eSports Club Presents Raffles, Ganks, and Nerdgasms
For those of you who don’t know, the hit online video game “League of Legends” — a massive online battle arena with over 30 million monthly players — is kind of a big deal.
How big of a deal? Enough to fill the Cybertorium on a Friday night at Penn State.
Riot Games, the company that created League of Legends, hosted its third annual LoL World Championships on internet streaming site TwitchTV during the months of September and October. 14 teams from around the world entered the Championship playoffs this season, representing North America, Europe, Korea, China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and Lithuania.
The Championship culminated in a best of five series last night between Korea’s SK Telecom and China’s Royal Club, with SKT defeating Royal 3-0 to earn the title of the best League of Legends team in the world — taking home a staggering grand prize of $1,000,000 in the process.
Despite being a casual fan of LoL, I tagged along with a couple of friends to the Cybertorium for Friday night’s viewing party hosted by the PSU Esports Club. And I have to say, it was an absolute blast.
Now, before you start making assumptions about how much fun a room full of guys and gals (mostly guys) can have watching other people play video games, I have one piece of advice: Go and experience it for yourself.
It’s hard to put into words how infectious the atmosphere is. Like any sport, there are lulls in the action. Teams have to concentrate on clearing waves of enemies called “minions,” in addition to attacking and defending turrets. So the exciting “player vs. player” action doesn’t happen throughout. But when it starts kicking off, it’s exciting as hell.
Whenever a team or champion fight is about to take place, there is a murmuring among the crowd, anxiously awaiting the upcoming action. When a battle starts taking place, the crowd erupts in vigorous yelling and screaming. It’s enough to make you stand up and cheer — even if you have not a sweet clue as to what the hell is actually happening.
Not to mention, one of the biggest aspects of League of Legends is surprise attacks, referred to in the community as “ganks”. Players hide from each other in bushes, obscured from their opponents view. When you see a champion about to pounce on unsuspecting prey, the excitement swells within the room until it bursts, resulting in a glorious exaltation of cheers — what they call a nerdgasm.
The PSU ESports Club deserves immense credit for putting on an awesome show. They brought tons of free food, raffled off free LoL swag, and organized a way for viewers to bet on which players would have the best stats at the end of the match.
They also had some hilarious activities and competitions going on in between games, including a drawing competition, trivia, and a freestyle competition (With the caveat of “no bitches, money, or weed shit”).
“We had a night brainstorming earlier this week, and we came up with silly ways to give away stuff,” Brian Horton, president of the PSU eSports Club said.
My personal favorite was the “Champion Impersonation” competition, offering a sweatshirt to the person who could best represent their favorite League of Legends character.
Here’s a sampling of some of the best impersonations, presented without context:
Nerdy girl with hipster glasses: “Shh…I’m charging my laser!”
Guy with afro: (In little girl’s voice) “You smell like burning!”
Girl in blue hoodie: “Have you seen my tibbers?”
Guy in black shirt with a bowl cut: (in a creepy, gravelly voice) “It’s only fun…if they run…”
Guy in long black hair and red shirt: “Eww, what’s that smell? Oh. It’s me.”
Guy in white PSU shirt: “Did I mention it’s mating season?”
Guy in cargo shorts: “My right arm’s a lot stronger than my left arm!”
Students especially enjoyed the free prizes, which included t-shirts, jackets, hats, and a top-of-the-line gaming mouse.
Aside from the disappointment of the best of five series being swept in three games by Korea’s SKT, everybody was able to enjoy themselves and just hang out with fellow LoL fans.
“I was overjoyed with the turnout,” Horton said. “That was way more people than I was expecting. I had us down for 70 people or so, but we ended up topping 100. That’s awesome.”
Interested in the eSports and League of Legends scene? Well, the club is always looking for new members, players, and fans.
“It’s pretty easy and fun to get into,” Horton said. “Just talk to people, and I’m sure they’ll love to play with you.”