The esports industry has skyrocketed in recent years with the scene growing in popularity all over the world. In the past, many perceived playing video games as a mere pastime, but it has since developed into a legitimate profession with esports teams competing in tournaments for popular games such as League of Legends, Dota 2, and Valorant.
The local scene has embraced esports; many Filipinos are beginning to devote their time into gaming as it provides an engaging distraction and a sense of social interaction that is heavily sought out due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, Globe teamed up with Esports AcadArena to offer scholarships to college students in the Philippines, making it the first esports scholarship in the country. This program lets esports student organizations apply for AcadArena accreditation under the “Alliance” program, which includes DLSU’s Viridis Arcus.
Displaying their dominance as one of the top Valorant teams of the country in the collegiate level, Viridis Arcus’ Xavier “xavi8k” Juan and William “w1lly” Reyes share their insights and experiences on being collegiate esports athlete in the Philippines.
Spearheaded by their team captain Juan, Viridis Arcus was only formed in July of last year, however, the young team is quickly becoming one of the top-ranked Valorant teams in the college division. Having reigned supreme in AcadArena’s University Alliance Cup, the team earned a spot to represent the country in the PVP Esports Campus Championship where they will battle against other collegiate teams in Southeast Asia.
Reyes, who plays the Sentinel role for the team shares the value of their teamwork in performing consistently at a high level, saying, “The great stuff that we have right now is good team camaraderie and we’re all open to each other. The key to our success is we know our roles.”
The gap of experience in first-person shooters and knowledge of the game is also one of their advantages, making their team different compared to others. Juan says, “We’re a five man Radiant team, so that’s hard to match up. Before we have to tell each other what to do, [but] now everyone knows what to do. It’s easier and simpler.”
The disruption caused by the pandemic has greatly affected the esports community in a positive way as well. Xavier shares that “the esports scene grew because of the quarantine”, and it has brought him many opportunities, like allowing their team to compete in Singapore.
Having experienced playing with teams from other countries, Juan notes “The Philippines is looked down on. You can feel there’s discrimination competing abroad.” As the team captain infers, skill level is not the reason for the prejudice, but it is because of the status of the Philippines being a third world country.
Joining the movement
Over the years, esports has risen in popularity, and it is evident with the emergence of new players and teams every single year. Online competitive gaming is a rising industry that is picking up some pace from the growth of fans and players alike. Tournaments all over the world have been surfacing, involving a great deal of money and competition.
In the collegiate scene, Juan believes that future tournaments would come into fruition, allowing various opportunities for gamers, while also highlighting the benefits involved in joining tournaments today. “Sabi they’re gonna make a UAAP [tournament] for esports daw, people will start to be recruited and it’s gonna be a new thing. The prizes [for current tournaments] are… [around] 1 million, [and] you actually have a chance to win,” the freshman captain shares. And when it comes to how these collegiate players may fare against today’s professional competition, Juan reveals, “Some of us have already gotten offers to become pro, but we’ve all turned them down so far. We beat some pro teams…We are actually really good; just because we are a collegiate team, doesn’t mean we can’t compete in the pro level.”
As the only active team that represents DLSU, the team has recently delivered in racking up success in representing the University, however, there is still a certain direction that it needs to reach, which is allowing members to have better opportunities and benefits. Juan shares, “I’m a freshman, and it’s my goal to make it a three star [organization] and handle it mismo but not just me, my other teammates, Arvin, and our manager [as well].”
Athletes draw their success and passion from many different areas. In the case of Juan, he expressed that his motivation comes from his brother and the Ateneo team (LG Esports). I’m friends with all of them and they’ve been competing in different tournaments and [the thought of being] a varsity player in esports [was] what I wanted. Then, when we compete against each other it’s just all good vibes.“
With the recent success of Viridis Arcus, it is ideal to expect that there is potential for greater things to come, for their team and the entire esports collegiate scene in the country. Although, with the current challenges and success gamers face today, what happens next to the players will depend on how the management and leadership of the team can take them to new heights.