The task of building a championship eSports team – when dealing with the regular ups and downs of many organizations – becomes all the more difficult when the necessary pieces to the puzzle are nowhere to be found. Cal Dota 2 has experienced a slight fall from grace over the past few years. After winning the Collegiate Starleague National Championship in 2015, the team has become less competitive because of continual drops in individual skill.
The main concern is not how the team fares this season, but how to generate more interest in competitive Dota 2 for future seasons in order to rejuvenate the program. If they fail to do so this offseason, they fear that the foundation for a Dota 2 team may no longer be here at Cal after they leave. Cal’s competitive academic environment certainly isn’t helping the lack of interest in Dota 2 either. Given how focused people are on classes and other extracurriculars, it can be hard to put in the hours needed to really improve at playing Dota 2, let alone stick to a team’s practice and competitive schedule. Despite these factors, the potential for a large Dota 2 following at Cal is not out of reach, with a larger gathering of individuals at extracurricular events than one might expect from just looking at the surface level of the community. If they succeed and the team lives on, it may be a sign that Dota 2 – as well as esports in general – is here to stay at Cal.
Ryerson eSports team competing for championship glory
The grand finals of the largest international collegiate eSports league in the world are coming up, and Ryerson has home-court advantage. More than 1,500 teams representing 900 schools competed in various title games under the CSL banner this season. Four tournaments will be played over the course of three days, with teams competing for victory in four games: StarCraft II, Dota 2, CounterStrike: Global Offensive and League of Legends. Ryerson is entered in the League of Legends invitational, a tournament solely for the four Canadian teams CSL asked to participate. The official University League of Legends finals-organized by Riot Games-will take place later in May.
Gaffney said she has a lot of respect for Canadian collegiate eSports teams, adding that many Canadian teams have been successful in the league. UBC also happens to be the team Ryerson will be playing in their opening game. Mirela Tsvetkova, an incoming psychology student at Ryerson and the manager of the school’s League of Legends eSports team, will be coaching the school’s five-player team through the tournament. With the venue close in proximity to Ryerson, Tsvetkova is optimistic that many of the people who expressed interest in supporting the team will be able to come and watch. Tsvetkova said she doesn’t know what her team will receive if they win, but didn’t seem too worried about prizes.
Win or lose, the Ryerson team will begin its new season in September with tryouts. They’re aiming for the ultimate eSports glory. For now, they’re just trying to get past UBC.