Tanks, Technology, and the Accessibility of eSports: Insight into Wargaming’s eSport’s Division

Updated on March 2, 2017

The 2016 Grand Finals for Wargaming’s World of Tanks was held in Warsaw, Poland on April 8th and 9th. World of Tanks may not be the most popular of the eSports but it is an important player in the growing entertainment genre. I had the opportunity to talk tanks, technology, and the accessibility of eSports with Wargaming’s Global Director of eSports Mohamed Fadl at the event.

World of Tank's Growth and World of Tanks

This was the third annual Grand Finals event for World of Tanks and while it was still held in Warsaw, it moved to a larger venue, Torwar Hall. When asked what’s helped the eSports event grow Fadl commented, “It’s the players . . .and the fans.” It’s evident from the deafening cheers of fans in the audience for teams like two time Grand Finals winners Na’Vi, that the professional players have a loyal following.

Another piece of the eSports puzzle is pure entertainment value. To be successful as a spectator sport a video game needs sponsors and skilled players sure, but that’s nothing without an audience. To gain an eSports audience a game needs to be entertaining, “That’s the most important thing.”, explains Fadl. “Even my mother can enjoy it. . . .You see the torpedo flying through the air and it’s like a Hollywood movie.”,he adds talking about World of Warships.

Speaking of World of Warships, the 2016 Grand Finals showcased the first match of the game on a global stage. The game might not be as polished for eSports as World of Tanks but it was cinematic and entertaining. When asked about the future of World of Warships as an eSport the Global Director of eSports said it will depend on the interest of the community.

The Grand Finals stage at Torwar Hall.
The Grand Finals stage at Torwar Hall. | Source

European Domination and Global Expansion

There's already a lot of support from the community for World of Tanks as an eSport, albeit more in European regions. The teams from Europe are stronger competitors too. The reason for that is, “The game was launched in Russia. . .”, explains Mo and it took a few years to expand into other regions. Already we’re seeing more teams from other regions making it into the competition and making it farther through the brackets as well.

European teams may be dominating the competition, but teams in other regions show a lot of promise. “To be a great player you have to be a good person . . . .and passionate”, says Mo Fadl, “Take the new team eClipse . . .they have so much passion . . .give them a couple of years and I think they will really be incredible.” North American hopefuls eClipse came to the Grand Finals for the first time and although they didn’t make it to day two, they played well and gave North American fans hope that a NA team might make it to the finals one year.

Having new blood injected into the competition and underdog teams to root for is part of what keeps the Grand Finals interesting. That’s part of what goes into choosing the Wild Card teams. For example, former champions and second place winners of the Grand Finals 2016 HellRaisers were chosen as a Wild Card team partly because a lot of people wanted to see them return to the world stage. Red Cannids were a Wild Card team as well, selected to a degree because a Brazilian team had never come to the finals before. “How amazing would that be? To see a team that’s never been here before come and win it all?”, Mo enthused.

2016 World of Tanks Grand Finals winners Na'Vi are awarded the coveted trophy.
2016 World of Tanks Grand Finals winners Na'Vi are awarded the coveted trophy. | Source

Entertainment Value and Making it Pro

Even changes to the tournament format are influenced by a need to make the competition entertaining. Notable changes to the format of the tournament in 2016 include the inclusion of tier X tanks and an extended battle time. When asked “Why the changes?” Fadl answered, “ . . the tier X tanks are the end game for players in the community,” Extending the battle time to seven minutes was to allow for more interesting strategies using the more heavy hitting tanks. “The two go hand in hand.”, he explained.

Making the tournament game look more like the online game is a likely direction Wargaming is taking World of Tanks eSports. Part of the appeal of watching professional sports is relating to the players and feeling like you could be a pro one day too. “That’s the reason we are looking at making the tournament 15 vs.15. . .”, reveals Mo. So in future Grand Finals we may see teams of 15 players and entire clans that worked their way up to the finals by playing the same game they started with online.

Working your way up from a clan to a member of a professional team playing in tournaments is no easy feat. Yet, if you prove you have the skill, Wargaming will be there to support you. “We are making a path to try and help the players be successful.”,says the Global Director of eSports. When teams get into the gold league and start qualifying for tournaments Wargaming reaches out to help players sail the choppy waters of becoming a professional gamer; helping them get connected with sponsors and figuring out all the legal stuff.

Crowds gather for the final battles of the WoT Grand Finals.
Crowds gather for the final battles of the WoT Grand Finals. | Source

Technology in eSports

Technology is another crucial piece of eSports’ growth. A VR experience was available during the Grand Finals and Fadl expressed an interest in the technology's inclusion in World of Tanks. “Technology is the friend of eSports.”, says Mo. Although Wargaming has heavily supported streaming service Hitbox recently, they aren’t favoring one streaming avenue over any other. “People can choose what they want to use, where they want to watch.”, explains Fadl.

From streaming services making eSports more accessible for viewers to new video game physics making the game more challenging and interesting, technology will continue to drive eSports further. The director of eSports does recognize that access to technology can be an obstacle to players in certain parts of the globe. He believes in time the technology and access to it will come and eSports will be available for everyone.

Top of the line headsets, mice, keyboards and PC's are a must have for competitive gamers. Will VR become a crucial part of eSports gear as well?
Top of the line headsets, mice, keyboards and PC's are a must have for competitive gamers. Will VR become a crucial part of eSports gear as well? | Source

Out of the Box eSports

Wargaming may be partial to their own game and it’s slice of the eSports scene but they are also cheering for the genre as a whole, or at least their Global Director of eSports Mohamed Fadl is. “It’s important not to put eSports in a box.”, he said expressing a desire for creativity and openness when it comes to furthering the competitive gaming sector. “All games are competitive, whether it’s against a computer, or yourself, you are trying to do better and challenging yourself, so all games are competitive.”, explains Fadl.

It drives home the idea that eSports will thrive wherever there are fans to watch. The companies involved in shaping it need to take their cues from their audience. eSports will evolve, change and grow into a new and exciting genre of entertainment not quite like anything we’ve ever seen before, if we let it.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, levelskip.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://levelskip.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)