The third biggest tournament in esports history has now begun.
The Smite World Championship is now live featuring a final prize pool of $2,612,260, more than every esports tournament in history save two. You can watch the entire tournament below.
Smite is a multiplayer online battle arena unlike any other, as it features a third person camera view and shooter-like controls that lead to an action packed game where even the auto attacks are skillshots.
Similar to Valve’s big Dota 2 bash The International, Smite developer HiRez Studios funded the prize pool in large part thanks to fan contributions. Over $2 million of the total prize pool was funded by sales of The Odyssey, a 21-week event selling in-game items that backed the big event.
Eight teams from around the world are in Atlanta today competing over the massive purse, with the following distribution.
2nd: $519,2283rd: $389,421
4th: $259,6145th-8th: $32,451
The winner will also be grabbing one of the coolest trophies in gaming.
Smite’s World Championship trophy is a gigantic detachable hammer. Electronic sports. pic.twitter.com/9tjkAvGqT9
— Chris Thursten (@CThursten) January 8, 2015
Unlike other MOBA games like Dota 2 and League of Legends, the favorites at worlds are from North America and Europe.
Many analysts peg the two American challengers, Cognitive Red and Cognitive Prime, as the nominal favorites. One of the most storied organizations in Smite, Cognitive Prime is the veteran team that lorded over the scene for months before upstarts dethroned them—the young team Cognitive Red.
Europe’s challengers are two underdogs themselves. The second European seed, SK Gaming, barely qualified for the regional tournament after an average performance in the Smite Pro League. But at live events, the team shines; they won the Kickoff tournament before the season and channeled that play at the regional to qualify. Europe’s top seed, Titan, didn’t even play in the pro league. They qualified for the regional through the challenger scene, and then narrowly escaped defeat in the first round, surviving a game with a single hit left on their base to win the entire tournament.
Challenging them are two teams from China, one from Brazil, and another from Latin America. Smite is still in beta in China, and the scene there isn’t as developed as it is in the west. Chinese teams OMG and Daoge is Dog will face a stiff challenge in Atlanta. We Love Bacon from Brazil and Name Not Found from Latin America will also likely struggle against the American and European powerhouses. But anything can happen in the server—in fact, it already did. Chinese team DID took the first blood in the entire tournament against Cognitive Prime.
The tournament runs through the weekend, with the finals set to begin at 2:30pm ET on Sunday. Reddit users put together a handy guide to help navigate through the third biggest esports tournament ever, but if you just want to jump right in, you can find the Twitch stream above.
If the official stream is a little intimidating, streamer tiermonster is running a newbie stream for the Friday day of the tournament.