The Basics of eSports 2: Knowing Your Playing Field

Part 1, Communication basics here.

Just like with traditional sports, eSports are played on a specific playing field that players are confined to. Some maps do this with invisible/impassable walls, and others with cliffs or insta-death locations. Games have very defined out of bounds areas due to the nature of video games, which means there’s no need for out of bounds rules that traditional sports like soccer or American football utilize. If players find a way to exit out of these zones, more often than not, they’ll fall through the map eternally, resulting in many games using a death floor in order to prevent infinite falls/loops.  Competitive games are usually in a state of “perpetual beta” much like internet browsers are, constantly evolving and changing to meet the needs of the fan base.

Some games’ playing fields are dynamic. In Counterstrike : Global Offensive, there are map rotations and bans for most professional leagues. Usually the losing team gets to choose the map, and the winning team chooses the side they play on first when playing a series. On the other hand, Overwatch’s maps have varying play styles, from moving an objective to a location by being near it(payloads), capturing a static point (king of the hill) or assaulting a secondary objective (2cp)-even a combination with hybrid capture point/payload maps! Some maps, like Eichenwalde, even change based on the payload’s progress. When a game includes this sort of mechanic, it’s especially important to know the ins and outs of each and every map in the competitive pool.

In Contrast, some eSports like League of Legends use a static playing field. Objectives are clearly defined and primarily non-dynamic. This traditional sort of play area allows the game to be re-balanced map-wise, as well as character-wise. Abilities that get over certain walls will always be able to get over those same walls with no confusion, whereas trying to balance the game around several map picks might become a chore for the developers. It’s important to know the maps you’ll be playing in if you’re serious about eSports.

In most competitive communities, basic map callouts are utilized by even the casual gamers such as these callout maps for CS:GO’s Dust II and Mirage.

CS GO Dust II Callout Map

Dust II

Counter Strike : Global Offensive Mirage Map Callout



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