This weekend was the official $200K Smite Launch tournament, a huge event brought to you by Developer HiRez Studios in celebration of the official launch of Smite! Let me just start by saying that this was an incredible event hosting the best Pro Teams from all around the world going head to head in a double elimination tournament to prove who is the very best in the world. I will try to give you a breakdown of everything that happened at the event, from what was awesome and of course, the not so awesome.
The Awesome: Main Stage
The event was hosted at the Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, GA, where HiRez spared no expense in setting up one of the coolest monitor and stage designs I have seen in a long time. The action was displayed on a massive LCD screen composed of hundreds of small blocks that gave us HD quality views from anywhere in the theatre, flanked by two large screens on either side that allowed them to have cut-away shots to the pro’s, the crowd and more as the matches were played.
The sound and lighting were incredible as every kill was accompanied by a flash of light and booming thunder-like sound that could be heard from outside the theatre. I have to say that HiRez really did a fantastic job with everything in the main stage area.
Not so Awesome: Stage B
The second stage, if it can be called that was in an upstairs area that was dark and dingy, with another monster screen that sat at floor level, surrounded by a fleet of cheap folding chairs that when filled with spectators, blocked out the entire bottom half of the screen. The commentators for stage B were not nearly as good as HiRezBart and Drybear, and whoever was controlling the spectator client was really behind on catching the major fights. At one point there was an awesome 4v5 engage on one side of the map but instead we got to watch a solo Jungler clearing camps during the entire fight.
The Awesome: Pro-Level play is amazing
I love smite and play it every day, along with a bunch of my friends. I thought I understood how to play the game and that I am not too bad. I even thought that if I practiced and kept playing that one day I might be able to compete at a professional level. Consider my dreams dashed, as every single person who played during the tournament blew my mind, from the speed and coordination of every single team, to the incredible skill shots and blind snipes of the individual pros.
These guys are the very best and every single one of them deserved to be there. Gamehunter (Team SoloMid) even got a PentaKill, a very difficult thing to achieve in regular or casual play and he got one in the world championships, leading his team to a stunning victory.
Not So Awesome: Missing half the matches
I mentioned above there were two different stages which unfortunately split the action down the middle, leaving you to decide which match you wanted to watch. You are there to watch the best teams in the world compete and deciding which game to watch was incredibly difficult. I am a huge a fan of Denial eSports team and they were never able to play a single match on the main stage.
Some of the team members felt a little disappointed that they were not able to play on the main stage but they were still very grateful to have been there at all. High class gents all around.
The Awesome: The Smite Community
Everyone who came to the event was very cool, always willing to talk about the game, the matches and the meta. I had the pleasure of meeting a few of the best streamers in the community like Fats and CapsLockFury, both of whom were very friendly and open to discussion. Fats even had a chance to provide commentary during the Joes Vs Pros match on Saturday, which was a lot of fun.
The Awesome: The Cosplay
Truly there are some incredibly creative people in the world and some who are very skilled at costume design. From the beautiful hand-crafted dress of the Chang’e, to the incredibly detailed Mercury who won for best God. Even though the amateurs poured their heart and soul into their designs, the professional cosplayers were unbelievable.
The Awesome: The Smite Launch Party
After the matches on Saturday were finished, HiRez threw a party that was really fun and for those of us lucky enough to be on the VIP list it included an open bar! It was a great opportunity to speak to the pro’s, the HiRez Team members and interact with even more of the community in a fun way that I never would have expected.
Overall, the Launch Tournament was an amazing experience with all the glitz and glamour you could have hoped for at an eSports event. The entire HiRez team did a fantastic job bringing a top notch show that really helped to bring smite to the big time. The matches were outstanding, the venue was perfect and even my wife, who is not a smite fan really had a blast.
I could not have asked for a better weekend to celebrate the launch of one of the coolest new MOBA’s out there. I see a bright future for HiRez Studios and their entire team and I can’t wait to see what exciting new content they will bring going forward.
Download the Free-to-Play Smite today and Fight like a God!