The Twitter world was taken by a storm Sunday evening after it was announced that ASU was competing in the finals of Heroes of the Dorm Collegiate eSports Tournament for the not-yet released game “Heroes of the Storm.” This was the first time that eSports was televised on national television, a landmark event for the world of gaming.
To qualify for the event, ASU’s Dream Team's seven-person team received beta access to begin training. ASU competed online in group stages through the Open Qualifiers, where it was entered into a Round of 64 single elimination bracket. The winning team would receive free tuition for the college career.
ASU’s Dream Team was able to prove its skills at the Heroic Four in Los Angeles, where the Sun Devils defeated Boston College’s Boston Eagles 2-1 in the semifinals. On the other side of the semifinals, UC Berkeley’s Golden Bears remained undefeated in the tournament following a 2-0 win against Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Mad Banners. In the final game, ASU had a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to California.
The Dream Team was the favored team going in to the Heroic Four with 32 percent of the Fantasy Finals brackets choosing ASU to win it all. Before the tournament began, ASU was undefeated with a total of 22 wins while the Boston Eagles were 20-2 in the tournament. With a low average game time of 17:25, the Dream Team averaged 18.6 kills per game with only 3.2 deaths.
For those tuning into the game, the announcers made it interesting to follow along. The game, produced by battle.net, is incredibly similar to the more popular League of Legends or Defense of the Ancients, two multiplayer online battle arena, where players play in a 5v5 arena consisting of lanes. The object of the game is to defeat the enemy’s core, which is a task hard to accomplish without the strength and skill.
To gain experience, players have to defeat enemy and neutral turrets, a tower that can damage opponents and gives players a tactical advantage. When teams reach a certain experience threshold, they are able to level up and gain power increases. At levels 10 and 20, bigger power increases are gained. This kind of leveling system encourages teamwork. Neutral minions can also be defeated to use as mercenaries for one's team. On the top and bottom of the map, shrines are waiting to be controlled and with both controlled, a dragon is released as a key offensive player.
The Golden Bears dominated in the first game, completely shutting down the Dream Team. The win was almost decisive, showing that the Golden Bears had a strong strategy for how they intended to play.
In the second game, ASU tied up the best of five series, giving the Golden Bears their first loss of the tournament. In the third game, both teams ended up trapped in the tight lanes of the Haunted Mines. Although ASU made a strong attempt against the enemy’s core, the Golden Bears pulled through at the last minute to save themselves and win the game.
The losing team was able to pick the map for the next round and the Dream Team decided upon Sky Temple, an arena that played to their strengths. ASU was able to use the map mechanics to their advantage and tie up the series 2-2.
The final game took place on Dragon Shire, where the Dream Team made it known that they would be playing aggressively by choosing popular heroes like Diablo and the Lost Vikings. ASU controlled the dragon twice in a row while winning small battles against California, making it seem like ASU would be coming out on top in the final round. The Golden Bears were forced to play a nearly perfect end to the game if they wanted to come out on top. With two ASU members out of the game on long respawn timers, the Golden Bears managed to steal the dragon. With the new asset to the team, they rushed the core and took the title.
Although the Dream Team was not able to take home tuition for their college career, they will be walking away from the tournament with an Epic Gaming System for Heroes of the Storm, HyperX Cloud II Headset and SteelSeries Heroes of the Storm Mousepad, as well as a $40 Battle.net Balance Card for making it to the Round of 64.
The full version of Heroes of the Storm is set for release on June 2, 2015.
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Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the final score of the semifinal match vs. Boston College. It has been updated.