Much like mobile gaming as a whole, the popular MOBA game Vainglory for mobile devices by Super Evil MegaCorp is entering that awkward adolescent age between the awe of childhood, and the gritty reality of adulthood.
…I see this influx of player run events as a good thing for the community and the future of the game despite the appearance of over-saturation.
Just 4 months after the official launch of the game, a thriving player community has emerged, due to Super Evil Mega Corp’s seemingly unwavering commitment to their fans. And at the center of this growing community of mobile gamers is a burgeoning competitive scene that is hungering for the tools and official backing to compete on a worldwide level. And while undoubtedly a small percentage of the overall user base, the “High ELO” players have fragmented away from the casual player base, focusing on competitive play and the future of the game. This need for competition has lead to a flood of player run tournaments, leagues and organized team matches, with new ones popping up daily. Having been a sponsor of the recently completed Vainglory Championship Series, and now a partner with the VGL at VaingloryLeague.com, I wanted to discuss why I see this influx of player run events as a good thing for the community and the future of the game despite the appearance of over-saturation.
True to the MOBAs before it, at the very heart of Vainglory is competition. For pure fun-factor, the game is amazing, however it is the competitive aspect which brings you back, game after game, motivated to improve and learn from your mistakes to outdo the other team. And as you get better and better and rise in ranks the competition thins leaving the highest ranked players (Pinnacle of Awesome / Vainglorious) left wanting. SEMC has gone on record stating that there will be no officially sanctioned tournaments or leagues until at the very least Spectator Mode has been implemented within the game. This has forced the player community to create their own tournaments and leagues in order to scratch that itch of competition. I have seen comments that this saturation of player run events could be a detriment to the future of the competitive game and the “High ELO” player base. Being someone that is actively involved in the organizational side of Vainglory competitive play, I wanted to provide my thoughts on the situation:
At the time of writing, there are currently three main events happening:
LEV – League of Extraordinary Vainglorians
10 Weeks – 50 Teams compete in a seasonal league structure with top 32 teams advancing to the Tournament of Champions.
VGL+NA 3v3 Cup – Vainglory League / North America
4 Weeks – 32 Teams compete in a bracketed tournament with randomized seeding. – North American Servers Only (http://www.vaingloryleague.com/tournament/3on3-cup-na-1/)
VGL+EU 3v3 Cup – Vainglory League / Europe
4 Weeks – 16 Teams compete in a bracketed tournament with randomized seeding – European Servers Only (http://www.vaingloryleague.com/tournament/3on3-cup-1/)
Each of these events offers something unique and valuable for the competitive player.
For the LEV, we’re talking about the first true attempt at a seasonal league within the Vainglory community. With a $1000 in cash prizes and bonus ICE for top placing teams, this is an exciting prospect for the High ELO scene. This structure should provide teams the opportunity to play against the best in the world while gaining valuable knowledge of how to improve their game over the course of the 10-week season. This is a fairly long-term commitment for a game that has only been around twice that (approx. 20 weeks.), however, the opportunity is invaluable.
With both the VGL+NA & VGL+EU 3v3 Cups, we’re talking about a traditional style tournament format with 32 regional teams being placed within a randomly seeded bracket. This is a single elimination structure, with losing teams being dropped each round. However, due to the shortened schedule, losing teams can continue to practice and improve for next months cup event. The shortened timeline also allows new players and teams to enter the fray and evaluate their play level within a competitive environment. These tournaments can act as a valuable proving grounds as teams prepare for either an officially sanctioned season One with SEMC, or future LEV or VGL leagues.
One other event of note are the Sunny Sunday events being coordinated by the VGL. These 8 team events are spontaneous, 1-day – 2vs2 tournaments that pit teams head to head for a winner takes all event. The Sunny Sunday events are live streamed from beginning to end at twitch.tv/vaingloryleague and offer teams the chance to flex their skills for the glory of the Sunny Sunday. These are fun events focused on the players and teams, and produce the excitement of a full scale tournament, consolidated into a 4-5 hour window.
While this large offering of competitive play may feel overwhelming for the currently small base of high-elo players, I believe this offers every skill tier an opportunity to try their hand at competitive play, and will only create a better experience in the long run for the community. With the impending release of spectator mode, and the ability for true 3v3 competitive play, I think we are just scratching the surface of what will be possible within this space.
The future is bright for Vainglory and the players that make up this community! Now go play 🙂
What do you think? Agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments or on twitter @vainshame
For LEV, I think it’s interesting that over the 10 week span there is bound to be an update that will have massivle implications for team comps and play style. Update 1.3 changed so much, so what if an equally earthshattering update happens during LEV’s 10 week period? I don’t have answer, but it’s a very interesting dilemma.
Like the Corpus release? 😉
But in all seriousness, I think this is just another risk that is worth taking as the community pushes beyond the development of the game. SEMC has done a great job paying attention to what the community is doing, and taking into account the repercussions they create by future changes.
What LEV is doing is very ambitious, and its an exciting experiment to watch. Regardless of its overall success or failure, LEV is pushing the boundaries of what the game/community can support, and the lessons learned will only strengthen the future of competitive play in Vainglory.
Everyday, I wake up excited about where this game and it’s community will be tomorrow.
Probably AdyEndrus says
These are actually great steps in the right direction! I think the biggest problem with the tournaments is their choice of game time or game frequency.
LEV requires players to play at the same time on every weekday. That’s just not realistic for most people.
VGL requires 6 PM EST one day a week. While more manageable, I feel like 6 PM EST is still too early in the day. People in PST are most likely still at work at 3 PM PST.
I feel with a few tweaks we could encourage these tournaments to become more mainstream. I would love to know that I could tune in to a certain stream on Thursdays to see the top teams in a tournament playing Vainglory and get to watch from a spectator mode. Anyone have Day9 on speed dial? I think his commentary would go great with Vainglory. I had him come shoutcast some League of Legends games when he had never played before. He knew none of the heroes, items, or abilities, and still did a fantastic job.
I think you raise a good point Ady, regarding the game times.
For Vainglory league, I do agree 6pm EST is too early. I would expect this will shift in the near future as the North American arm of the organization develops further. With VGL+EU team being based in Germany, the times are currently scheduled to allow for their participation, without requiring them to stay up all night. 🙂
But again, as this game matures and the competitive tier grows these are important details that will need to be considered.
Thanks for the comment!
Not a problem! This article was great and actually informed me of some things in the near future! I actually reached out to a few people about putting a team together. Thanks!
Interesting, just browsing thru vainshame and found that convo.
Will bring that in to our next meeting.
thanks for the tipps!!
Ady, On your choice of shoutcasters, I think community members should be given the chance to shoutcast before someone else from another MOBA comes in and steals the spotlight. Let’s grow the esports community from within before we look elsewhere.
Not that I’m biased about any of it! Just ignore the fact that I’ll be shoutcasting the VGL NA Cup 😉
Considering everything I now know about what SEMC is doing on its end to foster the competitive community, I agree with your analysis Josh. A couple big-name players are in direct contact with SEMC about influencing the future of the competitive game, and the developers are listening.
As for updates mid league…it happens in every MOBA. Comps and metas change frequently so it’s not a huge issue.