Student gamers compete nationally for paid tuition
Michaela Lumpert, Campus Carrier Staff Writer
Six Berry students formed a team and are participating in a 15-week video game competition to win $75,000 each. Called “The Lost Vikings,” the team is made up of sophomores Davis Murphy, Ethan Blevins and Lucas Hill, and freshmen Alex Brice, Mac Riley and Ethan Rickards. The prize money is used to pay for the students’ college tuition.
The boys are hoping to win the prize on May 26, the date of the final competition. They wanted to compete last year, but missed the deadline. For the past year, they have been getting together to practice and get ready for this year’s event.
The competition is called “Heroes of the Dorm,” where a team of five members and an alternate compete in the game “Heroes of the Storm.” Each team will compete against other teams for the next 15 weeks, keeping track of their wins and losses. After the first five weeks of competing, the top 64 teams move on into the next phase.
This phase is single elimination, meaning after one loss, the team is eliminated from the competition. This will continue until there are 16 teams left in the game. From there, the top 16 teams will compete for first place and the top prize. The Lost Vikings are right now ranked nationally as 72nd among 176 teams.
In “Heroes of the Storm”, each team member picks a unique character to play with in the game. The characters come from a certain class, sometimes having better or different skills from other characters. Once you have created your character, you then battle it out in the arena. Each team has base, and the goal of the game is to try and defeat the other team’s base. You win once you have successfully destroyed the other team’s base.
“[Heroes of the Storm] is an E-sport, which stands for electronic sports, which is basically competitive gaming,” Murphy said.
The Lost Vikings said they were excited to join this competition. Not only are they trying to win the top prize but they want to put Berry on the national radar of video games.
“It’s a good way for us to represent our school doing something we love,” Brice said. “I wouldn’t say we aren’t super athletic people, but this gives us a way to represent Berry in our favorite activity.”
“I’m honestly in it for the money,” Blevins said.
Blevins joined the team hoping to win the top prize and along the way he discovered that he enjoyed the game and the friends his was with.
“The hardest thing about this entire process is having to play the game constantly, even when you aren’t feeling it or you’re scared you’re going to do poorly,” Murphy said.
Sophomore Ashlyn Sharpe is the team manager. She works with them after games, keeping them motivated and relaxed when the situation is stressful.
The Lost Vikings have a huge Japanese and Korean fan-base. Freshman Connor O’Sullivan works as the team’s social media head, promoting them on Twitter. He posts updates about the matches and creates polls for their fans to interact with.
“He’s our hype man, giving little bios about us and behind the scenes videos for our fans,” Murphey said about O’Sullivan.
O’Sullivan translates some of their posts for their Japanese fan base as well. After following some other E-sports teams, this fan base grew into what it is today. It seemed random at first, but the team is happy that they are recognized internationally. To keep up with their progress in the competition, follow their twitter account @thefoundvikings.
“Our progress can be described as a square root function: it has its limits, and those limits are high,” Blevins said.
To find more information on the competition itself, visit the competition’s homepage: https://compete.tespa.org.
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