UCI Esports to offer scholarships for top ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ players


by | Aug 7, 2019, 1:00PM PDT

Pilot team made possible by $50,000 gift from media publisher, video game enthusiast


Irvine, Calif., Aug. 7, 2019 — The University of California, Irvine esports program will host a pilot scholarship team for “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” during the 2019-20 academic year – thanks to a $50,000 gift from the owners of Street Media, which publishes Irvine Weekly and LA Weekly, led by CEO (and gamer) Brian Calle.

Players will be jointly selected by UCI Esports and the TAG Smash Ultimate Club at UCI, and the funds will be used to offer $6,000 scholarships to the top six as well as for administrative purposes. All current UCI students are eligible to try out for the new crew in October at the UCI Esports Arena. “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” is a fighting game for up to eight people in which characters from Nintendo and third-party franchises try to knock each other off playing stages.

“The ‘Smash’ community at UCI is one of the biggest and most passionate gaming clubs on campus,” said Mark Deppe, director of UCI Esports. “We are fortunate to be able to offer scholarships to ‘League of Legends’ and ‘Overwatch’ players. When a donor emerged with a desire to support one of his favorite games, we knew this was something we had to pursue to create more opportunities for the ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ student gaming community.”

While there is no coach for the team, UCI Esports will provide staff to coordinate practice times, travel, social media, equipment needs and competitions. Players are expected to practice 10 to 15 hours per week, maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA and follow the code of conduct to compete in tournaments and stay on scholarship.

“This is a huge deal for the UCI ‘Smash’ community, as we work very hard to grow the competitive scene and push it into the same spotlight that many other esports have,” said senior Justin Muscat, president of the TAG Smash Ultimate Club at UCI. “The university offering scholarships for ‘Smash’ is a major step forward and validates the work we’ve done.”

UCI is home to an esports arena with 72 custom PCs and computer monitors, headphones and gaming chairs, as well as a studio that broadcasts matches to hundreds of thousands of viewers. Opened in September 2016, it functions as a high-end recreational facility that’s also open to the public. In addition, the esports program has coaching and administrative staff, a team psychologist and an exercise physiologist.

“UCI Esports is the leader in gaming education and the yardstick by which other programs are measured,” Calle said. “We are thrilled to be able to support the development of top talent for the sport. As an avid gamer and ‘Smash’ player, it’s inspiring to see the dedication and commitment these students give to the game and to see them recognized as collegiate athletes.”

This month, UCI’s current “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” club team will compete for the national title at Shine 2019 in Worcester, Massachusetts. The crew won the Southern California qualifier and then the Western Regional to earn a spot in the college championship, hosted by the Collegiate Starleague. Players will battle winners of the other three regionals for the CSL trophy and part of the $15,000 prize.

“‘Smash’ has historically been an incredibly significant game to The Association of Gamers at UCI, with our community always brimming with passion, hosting tournament after tournament,” said senior Brandi Moy, president of TAG at UCI. “It’s extremely exciting that our students can now receive official support and pursue their competitive dreams through these scholarships.”

About UCI Esports: UCI is the first public university to create an official esports program, which is regarded as one of the best and most comprehensive in the world. With a successful computer game science major, an enthusiastic gaming community and a history of elite competition, UCI is a natural place for esports to thrive. A collaboration among student leaders, faculty, gamers and forward-thinking administrators, UCI’s esports program was announced in the spring of 2016. In September of that year, the UCI Esports Arena – powered by iBUYPOWER – opened. The pillars of UCI Esports are competition, academics and research, community, entertainment, and careers. In 2015, College Magazine ranked UCI the No. 1 school for gamers in North America. The campus’s esports program was featured in a four-part documentary on ESPN2 earlier this year.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UCI faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UCI news, visit news.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.

A person sitting in front of a crowd

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“The ‘Smash’ community at UCI is one of the biggest and most passionate gaming clubs on campus,” said Mark Deppe, director of UCI Esports. “When a donor emerged with a desire to support one of his favorite games, we knew this was something we had to pursue.”

Steve Zylius / UCI

Introducing Our Virtual Summer Bootcamps


by | Jun 10, 2020, 12:00PM PDT

Since 2018, UCI Esports has been offering bootcamps to help students hone in on their gaming skills. Typically an overnight program held in Irvine, California (the freshman experience of dorms and dining halls included), we have been able to provide a truly unique week of gaming, training, friendship, and competition.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have needed to switch up the way we offer our programs. As no strangers to the online realm, we remain committed to providing the customized, hands-on coaching that students are used to getting at UCI.

