JoelSophie: “It won’t be very long before Korea fully shifts to FPP”

JoelSophie: “It won’t be very long before Korea fully shifts to FPP”

Taking a closer look at the Korean PUBG scene, we sat down with OGN’s and SPOTV’s caster and analyst, Seungmin “Joel Sophie” Lee.

Those following the Korean PUBG scene are well familiar with Joel Sophie and his work. He quickly became known for his deep knowledge of the game and established himself as one of the most insightful casters in the scene. Earlier this year, he was invited to cast at StarSeries i-League Season 1, alongside some of the best PUBG casters and analysts in the world.

Korean teams had a lot of success at PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS’ first major tournament ever. Gen.G Gold took the first place in the TPP tournament and their sister team Gen.G Black, while dominated on the first day of the competition, finished in respectable sixth position. But while Gen.G players had seen some success in the Charity Showdown, it did not go for them quite as planned in the FPP event. Although the Korean players had shown some promise, they still couldn’t compete on the less familiar FPP grounds, as both teams finished outside of the Top 8.

Joel Sophie talked about his career as an esports caster, gave us an insight into the Korean representatives at PUBG Global Invitational 2018, and discussed the further impact FPP will have on the Korean PUBG community.

Vie: Tell us a bit about how you ended up where you are now. How does one become an English caster for a Korean league?

JoelSophie: I got my first job in esports when I applied and was selected as a translator for OGN, working on the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) program, starting June 2016. During my journey, I formed aspirations to become a caster, so I let OGN know of my ambitions, and just a year after my translating debut, a position opened up for their Blade & Soul tournament, and that became my debut as an English caster.

Photo via Twitter

Vie: Why PUBG? What was it about it that made you go “I must get in on that”?

JoelSophie: Doing well for myself and gaining respect within the industry, my ambitions grew in wanting to get involved in a major title. However, I knew that established scenes, such as LoL, Overwatch, and CS:GO, already had their own established talents. That would make it difficult for me to break in past them.

I wanted a scene that was going to grow at the same pace as I was going to grow as a caster. When I was thinking that in late 2017, the game that fit that bill was PUBG. I had confidence in my skills, that it would be recognized, and that I could grow with PUBG in their own esports endeavor. It was also intriguing that its developer, PUBG Corp., is a Korean-based company, so I was excited for an opportunity to be directly involved in communication and to maintain a close connection. I let OGN know that I wanted to be considered as a candidate for their first PUBG tournament, PSS Beta. The competition was definitely fierce, but in the end, I was selected for the position, casting with @proxywolf. Now, I am providing full coverage for two of the three PUBG Korea League Pro Tours with OGN’s PSS and SPOTV’s PWM.

Vie: Let’s go a few weeks back, before the PGI. What were your expectations for the Korean teams there?

JoelSophie: I had the pleasure of being invited to cast for StarLadder’s StarSeries i-League PUBG back in March, where I had the privilege of witnessing the competition between the best from the West and the two invited Korean teams. Needless to say, the Korean teams were underwhelming when compared to the likes of FaZe Clan and Team Liquid. I wasn’t necessarily disappointed, but simply in acceptance of the fact that this is Korea’s current competitive state. I always kept a close eye on the European competition, whether it was GLL, Auzom, etc., knowing these teams were the best in the world of PUBG esports.

Simultaneously, I was casting the Korean tournaments while keeping track of their progress when compared to their previous February through March performances, when they showed that StarLadder, IEM Katowice, and PGL Bucharest weren’t the stage that Korea would come up to shine. I definitely saw a huge improvement from our teams, especially in FPP, to a point where I wasn’t afraid this time of them facing up against the best in the world. I expected at least a Top 5 Korean finish for TPP and a similar result for them in FPP. Admittedly, it was pleasantly surprising to seer Gen.G Gold finish at the top of TPP and just simply disappointing to see them finish their FPP run the way they did. I believe they could have done much better.

Vie: It’s no secret that TPP is huge in Korea. What is the general consensus there in terms of FPP? 

JoelSophie: Even today, the general player base in Korea isn’t heavily exposed to the FPP playing environment, being unaware of its benefits. Since PUBG was the first shooting game for many at the time, the initially introduced TPP mode quickly settled as the norm. When so many people had already invested hundreds of hours in the TPP mode before FPP was ever introduced, it became difficult to find reasons sufficient enough for them to change. However, it is a completely different story for the professional scene. After disappointing finishes from top representatives at international tournaments hosted in FPP, the truth started to creep in that doing well in FPP was going to be the only way to truly find global success.

