This post is the first of a four part series that takes a look at how competitive Heroes of the Storm in each region has fared in 2017.
Historically, minor regions have always struggled in competitive Heroes of the Storm. From a smaller player base to server issues; these players continue to persevere in the face of adversity. The introduction of the HGC this year has allowed major regions like North America to flourish with weekly league play and a set salary. In spite of its many successes, one complaint rings true globally: the culling of LAN events has hurt many teams.
In no region is this more apparent than in Latin America.
2017 in Review
I spoke with Jschritte, who has recently made the move from Brazil to Canada in order to try his hand at the North American HGC. The former RED Canids flex player has already accepted a position with Spacestation Gaming; his relentless drive for success differentiating from the pool of other free agents.
Regarding the state of competitive Heroes of the Storm in LATAM, Jschritte believes that, without more offline tournaments, the competition will never be entirely fair.
“Latin American teams play on two different servers,” says Jschritte.
“This was so frustrating because the players needed to play on different servers in the first final.”
As the north and south teams play on different servers, one team would have to play with higher latency than the other. Seeing this barrier to competitive integrity, organisers in a later tournament decided instead to fly the northern team to Brazil. However, as this team was provided access to better facilities, they had an advantage of competing with a lower latency.
Although he thinks the more skilled team will generally win despite the disadvantage, playing on an equal playing field is crucial to the competition’s integrity.
“They were playing in LAN with 5 ping, while the other team were playing online with 50 plus ping,” said Jschritte.
“This is not fair when you are talking about esports.”
This is just one of the reasons we see little growth in this region. Another contributing factor has been the instability and lack of investment within Latin America, damaging players’ motivation.
Throughout 2017 we saw numerous roster swaps and retirements, like Authority eSports, for example, who ended the year with an entirely different roster. It’s likely this roster instability will continue into 2018 as Jschritte says the top players don’t know if they will keep playing. Seeing as he himself has already left the region, shakeups are bound to occur. He believes that, while most top players are no longer motivated, this may provide second tier players and teams more opportunities.
In the meantime however, he thinks this will cause the gap between LATAM and the major regions to grow. And, although RED Canids had a good run in 2017 (most notably, taking a map off Roll 20 at Blizzcon), it remains to be seen whether they find a replacement capable of walking in Jschritte’s footsteps.
Looking to 2018
With power levels in Latin America bound to shift next year, we can look towards the recent Legion Championships for insight into 2018’s rising stars. Held in Mexico over the first weekend of December, we saw 6Sense take first prize in their victory over Authority eSports.
6Sense have been a relatively stable roster over 2017, having previously played under the name Thunder Awaken. Consisting of team captain and flex player ET0MyX, tank player Rokblin, support player dBlanK, solo laner LaBarbi, and ranged assassin Insecure, they are definitely not new to the LATAM scene. At the time of writing this, 6Sense could not confirm whether the roster will remain into the upcoming year, however what remains certain is the potential these players show.
One player in particular, ET0MyX, has certainly become a fan favourite. After his team won a HeroesHype Tempo Storm tournament back in September, he spoke with Halorin and Kala – opening up about the sacrifices he’s made to play professionally.
Unlike many players, ET0MyX took the initiative to approach 6Sense and inquire about sponsorship. The will he displayed certainly impressed; earning him and his team a place within the successful organisation that is 6Sense.
In spite of this great victory, the enthusiastic team captain found himself at a crossroads. 6Sense had provided the team with a gaming house in Mexico, requiring ET0MyX to leave behind his family in Venezuela. Although he chose to follow his passion, his family has continued to support him through this journey.
His voice was shaking as he expressed his gratitude for this, showing once more the spirit that radiates from this region. Although future roster changes are still possible, each player on 6Sense has proven that they have what it takes to perform at a high level.