For Long Beach State’s esports player Alan Robertson, the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t slowed down his game a bit.
Instead, Robertson went back to the city of Riverside and continued to compete for his team from home.
“One of the positives of doing online classes is that you’re able to play a lot more and your availability is a lot greater,” Robertson, a second-year Rocket League player for the Beach said. “I’ve probably done a lot better at the game than I would have if it was in-person classes, mainly because I could just play a lot more in between classes instead of at school where you’re going home between every single class.”
A big advantage to esports is playing does not require any in-person contact to be successful, whether playing for fun on their Twitch channel or playing competitively for the Beach
“We don’t need to meet in person and we don’t have to practice in person like a lot of other sports have to do,” Judy Tran, president of the eSports Association at Long Beach State said.
The Beach’s eSports Association has had over 100 competitive matches since the fall semester began in six of its games. The team competes in League of Legends, Overwatch, Rainbow 6 Siege, Rocket League, Valorant, CS:GO, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Games like Rocket League in which the Beach placed 11th out of 16 teams after competing in 30 matches this semester, can garner over 100,000 live viewers on Twitch for its collegiate division.
Outreach for the eSports Association has been done mostly through social media, especially their Discord, which has over 1,000 members. The team also keeps up with popular game trends.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, in which the Beach won eight of 12 total games this semester, is the most recent game the Beach has formed teams for.
But with the fall semester being mainly virtual, the transition for esports at the Beach has not been entirely seamless.
“Only when there’s internet problems, it sucks. It happened one time when one of our teams lost because two players couldn’t connect online,” Tran said. “Another big difference I saw was attendance, because the people I used to see in person meetings, I don’t see them online. But I do notice that we have a different crowd this semester compared to last year.”
According to the team’s coordinator Paolo Angeo, the biggest challenge they’ve faced has been finding people who are willing to store some of the equipment they keep for competition.
“Pretty much everyone in the club seems to have their own setups, whether it’s purely only a console, and then also their laptop,” Angeo said. “But we have certain consoles for club events and just trying to figure out who can store them in their own house, is a little bit difficult to coordinate that. We want to make sure we keep track of where everything is, so nothing gets lost.”
Next semester the eSports Association will be jam-packed with events, since all nine of their games will be competing again.
Angeo said that they are planning on streaming more of their competitive matches, while also showcasing their teams and practices.
“Hopefully next semester, or the semester after, and when the whole coronavirus situation gets controlled, in-person tournaments will be coming back for sure,” Angeo said.