Read on for an in-depth overview of what you can expect should you attend one of our new virtual camps this year.

League of Legends

Our League of Legends Summer Bootcamps will focus on providing campers of any skill level with a chance to train like they do at the top levels of competitive League of Legends. Within one week, we will train you in teams alongside other campers, covering the most critical factors for team and individual success while improve your fundamental knowledge of the game. The rigorous scrimmage-focused curriculum will help you develop across a wide range of essential skills including communication, leadership, analysis, and critical thinking.

Daily schedules will consist of presentations, game seminars, drafting practice, scrimmages, and VoD review (with plenty of breaks)!

While the majority of our coaching will be done in a group setting, instructors will also be available throughout the camp as resources to provide individualized advice as well.

Game concepts covered will include but are not limited to draft theory, champion pools and scouting, laning, macro play and map movements, mechanics, and efficient communication.

Instruction will be led by UCI Esports’ League of Legends Head Coach, David ‘Hermes’ Tu, who has coached numerous LCS teams including Team SoloMid, Team Liquid, and Immortals. Supporting staff will include Assistant Coach and multi-season Challenger, Geoff ‘CentralTime’ Wang; camp counselors from our very own League of Legends teams; and professional guest speakers from the esports industry.

Overwatch

At the Overwatch Bootcamps, coaches will work closely with campers to bolster their abilities. No matter your rank or experience, our staff is here to build up your skills to hit your goals and take those next steps!

Lessons topics will include but are not limited to:

  • Compositions and playstyle frameworks to build on players’ understandings on how to play to win conditions and dismantle enemy setups
  • Hero Pool coverage and expansion of players’ personal repertoires, so you will always be equipped and comfortable on some hero, no matter the situation
  • Pre-fight analysis and game flow models so players always have the direction they need to have to work towards victory
  • Hands-on personalized instruction
  • And guest speaker appearances from esports industry professionals sharing their stories on how they’ve navigated their careers.

The goal of these lessons are to allow players to critically think on the go and further their practical knowledge. Campers will be exposed to questions and different perspectives on the game, broaden their horizons in and out of game, and meet other passionate players and teammates with the same competitive drive and goals!

Our professional coaches have spent years traversing the path to pro, both as players and educators. Ronald “Renanthera” Ly is the Head Coach of the UCI Esports Overwatch team and has worked with Overwatch League organizations such as the Boston Uprising and Florida Mayhem, as well as coached for Team Canada. Assistant Coach Michael “The” Kuhns was previously a professional player for CLG and has coached in Contenders for much of his tenure. Together with their trained camp counselors composed of experienced Top 500 players, campers are sure to be in good hands.

If you haven’t applied yet, registrations will close end of day June 14!

All of us at UCI Esports are looking forward to providing a crafted virtual coaching experience. We can’t wait to have you join us.

UCI Spring Intramurals Update – Week 6


by | May 24, 2020, 12:00PM PDT

This week, the Starcraft II, CS:GO, and Magic: The Gathering Arena intramural leagues continued their playoff stages.

Meanwhile, League of Legends wrapped up its season, naming team FMP the victor after 6 weeks of competition.

Scores for this week, as well as updates for each league, can be found below.

In Progress

Starcraft II – Legacy of The Void (Mondays at 5PM)

The Starcraft II intramural has moved into its single-elimination playoff stage, with pairings for this week shown in the bracket below.

The updated bracket for the Starcraft intramurals.
Antis vs. Purity (3-0)
Veritas vs. Battletag(3-0)

FIFA PS4 (Mondays at 5 PM)

Winners’ Bracket 

The winners’ bracket will resume on May 25th once finalists are determined.


Overwatch (Tuesdays at 5 PM)

The Overwatch intramurals continued their season with rounds between Team of Rivia, KCM, Team Oatmeal, and Tomo no Kai.

Team of Rivia vs. Tomo No Kai (3-0)
KCM vs. Team Oatmeal (3-0)

Scrabble (Tuesdays at 6 PM)

SCRABBLENATOR vs. Be Falco(191-383)
MelGar vs. Wordster(304-395)
Selena vs. Damian(264-313)

League of Legends (Wednesdays at 7 PM)

The League of Legends intramural league has concluded, with team FMP crowned champion. Congratulations to all participating teams!


