July 20, 2019 | 83° F

Rutgers eSports to host open gaming contest Sunday


Courtesy of Alice Balashova | Rutgers eSports is hosting a Fireside Open competition on Sunday, inviting students from both the University as well as other institutions around the area to compete. While most similar competitions cost students about $50, the Fireside Open will be free of charge.

Rutgers’ eSports organization is hoping to unite the gaming community at the University by hosting their first annual Fireside Open competition on Sunday, which will be free to the public and to participating gamers.

A diverse player base will compete in games including League of Legends, Starcraft II, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Pokemon and more, from noon to 11:59 p.m.There will also be an exhibition match with the League of Legends Club facing off against the Dota Club on Heroes of the Storm.

This is one of the biggest events eSports is hosting this semester, said event organizer Alice Balashova. The event will showcase the competitive side of gaming, with a clean and professional aspect in a fun and friendly environment.

The School of Engineering sophomore said she hopes this event brings awareness to Rutgers’ gaming community, especially since other universities are invited to compete at Fireside Open.

“We want to show that our team at Rutgers University (can) compete against other universities and show that we are also part of the gaming community, not just for fun, but competitively,” she said.

The event will be streamed on Twitch and has eight sponsors, including kite+key, Twitch, Discord and more. The sponsors are also having giveaways, with prizes including lanyards, gaming pads, gaming mouses and headsets.

The 34 members of eSports began brainstorming for this event months ago because the organization wanted to end the semester with a big finale, Balashova said.

“We want to make this the biggest (event) because it’s right before the final of some seasons and the start of other seasons,” she said.

The organization also hopes to recruit members and gain recognition on campus.

“We really want to bring others who do not know about us into this community. I have several people who have yet to find out about our club, they had no clue that this actually is a thing,” she said.

She said she hopes to truly show the community of gaming, since it has brought her some of her closest friends.

“We’re a community that bonds a lot of people together, and it’s a huge community but a very, very tight family, for sure,” she said.

Balashova noted how important it was to make this event free for student gamers, because as a gamer herself, she knows how expensive it can be to pay a tournament fee, which is usually roughly $50.

She said eSports does not want to take that money away from students because that is not what the event is about.

“We want to showcase that we’re not just all about money, we want to show that we’re all a big community,” she said.

Any funding that comes along throughout the semesters is used for extra prize money, renting out more professional equipment and paying for anything that makes the gaming community better, Balashova said.

On Tuesday, for Rutgers Giving Day, eSports was given a $1,000 donation. Balashova said the organization is still unsure what the money will be used for, but they are ecstatic they received this money.

“Our group chat blew up within seconds and we were like ‘Oh my God, we won $1,000,'” she said. “We’re still deciding what the money is going to be used for but it’s definitely going to come back into the community.”

ESports is planning for Fireside Open to become an annual event, so every fall semester can end on a positive note, Balashova said.

The organization is planning for another event in January, although they are undecided on exactly what it will be. They plan for it to be a more casual event.

As fun as this event will be, Balashova said it is important to her and the others students that the gaming community brings people together, and they hope this event will bring more gamers to eSports.

“Here at Rutgers University, gaming is not just (about) sitting behind a screen on Friday nights and playing video games,” she said. “This is a family type of thing.”

Sophie Nieto-Munoz is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies and Italian. She is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum. You can find her on Twitter @snietomunoz for more.

Sophie Nieto-Munoz

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