Where Have The Events Gone?
With the first HCS Pro League season getting ready to close, there have been many positives and negatives to take from the Electronic Sports League and 343’s attempt to revive Halo’s competitive community. Both companies have worked very hard to create a league that provides a professional and competitive environment for the top teams and inspires those under them to continue perfecting their craft. Although ESL and 343 certainly have built a solid foundation to grow our community, we are still missing a crucial component to the development of our community: LAN events.
Almost every competitor and personality in Halo would agree that competitive events are a necessary component in our community. Events provide entertainment to more than just those looking to win some money; they provide everyone with an environment where you can socialize and have a great time with those who share the same passion as you. Friendships you have made online become solidified once you meet the people at these events, and it really helps you recognize just how impactful this game is to so many people.
Halo has a long and amazing history with events. Back when Major League Gaming was the primary host for Halo events, every season was filled with events across the United States, making it easy for every North American Halo fan who can travel to have a great time with their Halo friends. All of these events helped sustain our massive community at the time and it was one of those things we has Halo fans were proud to boast about to others.
As someone who does not have many friends and family who support my passion for Halo (just like most players), it can be very hard at times to maintain my strong love for the game when so many people right next to me tell me to “grow up” or to “give up on that game”. It is very hard for others outside of our community to understand our love for Halo and most are not afraid to let out their feelings.
For me, this puts a very stressful strain on my mind, having to juggle my real life and my Halo life. Although I have a very healthy and productive life outside of Halo and am able to juggle my hobby with my responsibilities, I would be lying if I told you an event every few months would not help ease a lot of this built in stress and help me reinstate that what I am doing is still important to me.
This is a problem most players have to deal with and although no one can really change the way others think, 343 and ESL can definitely give us an outlet to release this stress by providing us with more events. A few months ago before this season, I had a little Twitter debate with Halo pro Carlos “Cratos” Ayala. He initially complained about how our community is not receiving enough events to sustain our community and how weekly tournaments and matches are not going to help develop the younger prospects. I replied to him, saying that throwing a bunch of events all over the season would not be the smartest idea. Additionally, I said that weekly tournaments where the amateur players have an opportunity to compete against pro teams would be a great way for the top amateurs to build connections with pro players and grow their career.
Although I still believe that what I said is true, I said this under the assumption that the Pro League would have a small amount of both private and open events across the United States this season. As many of you can tell by reading this, I am definitely pro-event, but I do not believe that our community at the moment is large enough for ESL to continuously host events every month, like some players want.
I believe that a small amount of carefully calculated large scale events spread across the season is the smartest way to get our community used to events again. We have been deprived from “MLG like” seasons where there were several large scale events every season for so long that I fear if we jump straight to that schedule, we may not have large turnouts for most of the events. I believe that starting slow and building up is the best way to get the community used to events again.
Considering that I have no knowledge on what ESL’s future plans for Halo are, this may very well be what ESL is planning, just on a much smaller and careful scale. With only three small scale invitational events this season, ESL may be testing our community’s hunger for more events. With fans still allowed to purchase spectator pases for these smaller events, ESL may be using these spectator sales to determine if a larger scale open event would have a good turnout. This is all just an assumption on my end, but after seeing how dedicated ESL is to Halo, but also seeing how reluctant they are about hosting events, I believe this is a very valid assumption.
If this is the case, I certainly hope that our community convinces ESL that we are ready for large scale open events by buying these spectator passes. As I said earlier, I am definitely pro-event; I just believe that we need to take it slow at first and see if our community is ready to take off.
What do you think about the lack of events this season? Let me know in the comments section below.
Zachery Chevere can be contacted on Twitter: @PmL_Zarhaz
Image credits go to ComicBookBin, 343, MLG and ESL