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The Antelope

UNK’s eSports team provides virtual athletic experience

UNK Louie Loper 

After disruptions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Loper eSports team is looking to get back in action. After a brief break in events, the group is looking forward to the future. 

Trevor Wood, a UNK senior and admin on the Loper eSports Discord server talked about the team’s plans and importance.

“COVID kind of slowed it down a bit this year but I think they plan on doing some more competitions coming up,” said Wood over Discord, a multi-messaging and voice chat app for gamers. “I like the implementation of events like this as it brings the school closer together. Students are able to have interactions with other students in a new way.”

The Loper eSports team is still in its infancy, but they have already hosted an event. In early August, the team held a tournament for the popular multi-platform game Rocket League. The title has players control an RC car to compete in a soccer match. While it is easy to pick up, the game can be hard to master. Because of its creative and competitive scene, it has become a popular game in the esports scene. Online games are especially popular currently since the pandemic has forced many in-person tournaments to cease entirely. 

Due to lockdowns and social distancing measures, several popular competitive games are nearly impossible to play locally. One of the more prominent examples is the Nintendo cross-franchise fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. “Smash,” as the game is referred to by its fans, can host up to eight people locally, but only four online. Many members of the competitive Smash Bros. community do not play the game online, however, as the latency between game hosts can cause inputted commands seconds to respond in a game where the difference between success or failure can come down to as little as a 60th of a second, or one frame. Many (including those in the UNK Esports team) are hoping that once COVID rates die down, Smash Bros. tournaments can be held locally once again.

Participation numbers and new team members might be needed before the esports team can get into full swing.

“Once a COVID-19 vaccine releases, hopefully we’ll start hosting local Super Smash Bros. tournaments and ideally we liven up the Discord server a bit,” said Jason Walton, a second-year undergrad in the Discord server. “I’d say that COVID-19 is bad for the group.”

The Loper eSports team is seeking new members so that they can expand their organization and plan more events. The eSports team has a Facebook page and a Discord server that can both be joined from their page on UNK’s website. Anybody with an interest in competitive gaming— or just video games in general— might want to check out the team, and even consider joining. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros., are just some of the games the Loper eSports team plays.

Walton also had some advice for newcomers.

“If you’re planning to attend an in-person event eventually, especially a Smash one, please bathe beforehand,” Walton said. “Don’t be a stereotype.”

Any students interested in joining can either follow the UNK Esports Facebook page or join the Loper eSports Discord server on UNK’s Communication website.

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