Magic: The Gathering Arena (Wednesdays at 6 PM)

The Swiss phase of the Magic: The Gathering Arena intramural league has officially ended. propelling the league into its playoff phase.

Neems vs. lolo(W-L)
jdawg899 vs. Kaboom(W-L)

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Fridays at 5 PM) 

Ant Killers vs. Free Agents(W-L)
AntKillers vs. For the Homies(W-L)

UCI Spring Intramurals Update – Week 5


by | May 17, 2020, 12:00PM PDT

This week, the Starcraft II, CS:GO, and Magic: The Gathering Arena intramural leagues began their playoff stages.

Meanwhile, the League of Legends and FIFA leagues, whose playoffs began last week, are advancing quickly through their own playoffs.

Scores for this week, as well as updates for each league, can be found below.

In Progress

Starcraft II – Legacy of The Void (Mondays at 5PM)

The Starcraft II intramural has moved into its single-elimination playoff stage, with pairings for this week shown in the bracket below.

The initial bracket for the single-elimination stage of the Starcraft II intramural. Both rounds 1 and 2 were played this week.

Both Rounds 1 and 2 were played consecutively.

Round 1

LilAznxDude vs. Saixiori (3-0) forfeit
FrozenFlame vs. Hyper2K (3-0)
Purity vs. Zonda(3-0) forfeit
Battletag vs. WattoizCool(3-0)

Round 2

Antis vs. LilAznxDude (3-0) forfeit
Veritas vs. FrozenFlame(3-0)

FIFA PS4 (Mondays at 5 PM)

Winners’ Bracket 

The winners’ bracket will resume on May 25th once finalists are determined.

Losers’ Bracket

rjecheve vs. cbatistaTBD
ksgeorge vs. ddeorlowTBD
ajayns vs. itulinTBD
desaidn vs. hshahdad TBD

FIFA XBox (Tuesdays at 6 PM)

This week, shumayun and sylee10, the last players standing after four weeks of competition in the FIFA Xbox intramural league, competed for the championship title in the grand finals.

Congratulations to sylee10 on their victory in the grand finals!

sylee10 vs. shumayun1-0

Overwatch (Tuesdays at 5 PM)

The Overwatch intramurals continued their season with rounds between Wholesome Gamerz, Team of Rivia, KCM, Team Oatmeal, and Tomo no Kai.

The round-robin phase of the Overwatch intramurals ends May 26th.

Team of Rivia vs. Team Oatmeal(2-0)
KCM vs. Tomo No Kai(2-0)
Wholesome GamerzBYE

Scrabble (Tuesdays at 6 PM)

RNishi vs. SCRABBLENATOR(345-127)
Damian vs. MelGar(306-285)
Wordster vs. Selena(437-218)
Be Falco BYE

League of Legends (Wednesdays at 7 PM)

Round 2 of the League of Legends intramural playoff has concluded, leaving only two teams–YDC and FMP–standing for the grand finals next Wednesday.

YDC vs. Eternal Atake
2-1
FMP vs. CK1 T1
2-0

CS:GO (Thursdays at 6 PM)

The CS:GO intramural league started its playoffs last Thursday. Matches are continuing in earnest between participant teams.

Results for this week are pending.

Magic: The Gathering Arena (Wednesdays at 6 PM)

The Swiss phase of the Magic: The Gathering Arena intramural league has officially ended. propelling the league into its playoff phase.

BitterSweet vs. MRDewitt(2-0)
Scrubby vs. MaxAttack(2-1)
Syn_Invictus vs. Cocanupples (2-0)
Neems vs. Ulleseit(2-1)
Quantuman vs. lolo(2-0)
dawg899 vs. MrGranadas(2-0)
Kaboom vs. M3RL1N (2-0)
.dkBYE

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Fridays at 5 PM) 

The last round in the placement stage of the Rainbow Six: Siege league has concluded. Playoffs begin next week.

ENYO vs. BF (1-0)
Ant Killers vs. Free Agents (1-0)
For the Homies vs. stonks (1-0)
WhiteGive vs. Tomo no Kai (1-0)

UCI Spring Intramurals Update – Week 4


by | May 10, 2020, 12:00PM PDT

During the week, the Starcraft II intramural league completed its Swiss phase, with Magic: The Gathering Arena and Rainbow Six Siege only a week behind.

Other leagues have already advanced to their playoff stages, with League of Legends and FIFA Xbox advancing steadily towards their respective grand finals.