Vie: Do you see Korea switching to FPP for good anytime soon?

JoelSophie: Even the domestic tournaments shifted heavily towards FPP in their most recent formats, and my assumption is that it won’t be very long before even Korea fully shifts to an all-FPP format.

Vie: So the TPP event at the Global Invitational went pretty much as you expected?

JoelSophie: I expected Team Liquid to closely rival the top position for TPP with their past success with unconventional competition modes. This happened when Miramar and TPP were first played in tournaments, and Liquid excelled in them. Those guys thrive under pressure and do amazing things in unexpected situations.

All in all, I think placing second was a good result for Liquid, and while OMG did well to place 4th, I was a bit disappointed in 4 Angry Men. I thought they would do just as well as OMG, and for Japan, the pure player base is just simply not enough to be competitive with Korea and China at the moment, and the infrastructure needs to be improved for them to find more success, so their result at PGI wasn’t too much of a surprise. With all that said, I would never consider ‘being the best’ being ‘bare minimum,’ but general success in TPP for Korea was definitely ‘more than expected.’

Photo via Starladder

Vie: The FPP tournament did not go quite so well for Korea, though. 

JoelSophie: I honestly believed that Gen.G Gold theoretically could’ve fought it out for that top FPP position. They were absolutely prepared enough to take it home. I can only speculate that just as with any other team, their most recent accomplishments relished over TPP and the Charity Event did lead to at least some amount of complacency. I know EscA and his experience with consecutive success in the past when he played Overwatch for Lunatic Hai, so I kept my trust in him to lead his team to a proper mindset, but the moment you lean towards ‘expecting to win’ is when teams will fall hard, even more so in PUBG.

Vie: So you think Gen. G Gold could’ve done better in the FPP event?

JoelSophie: Gen.G Gold did fall hard in FPP. They ‘expected’ to do well, and I’m confident that EscA and his team have learned a valuable lesson from all this. I might be overly critical to a team that won two-thirds of a major tournament, but it’s the manner in how Gen.G Gold fell in FPP that leaves me wanting more. I don’t think their performance on the last two days was a fair reflection of their true potential. Give them another chance, and I believe they will pull off a more convincing result.

Vie: There’s an idea floating around, that once China and Korea switch to FPP they will become the new overlords of the PUBG scene. Do you agree with that sentiment?

JoelSophie: Yes.

Follow Joel Sophie on Twitter @JoelSophie_.

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Scoom: “EU obviously has the best track record in the Western scene”

Scoom: “EU obviously has the best track record in the Western scene”

Taking second place in the PUBG Global Invitational 2018 TPP event, Team Liquid have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with before the FPP competition.

Even before the start of the $2 million dollar tournament Team Liquid were considered to be the favorites by many. They plowed through the European qualifier, topping the list and eliminating one of the best teams in the world, FaZe Clan, on their way there. And all that considering they almost skipped the qualifier entirely.

Team Liquid had to bounce back after the not-so-great first games of the tournament. Keiron “Scoom” Prescott and his team finished sixth and eight in the first two games respectively, for a pretty subpar result. And even though they managed to secure back to back chicken dinners in games three and four, consistency allowed the Korean Gen.G Black (14th/2nd/2nd/2nd) to overtake them in the overall ranking.

Even though they couldn’t find any more chicken dinners on the second day of the competition, they showed just enough consistency to secure $160,000 and the second place finish in the overall rankings. The Korean Gen.G Gold, however, exploded and delivered the performance of their lifetime. They convincingly delivered two chicken dinners and climbed from the sixth position to take $400,000 and the title of the World Champions in PGI 2018 TPP event.

We sat down with Scoom to talk about their misfortunes in the online qualifier, their journey through the PUBG’s biggest tournament of the year, and preparation for the TPP event.

Vie: Walk me through how PGI qualifiers went for you guys. You made a lot of mistakes in the online part, you even failed to qualify, but in Leicester you were like a completely different team. What happened there? 

Scoom: Yeah, we didn’t really play our own game during the qualifiers. I don’t really know why, but we were playing new spots and doing things we normally wouldn’t. We came 6th (while Top 5 were to qualify). It wasn’t like we played bad per se, but we were meant to qualify 1st in our group I’d say. You can never be sure with the online matches and low amount of games.

Vie: So what changed?

Scoom: During the LAN/offline event we just felt like ourselves again. We felt confident. With LAN experience, playing against teams for whom it was their first LAN, it was much easier for us.

