Ten Ton Hammer has a team live at the SMITE World Championship 2015 and yours truly is here "live" (I mean, if you read this a month from now...) reporting in on the tournament so far and some random thoughts I've pontificated on while the matches were going on.
SMITE World Championship Thoughts So Far
Well, I'm sitting here between matches and I figured I'd share some of my opinions with everyone and some personal experiences so far. I would say that, for sure, there is a big event and it's important to note that SMITE has essentially the same feel as any MMO battleground / arena, from WildStar to WoW back over to Guild Wars 2, there only limitation is the number of skills used and the lack of persistence, but otherwise it's pretty much just MMO PvP and I think it definitely shows that if an MMO can pull off a even playing field sport like PvP system, there could be just as much excitement for it.
Some other thoughts are that, while I'm not too hyped about the way the brackets work, I will say that everything is running smoothly here. Matches are going off without a hitch and we're still early into the placement matches, it'll be awhile before we get to the meaty matches where there is the possibility for some interesting upsets, like SK Gaming overtaking COG or Titan coming up and "smiting" the competition - bad pun intended.
Excitment is thick among fans, who you can easily tell just from casual conversation and even cheering that they're here for COG Red / Prime or SK Gaming, although of course We Love Bacon has a strong following, if nothing else for the fans of bacon.
If any of you have questions about SWC or anything like that, feel free to ping me at @orangekun on Twitter.
Here are some blurry phone shots of the championship, for those of you at home who wonder what it's like to sit in the big theater and watch what I consider to be one of the biggest video game tournaments in the world so far, especially if you judge by prize pool, which is the third largest in eSports history. Talk about extreme!
The Lack of Skins During the Tournament
It seems there is a lot of "upset" and I'm putting that in air quotes to sort of marginalize that it isn't that big of a deal, but it appears the community craves the teams using the various skins. The tournament is using its own specific build that uses the default skins on all heroes, which some in the community would wish the players could pick from the various skin options.
The Excitement of eSport Teams
There is a lot of hype about eSport tournaments and various teams and it needs to begin bleeding over into MMO in my opinion, it's something that the MMO PvP scene needs and I think that it'd be rather healthy, especially in games like World of Warcraft. Here's a great example - here at the SMITE World Championship, the headline teams - COG Red / COG Prime / SK Gaming / Titan are major fan favorites and are capable of sparking a lot of enthusiasm from the community.
What's interesting is that kind of enthusiasm was present in WoW and still sort of is, for world first raid kills. Arena seasons used to draw that kind of interest and was a major driving force for why players tried to get their rank up, but now there is less emphasis on guilds and groups in MMO, while in eSports you can hear the screams of hundreds, if not thousands, for specific teams.
In the original Guild Wars there was a huge fan following for the top 10 guilds. Even though there was a large amount of turnover on the leaderboards for GvG, there is a specific kind of excitement when there is a known entity that is doing something within these virtual worlds we live in, so it's always good to have that.