A group of University of Connecticut students have been competing in a tournament through video game developer Blizzard Entertainment, and have won against hundreds of other schools across North America so far, Associate PR Manager for Blizzard Entertainment Mark Fujii said in an email.
The tournament, called “Heroes of the Dorm” in reference to the game “Heroes of the Storm,” has reached its final bracket of 64 teams, Fujii said. The team from UConn, known as the Tricky Turtles, is comprised of six UConn students, Cody Revicki, Mitchell Salvatore, Jason Yip, Ryan Suh, Xiaowei Xia and Nick Lee, Revicki said in an email.
“Heroes of the Dorm is not only a battle for the National Championship title, but it’s a chance for a slice of more than $500,000 in scholarships in (prizes),” Adam Rosen, co-founder and esports business operations manager at Tespa, said in an email. “The National Champions will receive scholarship money for the remainder of their college careers.”
The competition is divided into weekly rounds which culminate in May with the Round of 4, called the Heroic Four, Fujii said.
The Tricky Turtles are ranked 10th out of 64 teams in the post-season, and analysts predict they will make it to the top eight after finishing the regular season with an 87 percent win rate, Rosen said. UConn players have advanced as far as the round of four in the past.
UConn was also mentioned in an ESPN bracket reveal.
“The regular season lasted five weeks, where teams play twice per week, and this determines seeding for the round of 64,” Revicki said. “The round of 64 begins on March 28, where teams play once per week, and each week the winning teams advance. The round of 4 is on May 12 in the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California. The top four teams play in front of a live crowd to see who takes home the trophy.”
Team captain Salvatore said he began by playing “Heroes of the Storm” and has participated in every Heroes of the Dorm tournament, advancing all the way through to the final round.
“Four years ago I played the game (‘Heroes of the Storm’) and enjoyed it a lot. Then I saw an advertisement the company (Blizzard) sent out about Heroes of the Dorm,” Salvatore said. “I thought I would get some friends together and have some fun with it. I have played in each Heroes of the Dorm tournament since then with a top eight finish year one, top four year two and top 16 last year.”
Members of Tricky Turtles have different backgrounds in gaming and enjoy the competitive and social aspects of the tournament, Revicki said.
“I had no prior experience playing games competitively prior to being on the team,” Revicki said. “Xiaowei (Xia) and Ryan (Suh) both have played at the semi-pro level in other games prior to ‘Heroes of the Storm.’”
The competition provides participants the opportunity to bond with their teammates and make friends with members of teams from schools all over the country, Revicki said.
“My favorite aspect of the competition is the getting to know students from all over the country and creating rivalries,” Salvatore said.“Very few players in the country are able to compete at this level of play.”
Fans are welcome to participate in a bracket challenge for a $1 million prize, Salvatore said.
“One of our favorite things about collegiate esports is watching campus communities rally around their teams to cheer them on,” Rosen said. “We’ll be broadcasting matches regularly through the tournament – which presents an opportunity to host viewing parties on campus to watch the action and cheer the team on!”
Miranda Garcia is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.