Scores for this week, as well as updates for each league, can be found below.

In Progress

Starcraft II – Legacy of The Void (Mondays at 5PM)

Now that four weeks of competition in the Swiss portion of the Starcraft II intramurals have come and gone, the league is gearing up to move to its single-elimination playoffs.

The playoffs will pit participants against one another depending on their performance in the Swiss stage, with higher-scoring players matched with their lower-scoring counterparts.

WattoizCool vs. Saixiori(2-0) forfeit
Battletag vs. FrozenFlame(2-1)
Antis vs. Veritas(2-1)
TKD vs. Hyper2K(2-1)
Zonda vs. LilAznxDude(2-0)

FIFA PS4 (Mondays at 5 PM)

Winners’ Bracket 

acadena1 vs. tylerag(W-L)
ruihuaz1 vs. gerardph(W-L)

Losers’ Bracket

cbatista vs. bayrakca(W-L)
ddeorlow vs. sadjads(W-L)
ajayns vs. swkaplan(W-L)
desaidn vs. robledo(W-L)

FIFA XBox (Tuesdays at 6 PM)

After four weeks of tough competition, only one match remains in the FIFA Xbox intramural series. Next week, shumayun and sylee10, the last players standing, will compete for the championship title in the grand finals.

Losers’ Semi-Final

suselton vs. jhunter3(W-L)

Losers’ Final

shumayun vs. suselton(W-L)

Overwatch (Tuesdays at 5 PM)

The Overwatch intramurals continued their season with rounds between Wholesome Gamerz, Team of Rivia, KCM, Team Oatmeal, and Tomo no Kai.

The round-robin phase of the Overwatch intramurals ends May 26th.

Team Oatmeal vs. Wholesome Gamerz(2-0)
Team of Rivia vs. Tomo No Kai(2-0)
KCMBYE

Scrabble (Tuesdays at 6 PM)

Melgar vs. Be Falco(196-236)
C. BooCherry vs. Selena(236-287)
Torressa vs. RNishi(214-380)
Wordster vs. Damian(436-195)

League of Legends (Wednesdays at 7 PM)

The League of Legends intramural has advanced into its single-elimination playoff stage, where the top eight players from the qualifiers stage will compete for the championship title over the next three weeks.

CK1 T1 vs. NLR
2-0
FMP vs. Super Sleep Squad
2-1
Eternal Atake vs. COVID-202-0
YDC vs. Crackrity Crew
2-0

CS:GO (Thursdays at 6 PM)

The CS:GO intramural league continued into its third week last Thursday. Matches are continuing in earnest across Groups A and B, as teams compete for a spot in the upcoming playoffs.

GROUP A

Flash Me Long vs. Mark squad(W-L)
RushB UCI vs. For the Homies(W-L)
Sesh Hollow vs. CSGAMERS(W-L)

GROUP B

Team WLTDO vs. xXCloud6_9Xx (W-L)
ConslePeasnts vs. Team AWPful(W-L)
Eco Warriors vs. UCI Taekwondo(W-L)

Magic: The Gathering Arena (Wednesdays at 6 PM)

As the Swiss phase of the Magic: The Gathering Arena intramural league enters its fifth and final week, players’ scores are beginning to reflect their seeds in the upcoming playoffs.

The highest-scoring players following next week’s competition will be seeded lowest in the playoffs, while the lowest scorers will be assigned higher seeds.

Kaboom vs. MRDewitt(2-0)
Mr. Granadas vs. Scrubby(2-0)
Quantuman vs.Cocanupples (2-0)
Ulleseit vs.lolo(2-1)
Neems vs. Maxattack (2-0)
 .dk vs. Bittersweet (2-0)
jdawg899 vs. M3RL1N (2-0)
Syn_Invictus BYE

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Fridays at 5 PM) 

One round remains in the placement stage of the Rainbow Six: Siege league.

WhiteGive vs. BF (1-0)
Ant Killers vs. Tomo no Kai (1-0)
ENYO vs. stonks (1-0)
For the Homies vs. Free Agents (1-0)

UCI Spring Intramurals Update – Week 3


by | May 3, 2020, 12:00PM PDT

Week 3 of intramurals has come and gone, and with it five days of intense competition. 

During the week, League of Legends wrapped up its placement stage, advancing ever closer to its May 13th playoffs. Both FIFA leagues are close to their playoffs as well, with the semis and grand finals for both fast approaching.

