Esports - Love the game? Be a player
esports : What does it take to go pro?
We spoke to Ryan McVean of the British Esports Association about what it takes to be a professional gamer...
The Sporting Blog: Ryan, what are they key attributes that a player must have in order to be a top esports competitor?
Ryan McVean : A great drive to compete! esports is an incredibly competitive scene. Having the willpower to practice everyday and not burn out, to learn everything about your game and have the talent and skill to transfer that knowledge and practice into results.
TSB: How long on average would a player have played a game before he or she might take the plunge and get competitive?
RM: It depends entirely on the game. Some games such as Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm have a fairly low learning curve, but on the other hand some games like Starcraft and most MOBAs require a lot of knowledge and more practice. Most Starcraft professionals have been practising for years and have the ability to perform over 300 actions per minute.
TSB: If you do happen to be a Call of Duty Ninja, how do you make the leap from destroying people from your bedroom, to getting on a pro team?
RM: Most esports right now have very active online communities, checking online for subreddits, chat-rooms and discord servers of your game of choice. Also most games have ranked multiplayer modes and online leader boards. Climbing the leader boards can get you noticed but being active in the community will nearly always open doors to meet more people with similar goals.
TSB: How many hours a day on average will a professional esports competitor practice?
RM: Again this depends on the game. Some games require more game knowledge, as opposed to just fast reaction times or perfect accuracy. The average for games like League of Legends or DOTA (High skill based games) are around 50 hours a week. Obviously this depends on the players and their schedules but that is the figure I’ve seen floated about the most.
TSB: Talking of COD, our readers might imagine that a game such as that or FIFA would naturally be a fit for esports as viewers may well have played, or at least have an affinity with the games. What actually are the most popular games for esports viewers?
RM: Currently the most popular esport to watch is League of Legends, The viewership for esports can change very quickly. Depending on what big name events are on any game can receive tens of thousands of unique viewers.
TSB: What currently is the biggest event in esports?
RM: That all depends on what you would count as “biggest”. The League of Legends World Championship is currently the biggest in viewer counts. The International is currently the biggest eSports event in terms of prize pool regularly receiving prize pools of over $15 million.
TSB: Are you a competitive player yourself?
RM: Currently I am doing more game commentary. I do regularly take place in more amateur events in titles like Battlerite, Overwatch and DOTA. I wouldn't call myself a competitive gamer, but there is still time for me to find the game for me!
TSB: esports is growing all over the World but particularly in the UK. What initiatives are the British esports association undertaking at the moment?
RM: Currently we are working with the Westminster council to bring eSports to a wider audience, We have released an article talking about our current project with Maida Vale library where we are bringing in children between the ages of 10 to 13, and letting them compete in some games to learn more about the options available to them. We also have some speakers in the community that work in many different branches of esports from commentary to players themselves.
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