I’m writing this at the Call of Duty European Qualifiers / Championships that are being held at the Twickenham Rugby Stadium. No, it’s not being played outside, there’s a nice arena built inside the cavernous complex.
The only prior experience I’ve had of any type of competitive video games “sporting” event has been from the small Pro Evolution Soccer tournaments Konami has organized over the years. These were lots of fun and the gamers both in Call of Duty and PES seem relatively the same. Young men passionate about games and pretty hardcore gamers to be honest. In PES I competed, but here I’m just watching, which is quite a different experience of course.
Following Call of Duty as an esport is pretty tough even for a person like me who has over 230 hours in Ghosts multiplayer. In PES, you watch one screen and see everything as it’s 1vs1, but in Call of Duty and most similair games it’s 4v4. It’s about the view: in PES you see a lot of the pitch from high up and the two players all the time whereas in Call of Duty you have 8 separate player screens to follow. There’s one main screen that you can watch where you see the stream controlled by the casters. In this view, you can always see the entire map and all players are visible through walls etc, but it’s still not that easy to get a good overview of the action. There’s always so much happening at such speeds that it’s not easy to follow.
Of course if you know the game, it’s easier, but still feels like this is more about following certain players you really like and just watching their performance more than the entire match really. Personalities carry interest in sport and it’s evident here that there’s players who just have that something that make you want to watch them play. A good triple kill or a nice grenade throw kill are very hard to come by in tight matches like the ones in these finals, so seeing that happen, somebody getting 4-5 point killstreak is a huge achievement. The crowd definitely ooh and aahs when those happen. That’s pretty cool to see and also feel, people getting excited at what they see and the atmospere just keeps getting better throughout the day.
These dudes play with a lot of discipline too, which is a must. I’m not sure I’d have that in me, but having watched lots of matches over this weekend here in Twickenham, it’s definitely intriguing more than before. The teams put in a lot of practice, they play a good eight hours a day on average, which is pretty tough regime to maintain.
I think I will actually try to play a bit more with esports rules when I get back home.