Vie: The “new” Liquid is somewhat of a PUBG superteam — four star players of their own respective teams on a single squad. Was that your goal or is it something that happened organically?

Scoom: Yeah, this team basically happened randomly. I mean when I first joined Liquid and started playing PUBG competitively my only goal was to be one of the best, if not the best team in the world. I’d work as hard as possible to achieve that.

When we started making roster changes a few months back I was super fortunate to get this team together. As I thought and of course still think, these are the best players in the scene.

Vie: With some of the biggest contenders not here, who do you think will be your biggest competitiors in the FPP event? 

Scoom: I don’t think we have any rivals per se, we are never worried about anyone else. We just focus on our game. I think NaVi and Gen.G teams are probably gonna perform the best.

Vie: So you are pretty confident?

Scoom: We are feeling really confident about PGI. We have a really good track record and feel like it’s our time. But we will treat each game as new and not let it go to our heads. We are confident in our own game and we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.

Vie: How do you feel about the perceived rivalry between EU and NA teams? Is it at all important for your team? 

Scoom: I don’t really care about regions too much, to be honest. There is always banter about EU>NA etc, but EU obviously has the best track record in the Western scene and even internationally.

Vie: What did you think of the TPP tournament?

Scoom: Including TPP is understandable because it’s pretty popular casually and especially in the Asian scene. As they even compete in it, it is what it is, even though I don’t think it’s really competitive, we gave it our all.

Vie: Did you prepare for it at all?

Scoom: We have just been playing public games to get used to it a little.

Follow Team Liquid’s Scoom on Twiiter @LiquidScoom. PUBG Global Invitational 2018 continues on Saturday, watch it live on Twitch.

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tmhMM: “We won’t be happy with anything less than the first place”

tmhMM: “We won’t be happy with anything less than the first place”

Hours before PGI 2018 kicks off, we caught the Turkish representatives Oyun Hizmetleri eSports and grabbed a quick chat with their support player Mehmet “tmhMM” Yıldırım.

The Turkish team qualified to PUBG Global Invitational 2018 — a $2 million dollar tournament by PUBG Corp — via the Middle East and North Africa qualifier. The tournament saw 20 of the best teams in the region make their way through the online phase and battle it out for a spot in PGI 2018 as well as $34,000 in prize money.

The likes of Beşiktaş e-Sports Club, Dark Passage, and many other notable teams entered the Volkswagen Arena in Istanbul with their eyes set on the first place. But in the end, it was the young and relatively unknown Oyun Hizmetleri eSports who came out victorious. They confidently overcame their opponents and at the end of the qualifier remained the leaders in both placement and kills by a margin.

tmhMM and his team had more than a month to prepare for PUBG’s biggest event of the year, and even with big teams like Liquid, Natus Vincere, or Ghost Gaming in attendance, the Turkish players remain confident in their own ability.

In a quick interview, with his teammates still actively preparing for the opening match of the tournament in the background, tmhMM revealed some of the inner workings of his team.

Vie: Tell us a bit about the Turkish scene. Where is it in terms of the level of teams?

I think we have a lot of talented players but esports is still improving in Turkey and we need a bit more time to reach a top level.

Vie: Did you practice with the teams for other regions at all? 

We didn’t have the chance to play a lot with them because as a full team, the four of us, have been playing together for only two months. We get along pretty well. We had some time to analyze the other teams and if we stick to our strategies I think we will be fine.

Vie: So you are confident heading into the PGI?

We are pretty confident in ourselves as a team and as long as we stick to our strategies we will be fine.

Vie: What are your goals for this tournament? What result would you be happy with?

Of course we are here for the first place. We won’t be happy with anything less than the first place.

Vie: Which teams will you be looking out for?

All of the competitors are pretty good but we are prepared for all of them.

Vie: Do you think you will have a disadvantage against more LAN experienced teams?

We prepared very well and we think we are ready and it kind of removes the pressure. Our players are experienced in LAN tournaments from other games as well, so we don’t think we will be feeling any different than other competitors.

Vie: What are your thoughts on the inclusion of the TPP tournament? How much time did you invest to prepare for it?

TPP is not our main mode of choice but we prepared for it as well.

PUBG Global Invitational 2018 starts 25th July, 19:00 CEST.

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MiracU: “The scene is still young and trying to figure out what works best for PUBG”

MiracU: “The scene is still young and trying to figure out what works best for PUBG”

Just south of the Georgopol bridge, we sat down with Justin “MiracU” McNally before the opening games of PUBG Global Invitational 2018.

