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Would You Like to Play a Game?

By Connor Schultz
On September 29, 2016

Photo by: Ashley Alonzo

It is not your father’s Monopoly board game where you go to jail on a bad roll, or one that takes four hours to play. Some have called it a condensed version of Warcraft, one of the first games that got kids’ eyes glued to their computers a decade ago.

This new game, League of Legends, is only seven years old. In just that time, the game averages 7.5 million people playing at the same time, all the time, anywhere in the world.

League of Legends is a multi-player online game played on desktops in coffee shops, basements and in Ottawa University’s case, the library and computer labs all over campus.

In the game, each player controls a “champion” with unique traits. Each user-controlled champion starts the game weak, but as the play goes on, the user’s champion gets stronger by gaining experience and by achieving objectives. The game is five-on-five and typically lasts 30 minutes. The ultimate goal is to destroy the other team’s “nexus,” or base camp.

Five college students, four from different states and one student from Germany, have found one thing they all have in common: playing League of Legends.

Bobby Vo, transfer junior from Mississippi, Virgil Reed, hometown kid, growing up in Ottawa, Daniel Coppock, video game guru, hailing from Las Vegas, Nick Al-Chokhachy, first-year student from Delaware playing lacrosse, and Joshua Hache, freshman from Germany -- all five play a sport except Coppock, he plays more video games.

“I started playing the game over the summer before I came here,” Vo says. “Since me and Virgil both play tennis, we were talking about the game at practice one day, and we started playing together.”

The two tennis players heard about a national collegiate qualifier a month ago, but they needed three more players to field a team that could stand toe to toe against others across the country.

“We wondered if anyone else played the game here, Virgil posted something on Yik-Yak, asking if there were any League players around the school. That’s how we found Daniel,” Vo says.

In addition to playing League, Coppock participates in Super Smash Bros tournaments on the weekends.

“Once we got him, I told Virgil, “Dude, we are going to be pretty good,” Vo says.

After the three started playing, they needed two more to complete the team. Hache plays tennis and that was an easy sell, then Al-Chokhachy noticed them in the library, and the team of five was set in stone.

All five of them say a friend showed them the game, and one-by-one they all got hooked.

“If you actually want to get good at the game, you don’t need someone to teach it to you. If you want to learn the game, you have to play off of your mistakes and learn from it. It’s like life: If you want to get good at something, you have to put the time and the work into it,” Coppock says.

While it is all fun and games for now, the group plans to sign up for the 2017 Campus Series League. The deadline is Oct. 15, and the first week of matches starts Jan. 14. The deeper they advance in the tournament, the greater chance they have of winning scholarships and prizes.

According to CStarLeague.com’s website, the group offers more than $200,000 in prizes and scholarships for collegiate students across nine games. CSL is not the only league offering large sums of money.

At the 2013 World Championships hosted at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the winning team took home a one-million-dollar cash prize.

That is the ultimate pipe dream for the group. “Someday,” as they all say.

The last game of the night was a relatively quick one. It was a 20-minute barrage of computer clicks, unlocking champion abilities and inside jokes between the gamers.

“I swear, this guy is not good at all,” Al-Chokhachy says.

Late in the contest, the five were on the opposing team’s side of the base. They won this handily. The other team has an option to surrender after 20 minutes, and they took it.

“Like taking candy away from a baby,” Vo says.

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