If you care about eSports,you probably know some of the big tournaments already. Red Bull Battle Grounds, ESL One, League of Legends World Championships, the International. These are where the best of the best get together, sometimes under one roof, to play the games they love.
But what if you’re not playing for Na’Vi or the LA Renegades? What if it’s just you and your friendly team of 5 that want to get together and play some League in a friendly competition? Well, what you’re looking for is an amateur tournament.
What’s the difference between a pro and an amateur?
Just because you’re great at the game, doesn’t make you a pro-gamer. Just from a basic standpoint, pro-gamers are paid for their work. Their livelihood (their actual income) depends largely on the success or loss during a single game.
In a series of interviews conducted with Chinese professional gamers, one person wrote: “It’s the difference between street basketball and the NBA.” Just as in that description, there are great street basketball players but it is a different culture and mentality that goes into the work that isn’t the same as someone who is playing on a professional team. Some amateurs do eventually go pro, but they have to do so through years of hard work and an attitude that the game is more than fun — it’s a job.
If no one is paying you to play, you’re probably still an amateur. A good way to move up out of amateur rankings is to compete in non-pro tournaments, so you should still keep a look out for those.
Where can I find an amateur tournament?
There are a lot of amateur tournaments out there. Some of them are based around local areas – regional tournaments that may take place on college campuses or local gamer hang out spaces. For example, here’s a tournament from a few years back that took place at a college near me in Kentucky. The easiest way to find these is either through the forums of your game or through a simple Google search with a location and your eSport of choice. Another thing to keep an eye out for is local comic book conventions that may have game tournaments built in favor of amateur players.
Because you don’t have to be in the same location for a lot of eSports and competitive gaming, you also have options for online play tournaments. These are often hosted through clients or through Twitch services, so you can check them out before diving into any of them. An example would be this guy, who’s trying to set up an amateur League of Legends tourney for the NA servers. A good idea would be to check out the specific subreddit for your game of choice and see if there are any people putting together tournaments. If not, don’t be afraid to set one up yourself.
You can even set up your own using the eSports functionality through Gamer Launch, which will allow you to set up matches against other teams.
What kinds of prizes, fees can I expect?
During my research, I found that most of these tournaments are fairly low cost. This is especially true for tournaments that take place online. The downside to this is that with low cost comes low reward. Some of the highest prizes for these amateur tournaments were under $100, and often involved prizes in the form of in-game currency and skins.
If you’re looking to make big money, amateur tournaments are not necessarily the way to go.
However, if you’re excited to learn more about teamplay, or to get more visibility in the world of professional eSports, an amateur tournament is an outlet for that. So try your luck and give it a go — there’s an amateur eSports tournament somewhere near you.