Parting ways with their sponsor, Team Kinguin, didn’t do much in terms of stopping MiracU and his team. Welcome to South Georgo (WTSG) entered PGI Europe finals in Leicester, UK, as one of the favorites to win.

The subpar performance on the first day, where WTSG finished outside of Top 10, seems to have motivated them even more. The team picked up two chicken dinners on the second day and remained consistent throughout to secure themselves a second place in the overall rankings. Together with Team Liquid and Pittsburgh Knights, they qualified to represent Europe in PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS’ biggest tournament ever.

Starting 25th of July, some of the world’s best teams will gather in Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany, to battle it out for $2 million dollars in prize money over four days of competition.

But before that, we chatted with MiracU about his team, their journey to the finals, and the future of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS.

Vie: How did you get into competitive PUBG?

MiracU: I have always been a competitive person so in the early days of PUBG I played a lot of duos and always got really high on the leaderboards. When the esports scene started to develop my duo partner at the time and I made a team with some other friends.

Vie: Is your family OK with you competing?

MiracU: My family and friends are very supportive, they think esports is great, I get to travel a lot which they also see as a bonus.

Vie: The growth over the past few months has been insane. And now there’s actual money to be made from the game.

MiracU: It’s incredible how the scene has developed over the last six months, there has been a lot of tournaments and it’s great for the game. A $2 million dollar tournament is huge and it gives us players a lot of belief that PUBG is going in the right direction.

Vie: So the pressure is on now?

MiracU: I don’t feel any extra pressure just because it’s the biggest tournament to date. We will play our game and do our best, same as we always do.

Vie: PGI is just another day at the office for you guys?

MiracU: We are approaching this tournament like any of the others we have attended. We have done our research on other teams and we have practiced a lot individually and as a team.

Vie: How much of your prep time is dedicated to TPP?

MiracU: I have not practiced a crazy amount of TPP, a few hours every day, just to keep myself familiar with the playstyle.

Vie: What did you think after first seeing PGI will feature both TPP and FPP?

MiracU: Europe has been playing FPP for months now but I do see why they decided to give TPP a go as it’s still a major thing in Asia. I think it’s safe to say that FPP is way more suitable for competitive play.

Vie: You guys played out of your minds in the PGI quals. What changed in those few weeks since DH Austin, where you finished 8th?

MiracU: At DreamHack Austin we made a lot of mistakes, individually and as a team. We failed to close out some games that we could have easily won. We did not make any crazy changes, we just played our game, didn’t make the same mistakes, and got the best result out of most of the games.

Vie: PGI is just days away now. Which teams are you most concerned about?

MiracU: We know all of the teams here are capable of winning. We are not worried about anyone in particular, but I would say Liquid, Knights, and NAVI are some of the best teams at PGI.

Vie: There has been some criticism towards the slot distribution between the regions. Do you think it’s been handled fairly?

MiracU: Hey look, I know what you’re getting at. But we also need to remember that in tournaments, especially tournaments that span worldwide a la a “World Championship” of some sort, both in esports and sports, very seldom — if ever — all the best teams are actually at the tournament. You are always gonna get the geographical spread, heck you even need it. PUBG is huge in Asia.

You also have to remember that the scene is still young and trying to figure stuff out, what works best for PUBG etc. In time we will hopefully see a more well-weighted list of distributed spots, but there will always be some kind of geographical spread and that’s just something we will have to accept, it’s in the best interest of the game.

Vie: Parting words, MiracU, which region will win PGI 2018?

MiracU: Europe or CIS will take the crown.

You can follow MiracU on Twitter @MiracUfps.

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Key storylines going into the PGI European qualifier

Key storylines going into the PGI European qualifier

Twenty of the best teams from the online portion of the qualifier are gathered in Leicester, UK, to decide who will be moving onwards to the $2 million tournament.

More than 600 teams signed up to participate in the European qualifier to PUBG Global Invitational — the largest tournament in the history of the game. Some of the world’s best teams took a part in this qualifier, some of which did not make the cut.

In the third and final round of the online qualifier, 80 of the best performing teams were placed in four groups of twenty teams to decide on who will be moving on to the LAN portion of the qualifier. With just five winning spots in every group, the competition was as fierce as ever.

Likely the biggest upset of the qualifier became the early elimination of the French favorites Team Vitality, who just barely didn’t make a cut in Group 3, finishing behind PENTA Sports and Team Redzone. Other early removals involved HAVU Gaming, ALTERNATE aTTaX, TINDERGULD, as well as few others. It first looked like the journey for the heavyweights Team Liquid and Rogue would end there as well, but fate had something else in mind.

