In January, Elizabethtown Area High School launched an Esports Club through the
North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF). Esports is a competitive gaming league and has quickly grown into a massive industry. The EAHS e-bears compete in the Eastern Bracket of NASEF’s Winter League of Legends.
The new high school team is advised by Mr. Hufnagl, who teaches technology classes such as Game Design and Development and Video Production. Hufnagl says being in a school environment and competing as a team is “a great opportunity” for any gamer.
The team plays a selection of games including League of Legends and Overwatch, and they hope to include Rocket League and Super Smash Bros Ultimate in the future.
Although this is the team’s first season, Mr. Hufnagl hopes to grow the team to be a major player in the league. They also plan to join other smaller leagues and tournaments open to high school teams. The team received 3,000 dollars from the Emerald Foundation, which gave the grant to the first 20 schools in Pennsylvania to sign up for the league. The funds may go toward uniforms or peripherals for gameplay.
The Expression visited the team’s second match on February 6th. The EAHS e-bears won the match 2-0, making their record 1-1. The matches are won by winning two out of three games; victory consists of destroying the opposing team’s “base”. The game provides a very complex style of gameplay with about 150 characters. The main goal of the team during the match was to maintain its experience levels and upgrade the special moves each character possesses. Among other things, the team had to communicate about what characters they wanted to block at the start of the game. At one point in the match, the opposing team worked together to defeat many Elizabethtown players, but characters can respawn, and the EAHS e-bears players were able to come back with power and in numbers.
Elizabethtown joins Conestoga Valley High School, Manheim Township High School, Ephrata High School, and others in the league.
The EAHS e-bears are led by William O'Connell (10), who has been playing League of Legends since he was eight years old. William leads the team because he knows the strategy and game very well. The team doesn’t rely on higher-ranked or higher-leveled players who have more experience in specific games, but rather on those who have great team skills and can communicate well.
League of Legends can seem easy or boring at first glance, but it becomes increasingly difficult because of the many strategies a team can use. Teams also have to worry about the large size of the map, which has three paths to the enemy base, each with ally towers and enemy towers.
As the sport grows, the team will look to expand gameplay based on popularity, tournament play, and deals with game makers.
For more news on the league, visit esportsfed.org.