Australia is home to several of the world’s best esports organizations and athletes. But how important is it to support these leagues and teams at a grassroots level?
Australia is home to several of the world’s best esports organizations and athletes. Renegades, with their latest bronze finish at the StarLadder Berlin Major 2019, has evolved from a staple Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team to a full-fledged powerhouse. Discussions about the professional side of Rocket League rarely go without mentioning Ground Zero Gaming. And of course, who would even dare to forget Damien “kpii” Chok, a two-time Major champion, and Anathan “ana” Pham, a god who went down on earth to teach humankind how to play Dota 2?
It’s undeniable how much the success of these names has impacted the development of Australia’s esports scene. However, as the industry at large grows, thanks to the help of mainstream brands sponsoring triple-A events left and right, a vast majority of the esports audience has started to exclusively support tournaments that feature their favorite teams or players. The stakes provided by game developer-sanctioned meets like the Dota Pro Circuit or the League of Legends Oceania Professional League mattered more than ever, and small-scale leagues with not much on the line suffered.
Everyone strived to take a slice off of the multi-million-dollar prize pool tournaments, but it seemed like it was always reserved only for those who can only play at the highest level. Most up-and-coming players can’t even make it out of the qualifiers, and the persistent problem of high ping only made the situation worse. This generally left the esports scene too top-heavy.
The lack of tournaments dedicated to promising talents poses a threat to the health of the competition. If viewed from a marketing perspective, these type of events decline in numbers due to its lack of profitability —the audience would rather watch ana or kpii instead of prospects whom they barely know. Without anyone to reach, esports organizers can only do so much to start a league without any help from investors.
But if viewed from the perspective of esports’ sheer essence, leaving the tier two scene underdeveloped and without much opportunity increases the chances of ana and kpii to be the last esports stars to ever come out of the land down under.
This is what the Oceanic Esports League is trying to address.
The Oceanic Esports League is a vision realized by Justin “xMusica” Yuen, an Australian native and world-renowned professional Dota 2 player, along with his partners who wanted to create a sustainable and highly competitive league in the region. It features 10 true Australian teams, each composed of one professional team captain, two experienced players, two high-MMR players, and two substitutes—a unique format devised to promote balance and growth.
“I believe that the region Oceania has limitless potential, and is only hindered by the lack of chances that are given to us. We hope our efforts here will bring about a new era of talent and competitiveness for esports within Oceania and that it will bring many more opportunities for our athletes to compete against the best of the best across the globe,” Justin “xMusica” Yuen, a world-renowned professional Dota 2 player and the man behind Oceania’s latest community-centric online tournament, stated.
Started on April 13, 2020, the tournament will span across seven weeks with games livestreamed via their official Twitch channel from Monday to Saturday. For the main event, which will transpire from June 1, 2020 to June 6, 2020, four of the most outstanding competitors will be pitted in a double-elimination bracket for the chance to take home the lion’s share of the AUD $25,000 prize pool, the biggest prize pool for the true local ANZ Dota 2 scene, as well as the honor of being crowned as the very-first Oceanic Esports League champion.
More than celebrating the spirit of competition, the ANZ-based online event also aims to strengthen the position of esports as a form of entertainment and hopefully embed it into the lives of every Australian family. It also provides not only a prime opportunity for budding esports athletes but also comfort for everyone at home as well as jobs for those who are without one most especially during the height of a global pandemic caused by COVID-19.
“I am glad to now be able to give my fellow Australian competitors a chance to begin their very own esports conquest. Oceanic Esports strive to bring you some comfort and entertain through the means of Esports, and also to provide jobs for a few of the many that are currently without it,” xMusica stated in an article published by VPEsports.
Backed by the players and the ANZ Dota 2 community, the Oceanic Esports League has its eyes set on growing and improving players for the global stage. It also serves as a great reminder of how even the most successful and recognized esports players were once a striving hopeful who joined in all the grassroots tournaments that they can to be where they are right now.