University DotA 2 tournament promotes competitive PC gaming


Players get ready to play at the Union Ballroom in eSport tournament, organized by University student Qianbo Liu. Final teams competed for a prize of $400. 

By Andrew Yoon

University students competed on April 6 in the UIUC Ultimate Championship, a gaming tournament featuring the PC game Defense of the Ancients 2, or DotA 2. 

Electronic sports, more commonly known as eSports, has evolved over the last decade to become more competitive. Electronic gamers have gone from playing to be the best in the neighborhood to competing to be the best in the world. Now, sponsored players can compete for the chance to win up to several millions of dollars in worldwide competitions each year.

Though the University’s tournament did not feature a million-dollar prize, it included a month of matches between local students and several out-of-state players before the finals were showcased in the Illini Union Ballroom, said Qianbo Liu, the University student who organized and sponsored the tournament. The finals involved the remaining two teams competing for $400.

“The goal for the tournament was letting more people know about the game and enjoy it,” Liu said. “I definitely hope to expand the eSports scene at our school and am planning on doing a League of Legends tournament as well.”

League of Legends is a PC game similar to DotA 2 that features two teams competing in a match featuring heroes in a game similar to basketball and chess. It has become one of the most popular PC games. 

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Paul Osunero, senior in Engineering, was a player in the recent University tournament. Although he wasn’t a finalist in the event, he will represent the University of Illinois’ Collegiate Star League with his team that will take on other universities in DotA 2 during upcoming matches.

“Lots of people have hobbies that they take very seriously. I don’t think eSports should be any different. One of our old players was sent out to several national events,” Osunero said, “It’s no different than representing a team or a club at any state or national event.”

eSports has expanded to a point where it may not be considered a legitimate career, but is a part-time option for students who love and excel at video games. Ignite Gaming Lounge in Chicago hosted a prize pool of $2,000 this past December where several students from the University attended despite the events being held during finals.

“(We’re) interested in giving players a social outlet for the games they play,” said Megan Thaler, organizer of the event. “Be it casual or competitive.”

Osunero said he supports the promotion of eSports and hopes to see it expand more.

“eSports is growing pretty quickly, so it’s hard to say how far it’ll go from here.”

Andrew can be reached at [email protected].