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Roanoke College To Compete in Three “eSports” Titles

Roanoke College will be competing in a national esports league in the fall of 2020. The College will compete in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) with varsity and junior varsity teams in three titles: League of Legends, Rocket League and Counter Strike Global Offensive.

Approximately 20 students have committed to the Roanoke College esports team and there is room for additional players in all three titles. Students will compete on an unofficial level this semester, similar to scrimmages in athletics, and competition through NACE will begin in the fall. Randy Stubstad, director of systems, networking and telecommunication services, is the advisor to the esports club, effectively serving as the head coach with student coaches assisting on each competition title.

“Roanoke College has given us an amazing opportunity to build an esports team,” Jimmy Siewert ‘22, the president of the esports club, said. “Esports will allow for students to connect over similar interests and acquire strong team building and leadership skills.  I am excited to lead the team and build camaraderie through something new here at Roanoke.”

Students on the team will have the opportunity to participate in shoutcasting – providing play by play coverage and hype of the games. Plans are also in the works to stream games to the Colket Atrium or Game Room to allow for a spectator viewing as well.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm among all of the players and it’s really nice to see how passionate everyone is about the games they’re playing,” Miranda Lawhorn ‘20, president of the video game club and vice president of communications for the esports club, said. “I think it takes a special type of love for a game to want to go beyond playing it casually and into a more professional and competitive setting with something like esports.”

The Kresge Lounge on the ground level of Colket Center, center of student life on campus, will house  the esports teams. It has been outfitted with 11 Acer gaming PCs with RESPAWN gaming tables and chairs.  Each PC has a wired connection to the internet using a statically assigned, external IP address to ensure low latency during match play.

The monitors have a 144hz refresh rate and 1ms response time, keeping fast moving images clean and clear. A widescreen smart TV connects to the coaches station to stream real-time play and display recorded game footage for team training.  The room is also equipped with dimmable LED lighting for better screen viewing.

“Students who get involved want to challenge themselves against other teams as well as the challenge of working with a team,” Lawhorn said.

Esports is a growing competitive option for students. Viewership for the 2018 League of Legends championship was higher than the 2018 Super Bowl. CNBC reported that more than 100 million unique viewers tuned in online to the League of Legends championship in South Korea last year.

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