The rapidly growing field of eSports will make its Australian University Games debut in 2016 when Monash University play Queensland University of Technology in the final of the Oceania University League of Legends Championship.
Monash won through to the Grand Final by beating the University of Western Australia in a playoff, after making their way through a field of university teams from Australia and New Zealand.
|The Monash University 2016 LOL team, from L-R: Tim Jie, Eric Lee, Evan Mascarenhas, William Huang, |
Jordan Sturgess & Morgan Khuu
Monash Team Manager Eric Lee said the team are excited about the chance to be the first AUG League of Legends champions.
“We’re extremely excited for the Grand Final of AUG. We’re working really hard and practicing as much as possible before the final stage so we can bring this trophy home.”
League of Legends and other eSports are on the rise. Major tournaments draw millions of viewers worldwide, and prize money for the best players can be in the millions of dollars.
League of Legends is a ‘multiplayer online battle arena’ or ‘MOBA’ game, where two teams of five compete to be the first to destroy the other team’s base, known as a Nexus.
The players control characters called champions that each have unique abilities. The champions start out the game weak and get stronger as the players defeat enemies or complete objectives.
The game takes place on a map with top, middle and bottom lanes that players travel through. There are also ‘jungle’ areas where players can find the enemies they need to defeat in order to gain the gold and experience necessary to make their champions stronger.
Winning requires the players to work as a team and play to the strengths of their champions; and it can take players hundreds of hours to master the strategies and skills needed to succeed.
Lee said that while in other sports, physical skills and technique are key, in League of Legends, the best players need to master strategy and have an in-depth knowledge of the game.
“In League of Legends we practise a lot of strategy, we study a lot, we watch other teams and players to improve.
“There are over 100 different champions you can play and every player needs to study up on each champion to know their strengths, weaknesses and capabilities. We spend a lot of time practising, learning and studying."
“The really good players play thousands of hours more than the average player, but it's not just that. To actually be a really good player you have to constantly study and look for areas to improve and try to fix your weaknesses.”
The current line-up of the Monash team has been playing together for four months and Lee said the team dynamic will be key to their chances at AUG.
“It’s rare for a League of Legends team to come together and have such a great natural team dynamic.
“Every player in our team is a vital piece in the puzzle and through competing in AUG we have only gotten stronger.
“These are some of the best players in Oceania and some of the most hard working and dedicated people I have met, and I only expect them to get better.”
Monash will face QUT on Thursday night at 6pm in Perth. Get down and support the team as they try to bring home the gold for Monash!