Christopher Taylor, Sports Beat Reporter
If you were one of the millions of people who watched The Call of Duty World League online, here is what you missed by not coming to New Orleans to see it in person.
The tournament itself was unbelievable, in person or online, but what did you miss out by not coming to New Orleans to see it in person? Here are three reasons why you should have came and watch the best gamers battle live in action.
1. The Entry
Fog and flashing lights covered the room as the excited fans walked through the Hall of Champions. Accompanied by laser lights, fog, special effects and its own soundtrack attacking the senses upon arrival, the opening procession introduced fans to the previous champions and culminated with the coveted silver world league trophy, the ultimate goal of the tournament champions.
The hundreds of monitors spread out around the room were fascinating, with players fighting to get a spot in the championship bracket. The crowd fell silent when a player was close to winning the game, followed by the the roars when professional gamers did what they did best, provided a tempo to the event for the entire 3 days. Hundreds of fans watched anxiously at the multiple projectors spread around the room, and even more watched online at the live Twitch streams.
2. Interacting with professional gamers
One thing that doesn’t translate across a TV screen or computer monitor for millions of gamers that usually experience a tournament like this from their basement, bedroom, or at a gaming cafe online from anywhere around the world is the one-on-one contact that you are able to have with the professional gamers.
Instead of replying to online commentators, why not hear it firsthand from the players on how they feel about the tournament and the current games that are being played. Watching your favorite professional gamer getting interviewed cannot match a real face-to-face conversations that professional gamers are more than happy to have with fans at the event.
Methodz of team Rise Nation is no exception. Anthony Zinni, more commonly known in the gaming worlds “Methodz,” has been playing Call of Duty since he was 11. He got into the competitive scene when Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 released and he saw a stream online of professional gamers competing. When he started, he was the youngest player at the age of 16.
He spent time with the teams SoaR Gaming, FaZe Clan, Team Curse, Team Kaliber, and Strictly Business.
Methodz said touched on the dedication of fans when coming to the events and how they differ from those that are watching on online sites like Twitch.
”The people that come to the events in person, have to come and spend their own money and time to see us play,” Methodz said. “They make us feel like celebrities.”
Methodz also explained how his team prepares for their next opponent, analyzing how a team plays on certain maps, and strategies before they come and use those to help them gain an advantage. Methodz’s team hasn’t been together for as long as the other teams were only together for ten days.
He told me that it takes a lot more than people expect to be a professional gamer. Practicing 8-10 hours every day requires sacrifices including lost time with family and going out with friends.
“It’s tough and it takes a lot of sacrifices but I wouldn’t trade it for nothing,” Methodz said.
From team Evil Geniuses, Ian Wyatt more commonly known as Enable, a flex player, came off an exciting 3 to 1 victory over Doom Clan and also said he agreed that the fans can affect the atmosphere of the World League.
“It’s honestly surreal,” Enable said. “[Fans] purchasing flights to come up and watch them play it means the world to me.”
When Enable first started playing professionally it used to make him nervous, but now he takes it in and uses that energy to help him do better.
“To make it to this level you have to be dedicated to this,” Enable said. “You have to treat [it] like a real job. With anything you do you have to put in the work, you can’t put in just two hours a day you have to spend lots of time training every day in order to do this job.”
These are just 2 of the more than 1000 gamers who ticket holders had all day access to, when they were not competing.
3. Energy of fans: signs
When it comes to the energy in the competition hall, the fans were no exception.
Two fans allowed me to interview them about how the fans feel about the difference of watching online, experiencing the event in person and how the atmosphere can vary from city to city.
A New Orleans native by the name of Lance Rosh, compared the atmosphere of the World League to a football game.
“It’s amazing to actually be able to meet the players and have a conversation with them and enjoy watching the other teams compete, and meeting other COD fans and watching the professionals go to work and do what they do,” Rosh said.
Danny Bristow the Co-founder of EGL, a merchandise company, confirmed again that the affect the fans have on the players, and their embracing of the atmosphere. They use it to their advantage to pump themselves up.
The atmosphere of the World League could be compared to a lot of different things. For example, a championship basketball or football game, or a huge concert. No matter what you compare it to the fans are into it like they would be any other sporting event. The fans treat this as if their watching their favorite band in concert or their favorite football team in the Super Bowl.
The hundreds of monitors and TV’s helps spectators to easily follow the action and never miss a beat of it. From the commentators in the background helping you follow what’s going on in the game, to those that are working behind the scenes to figure out what player’s POV is the most exciting for the fans to watch, the World League does a tremendous job at keeping the spectators into the action in order to keep that amazing energy or atmosphere in the room.
In any professional tournament or games you go to in person or see online you’re going to be seeing the best of the best. The players are professionals they do this for a living. They aren’t only playing to win and compete but to also entertain those that are watching either online or in person.
Even if you are watching the NBA finals or olympic table tennis, you’re watching the best go at it. People may not consider Major League Gaming a real sport or even a real professional job, but those gamers practice all day and sacrifice a lot of things in order to be great at their craft. They practice just as much any other professional athlete has to.