That being said, the European qualifier to PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS biggest esports tournament ever is going to be the most stacked we’ve seen so far. And according to some, with twenty of the best teams in the continent gathered in Haymarket Theatre, anyone can come out victorious.

With that, let’s take a look at some of the key storylines ahead of the PUBG Global Invitational 2018 European qualifier.

FaZe Clan look to maintain their momentum

It’s no secret that FaZe are a force to be reckoned with, and they have looked frighteningly strong on LAN recently, taking home the lion’s share at the most recent DreamHack Austin 2018. The chances of the Finish-Swedish team to qualify look even better considering their biggest adversary, the Russian Natus Vincere, won’t be in Leicester.

NaVi secured a first-place finish at GLL Season 1 Grand Finals and ended up second at PGL PUBG Spring Invitational 2018 — both times ahead of FaZe Clan. With the characteristic Russian aggression being safely locked in the CIS qualifier, the favorites will be able to play their own game. The question is, can any of the other teams really threaten their supremacy?

Photo via Dreamhack

With their rivals in the region Team Vitality not making it to the main event, it will have to come down to one of the other teams to stop them. With everyone’s eyes turning towards Knights and Team Liquid, FaZe will be looking to maintain the momentum, and once and for all prove themselves to be the number one team in Europe.

Team Liquid have to get over their curse

Now the thing with Team Liquid is they seemingly just can’t perform at their level. When the big new lineup was announced a few months back it seemed almost crazy.

One of the best allrounders in the world, Keiron “Scoom” Prescott, together with probably the best aimer in the world, Jord “ibiza” van Geldere, in the same team was unbelievable enough. A star-filled roster that could easily compete with any of the top teams in the world, that’s what Team Liquid had to become. But it somehow faltered.

It took a long time for them to find their game, they struggled a lot, but eventually, they started winning games and competing for the top spots. They even came in second at their first LAN with the new line-up, StarSeries i-League 2018, just behind FaZe Clan.

But outside of a few minor achievements online, Team Liquid just can’t seem to find their way into victory when it matters the most. Not only did they fail to qualify to any major LAN tournaments, they underperform heavily when they do.

They finished in an underwhelming 5th position at DreamHack Austin 2018 a month ago, where they managed to taste the chicken dinner twice, but have also finished outside of Top 13 four times, and that’s out of 16 teams total.

Photo via Starladder

That being considered, Team Liquid still is one of the best teams in the region and one of the favorites to win the whole thing, with a single condition being that they overcome this curse of… not winning.

Twenty team lobby is the real enemy

The overpopulated lobby is bound to ruin someone’s day this weekend. Every single team going into the qualifier are used to playing against 15 other teams. After a lot of testing and experimentation, it became somewhat of a norm in the competitive scene. And there’s a good reason for it — it’s a perfect middle ground between keeping a game competitive without it becoming an uncontrollable wildland.

In lamest terms, the more teams there are in the server, the less relevant skill becomes, and the more luck reigns supreme.

The big unwritten question is, how well can the players, who have been playing 16 team games for a while now, adapt to the extended setting. The luck, of course, will be playing a much bigger role in this environment, but there’s also the hidden element of being able to approach the game differently than you would normally.

How well will the teams be able to adapt to these changes is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure — although no one asked for it, someone will have to pay the price.

Can the new Method find their game?

These were a tough few months for Method. They performed somewhat above expectations at IEM Oakland 2017, considering their recent roster change and playing under a new in-game leader, they managed to finish 7th. They followed it up with a 6th place finish at IEM Katowice 2018 a few months later, but their good luck seemingly ran out there.

Photo via ESL

What followed after that was a series of mediocre results, followed by even worse performances. Method struggled to qualify for any of the following events, and their online matches were pretty much exclusively below average. A change was needed.

The boys in orange added Björn “MOLNMAN” Won Hak Jansson and Kristo “xKriss” Kiisler and it seems to have worked, seeing as they managed to qualify for Leicester. However, now they will be facing the best teams in the region and finishing outside of Top 3 isn’t an option anymore. With teams like FaZe Clan, PENTA Sports, WTSG (ex-Kinguin) and many others as their competition, can Method show up and take this one home?

A haunting presence

While there are a lot of big-name teams coming into the qualifier and all the questions of how well can they perform around them, it’s a good idea to remember the other half.

For many of the teams, it will be their first international LAN tournament.

