Editorial: Gamers Find a Place on Campus With UNC Esports Club

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    We see that with the rise of COVID and the variants of it, that the world has tried to adjust accordingly. Because of the shift, we see that online gaming, stock trading, cryptocurrency and digital art transactions have exploded in popularity and notoriety. When evaluating it, one may think how they make money off the new trend. Well, I am here to discuss online gaming and how one can have fun and compete in the games they love, all from the comfort of their own room.

    Online gaming has been around for a while, but it has recently become so popular thanks to YouTubers, professional streamers, and even the popularity of mobile gaming. When looking at new trends, we see that gaming communities are built around like minded people who enjoy the same games, complimentary gaming styles, streamers, lore etc. Many gamers will form personal communities for similar passions and interests, and most of these communities are found on Discord.

    Discord is a free app that can be downloaded onto almost all PCs and even phones. Discord makes it easy to chat with friends at any time, stream your matches and even host games with others.

    Twitch is also another option for free streaming where anyone can watch their favorite streamer, or start a stream of their own, for free. It allows someone to donate, get channel points, chat and ask questions, too. With all these options, it is easy for someone to connect online with friends and peers, be more comfortable by staying in, and it gives the ability to be social and connected no matter where you are.

    Listen, from me to you, there is nothing better to do than play your favorite game under a fuzzy blanket with your drink of choice in the comfort of your own apartment. My personal set up is a cup of diet root beer (because I am a psycho), a fuzzy blanket that came from the box of bedding one gets as a freshman, sitting at my desk with my window slightly open for the wonderful Greeley air and my dual monitor running Discord. Everyone’s setup can be different and tailored to their experience while gaming or streaming.

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    When I sit down and play games, I either choose “Skyrim” or “Call of Duty: Warzone” on my console, or I choose “League of Legends,” “The Sims 4,” or “Minecraft” on my PC. I am super biased towards “League,” though. I am not going to lie. I love “League” unironically, and with the release of “Arcane,” it has occupied all my remaining braincells. Because of this current infatuation, I decided to take a leap.

    This leap was me joining the University of Northern Colorado Esports team! This team contains members from current UNC students, faculty, and members from other schools like Colorado State University and University of Wyoming.

    The team plays a variety of games like “Valorant,” “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” “Super Smash Bros,” “League of Legends,” tabletop games, strategy games, “Overwatch,” “Rocket League,” massively multiplayer online games and many others.

    They have dedicated Discord channels for chatting with other gaming friends and for interested and new players. Each game also has a set Discord channel, and those in the channels  often play games together.

    So far, I am absolutely loving my time and experience on the team, and I am currently grinding to be the best “League of Legends” player. The team is dedicated to being accepting of all and will not tolerate bullying, cheating, mistrust and are all about having fun.

    I feel very accepted on the team, even though I am a queer individual and not from Colorado. There is no judgement or fear, and I feel like I have found a safe space with friends and a community who all like gaming like I do.

    The UNC Esports team is always looking for new recruits and would love new members! If you are interested in joining the UNC Esports team, join the introduction server UNC Esports, there is a direct link on the UNC main website.

    If you have a specific game you like to play and want to join, reach out to a coordinator and they will get that settled. They are affiliated with UNC respectively, so one does have to abide by the rules when online and representing the team, but that’s an easy accomplishment! Just remember to be nice and respectful of your mates, other gamers and club members!

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