Scores for this week, as well as updates for each league, can be found below.

In Progress

Starcraft II – Legacy of The Void (Mondays at 5PM)

At the end of their third week of competition, participants in the Starcraft II intramurals have cumulative scores of either 3, 6, 9, or 0.

Only one week of the league’s Swiss phase remains, as players close in on the two-part playoffs starting May 11th.

Zonda vs. Saixiori(2-0) forfeit
FrozenFlame vs. WattoizCool(2-0)
Veritas vs. Battletag(2-0)
Antis vs. Hyper2K(2-0)
LilAznxDude vs. TKD(2-0)

FIFA PS4 (Mondays at 5 PM)

With each week of competition, the brackets for the FIFA PS4 and FIFA Xbox leagues continue to narrow.

While competition in the winners’ bracket remains lively, it appears the losers’ bracket has turned into a zombie league, with every player disqualified as the result of a no-show. With any luck, players will return next week to resume their participation in the competition.

Winners’ Bracket 

ksgeorge vs. desaidn(1-0)
acadena1 vs. bbuciococo (1-0)
rjecheve vs. ajayns (1-0)
tylerag vs. ishaas1 (1-0)
gerardph vs. veaswara (1-0)
hshahdad vs. sadjads (1-0)
jtulin (DQ) vs. bayrakca (DQ) (1-0)

Losers’ Bracket

cbatista (DQ) vs. carlamg1 (DQ)(1-0)
ishaas1 (DQ) vs. swkapla (DQ)(1-0)
ajayns (DQ) vs. ifonseca (DQ)(1-0)
desaidn (DQ) vs. hsingyh (DQ)(1-0)
veaswara (DQ) vs. ddeorlow (DQ) (1-0)
bayrakca (DQ) vs. emodanes (DQ)(1-0)
sadjads (DQ) vs. unals (DQ) (1-0)

FIFA XBox (Tuesdays at 6 PM)

Winners’ Bracket

sylee10 (DQ) vs. shumayun (DQ)(W-L)

Losers’ Bracket

jhunter3 (DQ) vs. innadi (DQ)(W-L)
trbhakta (DQ) vs. suselton (DQ)(W-L)

Overwatch (Tuesdays at 5 PM)

The Overwatch intramurals continued their season with rounds between Wholesome Gamerz, Team of Rivia, KCM, Team Oatmeal, and Tomo no Kai.

The round-robin phase of the Overwatch intramurals ends May 26th.

Tomo no Kai vs. Wholesome Gamerz(2-0)
Team of Rivia vs. KCM(2-0)
Team OatmealBYE

Scrabble (Tuesdays at 6 PM)

Wordster vs. Be Falco(327-292)
C. BooCherry vs. SCRABBLENATOR(260-205)
Torressa vs. MelGar(281-302)
RNishi vs. Damian(296-178)

League of Legends (Wednesdays at 7 PM)

Now that the league’s round robin phase has finished, the two highest-scoring teams in each group will advance to playoffs.

The advancing teams are, from Group A, COVID-20 and FMP.

From Group B: YDC and NLR.

From Group C: Crackrity Crew and CKI T1.

And, last but not least, from Group D: Eternal Atake and Super Sleep Squad.

We’ll see the teams compete next Wednesday, May 6th.

Group A COVID-20 vs. Paca S.
(1-0)
FMP vs. Purell
(1-0)
Group BYDC vs. Free Agent Team
(1-0)
TPS vs. NLR
(1-0)
Group C Crackrity Crew vs. Tomo Mao Kai
(1-0)
CKI T1 vs. Teemo No Kai
(1-0)
Group DSuper Sleep Squad vs. Aaa
(1-0)
Eternal Atake vs. Zoot Your Zot
(1-0)

CS:GO (Thursdays at 6 PM)

The CS:GO intramural league continued into its second week last Thursday. Teams Sesh Hollow, xXCloud6_9Xx, and New Spice UCI played particularly well this week, winning both their scheduled matches.

Some of the week’s highlights, as well as scores from both groups A and B, are shown below.

Clip taken from the match between RushB UCI and Tomo no CSGO.

