Australian Seasonal Offers eSports To Australia’s MOBA Players
With the main centres of competitive gaming falling around North America and Europe (and a few pockets in Asia), it is easy for Australians to feel a bit too far out of the limelight to truly compete in eSports. Prohibitive travel expenses to off-line events and debilitating latency in online tournaments mean that any true blue Aussie who is not completely dedicated to a gaming career or backed by a business partner will find his or herself at a significant disadvantage.
Now into its fourth week, the Australian Seasonal is a new initiative in Heroes of Newerth. It is the first tournament run by and specifically for the down under community. All matches are held on Australian-based servers and take place at times suitable for the time zone of Australia/New Zealand – a stark change from the overnight matches of American or European-based events. With sponsorships from S2Games, Roccat, CreativesLABS, and Titan Electronics, there are no shortages of spoils for the victors.
NonFictionGaming was fortunate enough to sit down with Sliferjam of S2 – one of the fathers of the Australian Seasonal – and pick his brain about just how the event is coming along.
NFG: For those of us who don’t know, why not tell us a bit about yourself? What role do you play within S2?
Sliferjam: Hi, my name is Sliferjam, I’m the Technical Support Manager and Bug Squisher Extraordinaire for S2Games. I spent two years as a volunteer Tech Support worker as well as a Game Master. (Volunteers get jobs!) Oh, and I obviously am the Project Overhead of the Australian Seasonal
NFG: Oh awesome. Some real nice progression there. I’m afraid I have to ask the big question: what do you believe HoN has over other MOBAs?
Sliferjam: The faster, action-packed battles, the big plays, vital team-work and last-milisecond decisions that can turn the tide of a heated battle. HoN to me, stands out because of the skill cap required and concentration needed in situations. (not to mention we have BreakyCPK!)
NFG: Cool, cool. And definite agreement on Breaky!
You’ve mentioned that you’re the Overhead of the Australian Seasonal. What was the ethos behind it? What was the driving force for this event?
Sliferjam: The idea behind having the Australian Seasonal flourish into what it is today is the pure driving force that Australians and New Zealanders don’t have an “ideal” HoNTour setting. This gives Australians the opportunity they don’t have otherwise to prove themselves in a setting where they can be the “best in Aus”. The driving force was purely the lack of any organization for us, and I guess that is also the ultimate drive! (Albeit, Australians/NZ can compete in HoNTour, but crazy pings and time don’t make it an ideal setting)
NFG: Yeah, having played in one HonTour event myself I can attest to the crazy time schedules. So, now that the seasonal is into its fourth week, have you had a chance to watch any of the games? And how do you think it’s progressing?
Sliferjam: Definitely, I’ve watched a few games here and there, and have even shoutcasted a few games with the brilliant Falcoqq (www.twitch.tv/falcoqq) himself. I can say from the level of skill and upsets and matches we’ve had so far, I’m really interested to see how the remainder of the Cycles will play out!
NFG: How do you think the Aussies stack up against the rest of the International HoN scene?
Sliferjam: I personally believe they can hold their own. Teams within the Australian Seasonal should take this as a platform to get themselves into scrimming with higher teams internationally. The Australian Seasonal is arguably the smallest pond in the international scene. I’d really love to see some teams step up and give HoNTour a go in the next season.
NFG: So for any Australian HoN player who hasn’t yet gotten in on the Seasonal, how does it work?
Sliferjam: Ok, so the Australian Seasonal is divided into two competitions; Competitive and Casual. Teams in the Casual use this experience as a stepping stone and hopefully by the next Seasonal, we will see most of these teams sign up competitively.
Competitive division play through cycles and earn points to gain their invite to the LAN-based finals at the conclusion of 6 cycles. There are 4 teams in each Division and both Casual and Competitive work this way; at the conclusion of the 6 week period, the team that comes first in Divisions 2, 3 and 4 move up a division, whilst the unfortunate team to come 4th in Division 1, 2 and 3 move down.
Every match and conclusion of the Cycle gives teams Seasonal Points. The top 6 teams at the conclusion of 6 cycles with the highest Seasonal Points will see themselves with an invite the LAN-based finals.
NFG: And so anyone who feels that they may not yet be good enough for a tournament setting can play with people of a similar level in the casual divisions?
Sliferjam: Correct. The Casual Competition is exactly that – it’s catered to more casual teams who would like to see how they stack up against other teams of similar skill. We encourage all teams in the Casual Division to move up to Competitive at the conclusion of the first Seasonal.
NFG: Excellent. I’m sure many people may have been a bit apprehensive about signing up for fear of being eliminated early on by much more experienced teams.
Just before we wrap up, are there any final thoughts you’d like to share or shoutouts to make?
Sliferjam: Absolutely, I encourage everyone to give it a go. It’s absolutely free to sign-up, and no matter what, you’ll always see yourself and your team improve.
I’d first like to thank our Sponsors, of course, ROCCAT Gaming, Non-Fiction Gaming, S2Games, TitanElectronics, and CreativeLABS. My shout-outs are to everyone who has made this possible, including my Australian Seasonal Managers, and a huge shoutout to my gf Sarah for putting up with this so far. And finally, you, the reader who has given their time to get through this interview, you rock!
NFG: Thanks so much for your time, Sliferjam.