Lifetap Volume 1.0, Issue #040 - SMITE World Championship Day One Recap
In the latest fever-induced issue of Lifetap, Sardu recaps his journey into the heart of professional gaming following the first day of the SMITE World Championship.
Professional gaming is an odd beast. I’ve been to a handful of pro events over the years, but those have mainly been of the MLG variety which tend to be a bit like a hydra with a personality crisis. In other words, there are too many events running simultaneously for you to ever get a sense of where the action is, or the overall importance of any given team or individuals competing in the grand scheme of things.
The first day of the SMITE World Championship has been an altogether more focused and enjoyable experience across the board. It helps immensely that I’m already a fan and currently active player of the game, but even if that weren’t the case, you have to appreciate the spectacle of the thing. Between the thunderous roar of thousands of fans each time a major team play would occur, to the easily digestible format of the event, SWC may just change my opinion of pro gaming events for the better.
Unlike the MLG Hydra, SWC is a focused and determined monster of a gaming event that even a relative outsider to the pro gaming scene has been able to enjoy on a number of levels. I’ve even found myself rooting for teams and players that, up until a few days ago, I never even knew existed.
Attendees have certainly come out in force to root for their favored North American teams, but the teams from other regions have also had their fair share of vocal supporters throughout the first day of elimination matches. Of course, the crowd favorites have been Cognitive Prime who closed the first day with two solid wins under their belt. BaRRaCCuDDa, Cog Prime’s hunter, seems to have a fairly solid fan base in particular, with massive applause at the mere mention of his name.
Of course, from our seats near the stage the view was oddly spectacular and horrendous at the same time. The teams were practically walled off from view during matches creating a slight disconnect from the action playing out on the massive screen at center stage. Likewise, I don’t think I could make out more than one out of every 100 words muttered by the commentators. Something about the blend of deep base from character movement and skills and the midrange tones of their voices clashed at all but the most heated moments when they’d begin squealing like excited school children during recess.
I can see why watching streams of tournaments is so popular, because chances are the view and clarity of the commentary are no doubt a million times better.
At the same time, there is something to be said about the overall energy in the room during matches. Unlike other pro sports where you’re sat on uncomfortable bleachers and surrounded by folks more interested in their stale beer and rubbery hotdogs, fans at SWC have been genuinely engaged. This more than made up for any of the funkier aspects of being physically present for the event.
Between matches, fans flocked to the Hall of the Gods for a chance to check out the Xbox One client for SMITE which is shaping up quite nicely from what we’ve seen so far. The UI has been completely redone and handles things like inventory and menus in general quite elegantly.
There are also some slick 3D printed statues of favorite SMITE characters for purchase that seem to be selling like hotcakes minus the butter and syrup. They do seem to be incredibly detailed and well crafted, and I made sure to snag one for an upcoming giveaway of some kick-ass SMITE swag from the World Championship.
All told, SWC has been a highly positive experience so far, and I’m looking forward to the next two days of the event. At this stage it’s hard to say who will be the overall victor for the weekend, but both Cognitive Prime and SK Gaming have played incredibly well so far.
As a side note, the command center for SK is located next door to my own for the weekend, and from the sound of things they’re in very high spirits following a solid opening day.
Tomorrow I’ll be diving into some hands-on play with SMITE on Xbox One so be on the lookout for my impressions over the next few days. We’ll also be speaking with the folks at Hi-Rez about their plans heading into Season Two for SMITE, including the shiny new Conquest map and some of the other surprises they may still have up their sleeves.