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Ohio Union video game competition to raise money for charity

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The E-Sports Initiative hosts many gaming events, like this Feb. 21 LAN (local area network) party, to raise money for Child's Play. Credit: Robert Scarpinito / Lantern reporter

The E-Sports Initiative hosts many gaming events, like this Feb. 21 LAN (local area network) party, to raise money for Child’s Play.
Credit: Robert Scarpinito / Lantern reporter

Spells will be cast, weapons will clash and minds will collide at the Ohio Union on Saturday, and it will all be in the name of charity.

Ohio State’s E-Sports Initiative is holding two tournaments for two competitive video games this Saturday: one for “Dota 2” and one for “Hearthstone.”

Both events are open for the public to spectate tournament games as well as play casual games of their own, and spectators of the “Dota 2” tournament can buy raffle tickets for a chance to win prizes.

These prizes include plush dolls, pins and lanyards of the characters of the game, and are courtesy of Valve Corporation, said Andrew Boos, a first-year in computer science and engineering.

The proceeds ESI makes from selling raffle tickets will go to Child’s Play, a charity that helps children in hospitals and shelters using money raised from events related to playing video games, according to its website.

Seven teams will be playing in the tournament. Entry fees were $25, and the collected fees will be split as prize money and donations for charity.

The team in first place will get $100, and second place will get $40. Third and fourth will both get $20 each, and the remaining $20 will also go to Child’s Play, Boos said.

Boos organized the “Dota 2” tournament under guidance from Sean Cody, a fourth-year in neuroscience and the current Dota tournament organizer for the ESI who is graduating this spring.

“Dota 2” is a free-to-play competitive multiplayer video game developed by Valve that pits two teams of five players against each other. Each player controls a character, called a Hero, and works with teammates to control the map and take over the enemy base.

“‘Dota’ is a combination of every team sport and chess,” Boos said. “You have to know what every single piece does, and you have to have the intelligence to move every piece to the exact right spot at the exact right time.”

The other gaming event, the “Hearthstone” tournament, is also open for spectators to attend, but registration for the tournament will also be at the door, contrary to the closed preregistration for the “Dota 2” competition.

The entry fee will be $5 per person, and each person registers individually because “Hearthstone” puts players in a one-on-one match. The money pool, whatever the size of it, is split by percentages for winners and charity.

First place will get 40 percent of the pool, second will get 20 percent, and third will get 10 percent. The remaining 30 percent will go to Child’s Play, said Jeff Kikel, a fourth-year in computer science and engineering and the ESI’s head of marketing.

“Hearthstone” is a free-to-play trading card video game where players construct decks of cards representing different units and effects and go against each other using their decks to deplete the opponent’s health points.

“The rules are fairly simpleand it appeals to a really wide audience. So if you’ve ever been interested in trading card games, this is a great one to try out, and you’ve got nothing to lose,” Kikel said.

Because “Hearthstone” doesn’t have as large a fanbase as other popular competitive games like “League of Legends,” “Dota 2” or “Super Smash Bros.,” the tournament this weekend will serve as a test to see the viability of future “Hearthstone” events alongside ESI’s other competitions at OSU, Kikel said.

“We all love gaming, we all love tournaments, and we all love competing with each other. It’s just a great opportunity to give back,” he said. “We don’t need the profit … so let’s give back to the community while we can.”

ESI started five years ago as the Ohio Smash Initiative, which focused on the popular Nintendo fighting game “Super Smash Bros.,” but as more competitive games gained popularity, the group branched out and renamed itself, Kikel said.

Cody, the current “Dota” tournament organizer, said ESI was built on bringing gamers together and to help give back by raising money for charity and tutoring at local high schools.

“It’s important that — especially in a big university like this — people can meet other people who share their hobby and make friends and build that social circle,” Cody said. “When you play with people you know (instead of strangers online), it really helps reinforce … that there’s another person you’re playing with.”

The “Dota 2” tournament will be on the first floor of the Ohio Union and starts at 11:40 a.m. on Saturday. The “Hearthstone” tournament will be on the second floor and the doors open for registration at 2 p.m. The games will begin an hour later.

One comment

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