games / Columns

Mobile eSports: The Next Coming Wave

October 21, 2017 | Posted by Adam Larck
Mobile Masters Las Vegas

While eSports is still a growing league, many games have left its impressions. From Halo to Overwatch, DOTA 2 to League of Legends, Street Fighter to Mortal Kombat, some games were born to be competitive and fit right into this creation.

However, would you ever think about a mobile fighter like Power Rangers: Legacy Wars becoming a new eSport fighter? What about VainGlory hitting the eSport MOBA scene? Mobile eSports are still in its infancy, but it’s a relatively young experience that Amazon hopes to capitalize on.

The Fire tablet creator hosted its second Mobile Masters tournament on Oct. 14-15 in Las Vegas (the first being earlier this year in New York). While Hearthstone may be the first game that pops into your mind as being a mobile competition game of choice, it was nowhere to be seen in Vegas.

Instead, teams such as Echo Fox, HateUsMore, Equinox and more competed in World of Tanks Blitz (the mobile version of the hit PC and console title) and VainGlory, while the top eight single competitors took aim on proving to be the best in Power Rangers: Legacy Wars.

If you pictured screaming fans, shoutcasters yelling through the arena and a wild atmosphere, you would be disappointed. The only fans in the arena at Neonopolis in the Fremont area in Vegas were friends and family of the competitors. Shoutcasters could be heard on the Twitch stream, but in the arena, it was quiet, with the occasional shout from a player if a big play was made. And the mood was calm and composed, letting these players (many of whom were new to the eSport scene) concentrate on strategies and considering their next moves to try and get them to that first-place goal.

(Note, tune in later this week for a companion piece focusing on the mind and personalities of being a new eSport competitor).

Pay to win?

One of the biggest questions many may have about these games, even more so than console and PC eSports games, are if you must pay to even stand a chance in the competitive scene.

After all, all three titles are free to download and make all their money on microtransactions. In World of Tanks Blitz, you can buy new tanks or boosters, Power Rangers: Legacy Wars lets you buy box after box hoping to get the best characters and upgrade them, and VainGlory has you buying new characters as well to use, like LoL and DOTA 2.

For the most part, while players acknowledged they had all spent a good amount of money in their respective games, they noted it normally wasn’t required to get on a competition level, it just helped speed up the process.

“It’s not pay to win whatsoever,” Keagan Stutz (G_O_O_S_E) said about World of Tanks Blitz. All the competitors interviewed noted that buying things just gave boosts that let you get XP faster or other useful items faster, but that they could still all be earned through the course of normal play.

And the premium tanks you may see in game? Sure, those can only be bought, but Stephen Meyer (iRaikkonen) noted that the tanks often have worse fire rates or damage output compared to normal tanks, making them a poor choice for tournaments.

The Power Rangers: Legacy Wars players may have been the ones who have spent the most in-game money, as the random boxes you periodically get aren’t just cosmetic changes, but help unlock key characters you would need to use in tournaments, as well as help power them up to their optimum levels.

Sure, the field was even during the tournament so that no one had an advantage during the fights, but during the qualifier those that had paid more for the entire roster had an advantage.

As Aajay Jaggernauth (JaySoSavage) noted, though, spending a lot of money didn’t guarantee you a spot in the finals. He noted one player had spent over 10,000 in the game, but others that had better skills and knowledge of moves could still take him down, even with higher HP and attack ratings.

As for VainGlory, you wouldn’t be mistaken for thinking of the pay model similarly to DOTA 2 and LoL. Sure, you can rush out and buy crystals to get every character. Or, you can grind out matches, raising coins to buy all the characters that way while also earning chests that will give characters’ boosts in abilities (and sometimes new skins).

So, while paying a ton of money in each title will give you a leg up over casual gamers, don’t expect throwing money at a game to just vault you into any of these tournament scenes.

Come back tomorrow for a recap on each tournament.

article topics :

Mobile Masters, Adam Larck