By Lauren Tordera
With the sound of clicking keyboards and electronic dance music engulfing the Holiday Inn Ballroom, the Bonita Vista High School eSports team competed in the San Diego 2016 Winter LAN-a-thon. They were the first high school group to participate in the event and placed second in the League of Legends tournament on Saturday, Nov. 19th.
According to meetup.com, San Diego LAN or Local Annual Network, is a group that focuses on social, personal computer video game play. The San Diego 2016 Winter LAN-a-thon host Brian Kruise set up posters around around Otay Lakes Plaza to attract people to register for the three day tournament.
“Across the street [from BVH] over by Taco Bell and all the little restaurants, they put up fliers and advertised this event, so when we saw them we decided to come,” varsity League of Legends team captain Ryan Pike said.
Several competitors and eSports teams, around San Diego registered in the 2016 Winter LAN-a-thon. Four teams including BVH eSports, were signed up in the League of Legends tournament. A LAN party is a get together that allows different people to compete and play various video games such as Call of Duty 4, League of Legends, Super Smash Bros, Overwatch, Rocket League and Hearthstone. Each day in this event was dedicated to specific games, depending on the person or team they would register in days they were interested in.
“There were 45 three day badges sold, two or three individual days and then about a dozen or so spectator badges. I know we sold out our three day badges,” Kruise said.
ESports went to the LAN-a-thon to gain more experience towards competing in League of Legends tournaments.
“Our varsity team for League of Legends has somebody that wants to sponsor our team. He said he wants us to start entering more tournaments and so we thought that this was a good starting point for us to win tournaments so we can get those sponsorships,” Pike said.
According to some of the members of the team, this was a new experience and environment for them. 11 hours connecting with different people through the world of videogaming allowed eSports to meet new individuals and spectate different video game ethics. Between each game, the team would plan out the next plays by assigning different positions for each member and setting a goal for each. With communicating through headsets and a software called Discord, they were able to work together without the opponents hearing their plans throughout each game.
“We didn’t really know how to communicate in that kind of setting and since we’re right next to each other, it was kind of weird. The highlight was making new friends especially in [League of Legends] when you’re trying to play against nine other people,” senior and eSports varsity team member Reeve Talavera said.
Considering being in a new atmosphere, eSports faced a few problems and challenges throughout the tournament, according to Pike. Competing against more experienced teams made it challenging. After their first game in order to get first place in finals, eSports had to have best in about two-three games.
“There was one team that took things really seriously, so playing against teams that are that good made it difficult for us,” Pike said “They had a coach and analyst that helped prepare for the games. We are a new club/team and don’t have coach to help us out,”
In addition, there were issues while trying to get internet access, which made it difficult to connect through the competing server. The wifi problems caused a four-hour delay in starting the tournament.
“There was also a lot of technology delays and difficulties. When there’s a super serious match going on and you have stuff delaying it, then it gets kind of stressful so that kind of weighs on you,” Pike said.
Competitors also brought in their own PC’s but if someone was unable to bring their own console, people could rent out one of Kruise’s custom built computers at the event for 20 dollars.
“I would take parts home and so I eventually just stocked up on the same kind of computer so we ended up with 11,” Kruise said “This is the first time we’ve used all 11 in a row, we had 10 just up until now. Typically people like to bring their own computers but we started using the loaner computers when we were doing Southwestern College’s League of Legends team.”
Even with the challenges faced, Pike is happy with how far the team came and hopes to be able to compete in more tournaments.
“We made to the finals, so I’m proud of the team. We really just came for the experience and for the future. Making it to finals, that was great. For next time, now that I know we can actually do well. I’m excited to play against new teams now that we have more experience and hopefully we can actually win it all,” Pike said.