Attention all gamers: Taylor Esports is well underway and is welcoming new members, both competitive and casual.
Esports have boomed in popularity in recent years due to the overall growth of gaming. With the growth of the internet, as well as the birth of YouTube and live-streaming services like Twitch, video games have skyrocketed.
Now, esports teams are popping up all across college campuses in the U.S. — Taylor University is no different. What may be different, however, is that the Taylor Esports club isn’t limited just to people who are looking to join and train with a competitive team. The club is also for people looking for some friends to join up with casually.
In fact, the president of the club, junior Matthias Dean, said casual play is the focus of the club.
“Taylor Esports' primary focus is actually not on competitive gaming right now,” Dean said. “First and foremost, we want to be able to provide a safe and fun environment for students to be able to connect and just play any game that they want whenever they want.”
The club runs a discord server where people can join and simply find other people who are online. The server is very active, and there is a large variety in game selection, from Rocket League to Smash Ultimate or Call of Duty.
The casual gaming community is great for creating connections with new people across campus. It is also a way to get to know and spend time with people without having to worry about campus COVID-19 restrictions.
Additionally, the Taylor Esports discord is the best way to get information on upcoming events. The club often holds campus-wide game nights for a variety of different games, like the recent game night for Among Us. Their next scheduled event is a 2v2 Rocket League tournament that takes place Oct. 24.
For the casual side, the time commitment is really just the time that each member feels comfortable spending on the discord with the rest of the group.
“We're not asking for a certain amount of hours you have to put into the club,” said junior Luke Slater, secretary of the club. “It's really whatever you're comfortable with, so we would honestly welcome everyone to join because of that.”
The competitive side is a far more serious commitment. The club already has competitive teams in Rocket League, Smash Ultimate and Halo, and they are working on developing a League of Legends team as well as a Call of Duty team. Unlike casual gaming, the competitive teams have to train and practice for their matches.
Competitive gaming has an actual time commitment. The amount of time may vary based on the team captain, but each team has scheduled practices together and are also expected to put in work outside of practice, just like any other sport.
One of the exciting things about the esports teams is that they get to compete against other teams across the country.
“Our Rocket League team, within the past two weeks, has scrimmaged against big teams like UCLA, Texas Tech, Florida International University, Missouri State,” said Dean. “We've beaten those big schools in the scrimmages preparing for qualifiers at the end of the month.”
Competitive play is streamed on Twitch and is watchable to the public at twitch.tv/taylor_esports.
Whether casual or competitive, all gamers are invited to join the Taylor Esports team.
“I think that what I love most about this club is seeing it create a positive and Christ-like environment for people that love video games and gaming in general,” said Slater. “I think that it's been awesome (for) leadership to see a place where people from all different genres, all different interests can kind of come together and find community and find their place here at Taylor that might not have had a club or a place like that prior to Taylor Esports.”