Gamers, a group of people who are passionate about the virtual world, are often criticized for wasting their time and not being productive. With all the criticism, maybe there’s something about the virtual world that keeps players coming back, and people who don’t know anything about games might have missed it. As the game industry develops, online gaming gradually becomes prevalent, leading to the creation of offline gaming communities. BU Gaming Club was founded for this reason; it’s a community built by the gamers with the purpose of creating connections for gamers and improving the overall gaming experience.
It doesn’t matter what you play or what console you use. If you’re a gamer, this is definitely the place to be. Gamers these days no longer stay in their tiny dark rooms and play games all day in front of a TV. The gaming club is a lot more than just a group of people playing games together — it’s a place to meet people, share experience and tips, and hang out. Every Saturday night a diverse group of gamers gather in this room to compete against each other, laugh, and share their opinions on the latest update of the game they’re playing.
According to Christie Tang (CAS 16’), the coordinator for tournaments, the majority of the members in the gaming club play League of Legends. If you don’t know what League of Legends is, you need to look it up, seriously. This free-to-play MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game has gained more than 70 million monthly active players – more than the population of France – since launch, and it’s slowly gaining popularity and media coverage around the globe.
Riot Games is a unique gaming company that focuses on the player experience. In stead of developing certain mechanics or game mode that attract players, they ask what the players want and modify their products according to the players. “Riot Games, the company that made the game, is really interested in promoting community which I think they do so much better than other gaming companies,” Tang said. From fan arts to cosplay, from merchandise to offline events, Riot Games has transformed a game to a global community.
League of Legends doesn’t have a stiff learning curve. It’s quite simple. In order to succeed in the game, the team need to work together to destroy the enemy Nexus, which is the base that gives players the control over their characters. Players need to constantly talk to each other and communicate their strategy. Each player is involved in teamwork and constant decision making from the beginning of the game, and they need to get their point across the team so that other players can work together to win the match. This game breaks the interpersonal barrier between players because they all want to win the game. Therefore, they need to put away their anxiety and communicate. In this way, no matter how socially awkward a player might be in real life; they rarely encounter any problem communicating with others during the game. Tang said, “it’s really fun to play with people, especially at school…it’s a social event actually. People think that it’s really lame because you’re just sitting in your room; it’s more than that. That’s how I got to know some of my really close friends.”
Because of the fact that players are comfortable being themselves in the games, players often invest a substantial amount of time and energy to this game. Tang said, “I don’t invest hundreds of hours in this game, but I do play a lot tho…on the weekends it’s really easy just to wake up and play until you sleep.” Some might see this as a problem, or an addiction, but Tang has a different take. For her, it’s a hobby, and a good way to make connections. “Gaming has much more brain-processing than watching a TV show … when you meet someone who plays League of Legends, you make that instant connection,” she said.
Some players really commit to their passion and become professional players. In 2010, Riot Games started its own sports league and sponsored professional teams to play weekly tournaments. These professional teams spend many hours to perfect their skills and compete against other teams in their region. Every year around Oct., Riot Games hosts an annual season championship in one of the regions in the world and only the top teams of each region can attend this event. This year, the championship series is held in several famous stadiums in Europe, including France, England, Belgium and Germany, and there’s a $2 million prize pool for teams around the world to win. It’s crazy to think about how most of these players, who are between the age of 17 – 23, will be making more money in a month than what an average American makes in a year. They are viewed as superstars in the gaming community.
League of Legends is not only fun to play, but fun to watch as well. The BU Gaming Club is hosting a viewing party on Oct. 31st. If you want to experience the excitement with fellow players, or if you just want to make friends (they are super welcoming), you should definitely attend this event.