For Team Blank (ex-Crimson) it will be their second offline tournament after they finished 8th at GLL Season 1 Grand Final. The team has been performing exceedingly well recently, and they probably are the dark horse of the whole tournament, being able to upset any of the competitors. The unknown factor, same as it is with any other up-and-coming team, is can they show up on LAN.

Team Redzone has been steadily improving for the past few months and could probably compete for the top spots as well. Their biggest shortcoming is, of course, a grand total of none international LAN experience and for a young team that can be the biggest challenge to overcome.

The curious thing about the PUBG Global Invitational 2018 European qualifier is that any of the teams can show up, anyone can qualify, and that will be the real haunting presence for every team. Can ex-Kinguin finally perform at their level? Will Izako Boars shock everyone once again?

The best part is, we won’t have to wait long to find out.

The PGI 2018 Europe qualifier will take place 29th of June – 1st of July, with the matches starting at 16:00 CEST.

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Is esports on the docket for Realm Royale?

Is esports on the docket for Realm Royale?

Three weeks ago, when Realm Royale was about to be released to the public, a small team of developers in HiRez offices in Alpharetta, GA, did not expect much. It was made entirely on the base of their other game — Paladins — on a tight schedule and there was no marketing budget for it either. All they had going for themselves was a game and some hope, that someone will like it enough to invite their friends over.

And they did.

There is a point where it is too soon to call a game a success. The first week of the release, for example, would fit that bill. But Realm Royale had a great first week. When the game peaked at 11,000 players on Steam in the first few days, the developers were going out of their minds — it was an overwhelming success. Little did they know, that before the first week would be over, their battle royale game would be getting more than 100,000 concurrent players.

But the popularity of the game doesn’t always translate to the popularity of its esports scene and it’s even truer when it comes to battle royale games. PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS has been breaking all kinds of records for over a year now, and although PUBG esports scene had grown tremendously in the past nine months, it’s still nowhere near where it should be compared to its player base.

The most obvious explanation as to why such a scenario occurred is the challenge of making the game, which can feature anywhere from 64 to 80 players at the same time, into an enjoyable experience for the viewers. There’s no denying that spectating PUBG matches became a much more fluid affair recently, thanks to relentless efforts of the competitive community, tournament organizers, and the developers. But the big question is, when will the rest of PUBG’s massive player base realize that watching the game on a professional level can be as enjoyable as playing the game itself?

The issue, however, might not be as simple as pouring cash into the scene. When Epic Games, developers of the chart-topping battle royale game Fortnite, announced they’ll be supporting their esports scene with $100 million in the upcoming year, many of the industry veterans had a flashback. The truth is if your game is not ready for esports, no amount of money will trick people into thinking that it is. Though many have tried.

It all comes down to how awesome of a spectator experience can you deliver and Realm Royale here, however, might find another bump on their road to make their game into a full-fledged esport. At its core, the game combines the fundamentals of a battle royale game together with the elements of the game on which it is built — Paladins, which is to say there are also abilities involved. As luck would have it, ability-based shooters like HiRez’s Paladins or Blizzard’s Overwatch have proved to be especially hard to spectate.

A large map, tens of players on the server, and several fights happening at the same time can be a daunting task for the production crew as it is. Now add to that a chaos of character abilities — players flying everywhere, shooting fireballs at each other, building walls, dashing, blinking, and whatever else they might do — all in a matter of a few seconds. That is what HiRez are looking at if they were to decide to bring esports to Realm Royale. Not only would they have to overcome the shortcomings of battle royale as a spectator sport, they would also have to improve the way team fights are displayed in a high-speed character-based shooter.

It’s an intimidating task to take on by yourself and yet it is one that I would love to see them try.

Alpharetta based HiRez Studios have built their success on esports. Their original success story, Smite, has deep roots in esports going back to year one. The 2015 Smite World Championship, with $2,612,259 on the line, became the tournament with the fourth largest prize pool in the world at the time. That’s a massive achievement for a game company that had absolutely no success in the esports scene before.

But all of that changed now. Smite adapted a circuit based league model, similar to that of Riot’s League of Legends. When HiRez released Paladins back in 2016, it did not take long for them to announce Paladins Premier League in partnership with WESA. Even when they published a not-so-successful Hand of the Gods, it was immediately followed by the announcement of the esports tournament for it.

The point is, HiRez know their esports. They have built not one, but two successful esports games and are now running several leagues to support the healthy competitive environment for those titles. The point is, if they wanted, they could bring Realm Royale to esports.

But the question is, can they bring esports to Realm Royale?

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