and HotS is enough to make the tournament unbelievably intense and captivating. They will surely make themselves shine in the tournament.
Which team will be the winner and what kind of story will they bring to us? The battle has already begun. It is not just people playing video games, but a story of growing up and proving oneself. That is what makes college eSports so special, and why we must watch Heroes of the Dorm this year.