With the recent HP Omen Challenge event just passing, it leaves us with a question. Do we need more of these lighthearted and fun events brought into the Counter Strike pro scene?
These less serious and lighthearted events make for an amazing viewing experience. Seeing your favourite players take the game less seriously but still performing to an amazing standard is an incredible feat to watch. Seeing the players having fun whilst playing Counter Strike sends a message out to fans showing that they are still in touch with their lighthearted side. It would also benefit the players as well. It takes time out of a serious, busy schedule to have some fun and relax a bit but still play Counter Strike.
The first taste in a fun event we got was the “ASUS ROG Play It Cool Event”. This was an event hosted by Republic Of Gamers over the 12th and 13th of December 2015. The event consisted of an “All Star” team playing against 5 amatuer teams, who would have won their own qualifying tournament on Faceit. The All-Star team consisted of players, casters, and an unknown player. The All-Star lineup went as followed;
The All-Star Team
- Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund – Ninja’s In Pyjamas
- Mikail “Maikelele” Bill – Currently Teamless
- Richard “shox” Papillon – G2
- James “JZFB” Bardolph – Caster
- Benjamin “lolz1e” Borgman – Competition Winner
With an All-Star lineup, lolz1e, who won the event running at Dreamhack Winter 2015, was chosen to play alongside these top tier players, and JZFB…
In short, this event was one where after games, the All-Star team would get a score calculated by using their Kills/Death ratio. After they obtained their score, it would be taken off their “Heat”. The player who was the “coolest” at the end of the 5 matches would win the MVP trophy. It also gave amatuer players a chance to shine on a big stage and play against some of their idols.
The players also had different challenges they had to complete throughout the matches. Various popular strategies such as Captain America, where one player will be assigned Captain America and when he chooses, call out “Avengers Assemble,” and then all other players must stop what they are doing and run to wherever the captain may be and salute him. Other challenges such as playing on 50 in-game sensitivity and Crab Walking were also used to lighten up the mood.
We then had HTC 1v1 Invitational on the 23rd and the 24th of April 2016. This event was, as you can probably already tell, a 1v1 event hosted by HTC where 16 pro players were invited to attempt to win in a 1v1 tournament. This was a lighthearted event where players and casters alike created a chilled vibe around the stream and studio. Players such as Richard “shox” Papillon, Kenny “kennyS” Schrub, and more attended. This was an interesting event, as for the first time, a female player was posed up against a male player. Julia “juliano” Kiran from Team Secret made an appearance as the only female in the tournament. The event was still very serious, as there was a prize pool of $25,000 up for grabs; the players didn’t take this for granted.
Shox plays against Seized
The tournament split the 16 players into 4 groups of 4. The 2 winners would progress into 2 groups of 4. Then the winners would battle it out in the semi-finals, and then into the finals. There isn’t much to say about this event as it wasn’t as lighthearted compared to the others mentioned, but it makes a change to just the usual E-League, Dreamhack, and ESL events that a ran throughout the year.
Just recently we had the HP Omen Challenge. This was my favourite event out of the mentioned events. he Omen Challenge ran on the 18th of August 2016 and was hosted by HP and ESL.
The basic setup of the Omen Challenge was that two pro teams would play in a best of 3 match. FlipSid3 Tactics and Mousesports were put up against each other. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. The Omen challenge would put players in various environments. Viewers would vote on what “torture” they would face. Things such as “Sonic Boom” where a huge blast of air would be pummeled into the faces of the players, and “Frostbite” where players would be in sub-zero temperatures.
This brought a breath of fresh air to the Counter Strike pro scene. Seeing these players put in these harsh conditions was a great thing to see! Watching pro players try to play the game when they are getting distracted in so many creative ways was amazing! Seeing how they could still work together to win rounds was incredible. Also having the control of what happens to these players felt great! It was something new on the cards, never done before in Counter Strike! Just by watching the event, you could tell the players had a blast, pardon the pun. This takes pressure of their busy schedules so they can just play whilst having fun!
There was a lot to improve on in this event such as the lackluster casters and the delays between matches. However, it’s a first so we can’t expect perfection.
With around 9,000 people watching the HP Omen Challenge, 28,000 people watching the 1v1 HTC Invitational, and 4,000 people watching the Play It Cool event, there is serious viewership to be gained from this. If there were more events that weren’t as serious as the main majors and events such as Pro League, I feel like more eSport fans will come over to watch, thus gaining more popularity to the ever-growing Counter Strike franchise. These events allow pros to chill out and play with each other without having to use “FPL – Faceit Pro League”.
My personal suggestion would be to have 2 or 3 of these events a year in between other events. This way we can always have a serious event followed up by a lighter hearted event, especially with the potential for a Counter Strike Invitational, thus being only one major a year. These events can help the fans prepare and keep them entertained with their favourite players playing with a bit more freedom.