GROUP A

For the Homies vs. Flash Me Long (W-L)
Sesh Hollow vs. RushB UCI (W-L)
Tomo no CSGO vs. CSGAMERS (W-L)
Ru Mark squad vs. For the Homies (W-L)
Sesh Hollow vs. Flash Me Long (W-L)
RushB UCI vs. Tomo no CSGO (W-L)

GROUP B

New Spice UCI vs. Team WLTDO (W-L)
xXCloud6_9Xx vs. ConslePeasnts (W-L)
UCI Taekwondo vs. Team AWPful (W-L)
New Spice UCI vs. ConslePeasnts (W-L)
Eco Warriors vs. Team AWPful (W-L)
xXCloud6_9Xx vs. UCI Taekwondo (W-L)

Magic: The Gathering Arena (Wednesdays at 6 PM)

.dk vs. Syn_Invictus (2-0)
Scrubby vs. Kaboom(2-0)
lolo vs.Cocanupples (2-0)
Ulleseit vs. BitterSweet (2-0)
QuantuMan vs. MRDewitt (2-0)
Maxattack  vs. M3RL1N (2-1)
Neems vs. jdawg899 (2-1)
MRDewitt BYE
A clip from the match between jdawg899 and Neems.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege (Fridays at 5 PM) 

Two rounds remain in the placement stage of the Rainbow Six: Siege league.

BF vs. For the Homies (1-0)
Tomo no Kai vs. ENYO (1-0)
WhiteGive vs. Ant Killers (1-0)
stonks vs. Free Agents (1-0)

A Day In The Life of Scholarship Overwatch Players Stadium and Saffrona


by | Apr 29, 2020, 9:00AM PDT

Like most Anteaters, UCI Esports’ scholarship players lead busy lives. 

Between going to class, attending daily practice with teammates, and keeping their studies up, they have a lot to do, and one might wonder how they manage their schedules to make time for so many activities. 

Luckily for us, two members of the varsity Overwatch team—Seong Su Park and Victoria Winn, better known as Stadium and Saffrona online—agreed to give us a glimpse into the daily life of an esports athlete.

Our interview began, as many do, with a simple question: What did a regular day look like for you last quarter?

Saffrona: I’m a first-year, so in Fall and Winter Quarters, I lived on campus in Mesa Court. I would normally wake up at around 8 AM and get breakfast at the dining hall (usually eggs and potatoes). Then I’d go to all of my classes (either 2 or 3 depending on the day) with a lunch break in between. 

One of the clubs I participated in in my free time was the Video Game Development Club, and I helped make a couple of small games with other club members. 

Aside from gaming, I really like singing. I had a lot of fun the few times we got to sing some karaoke in the dorms with my roommates and other hall members. My roommates weren’t super big on gaming, but we did play Just Dance together and one of them recently started playing League of Legends. They weren’t too familiar with Overwatch, but they thought it’s neat I play for the team.

Stadium: I live off-campus, so I only went to UCI a few times a week to attend classes during Winter Quarter. On my off days, I’d study, play Overwatch, and practice badminton, and when I went to campus, I’d spend most of the day in class. 

Now that campus is shut down, I’m keeping myself busy at home by learning about investing in the stock market and playing some games I’ve had sitting in my backlog for a while. My favorites at the moment, aside from Overwatch, are probably Monster Hunter: World and Valorant

What’s your schedule looking like now that we’ve transitioned to remote learning? 

Saffrona: For some reason it feels that my schedule got busier during quarantine, even though I don’t have to walk to class anymore and a lot of my lectures are pre-recorded. Most of my time is spent trying to get all my schoolwork done, but since I’m home I also get to hang out with my little sister a lot more. We usually play Just Dance or watch anime together.

Since our coaches work remotely in the first place, our practices and reviews haven’t changed too much. We also still hang out and play games with each other outside of practice. The biggest difference now is that we can’t all get food together. I do miss the arena though and saying hi to everyone there. I’m hoping it’ll be safe to be back on campus in the fall.

Stadium: Not being able to play together with my team at the UCI Esports Arena has been a challenge—our games seem less intense when we’re playing miles and miles apart from one another. However, we’ve continued doing team bonding activities online by playing games such as Skribbl, so the distance hasn’t been that bad.

It does suck not being able to go outside and hang out with friends, but understanding that everyone is in the same boat helps me mentally. I’m definitely looking forward to returning to school so I can go back to the arena and start playing with the UCI Badminton Club again. 

What types of classes are you taking, and is learning online any different for you than learning in-person was? 

Saffrona: Since I’m majoring in Computer Game Science, my classes have been mainly focused on programming or game design, but I do take a humanities course as well. I don’t think the difficulty or content of the classes has changed too much now that we’ve moved online, but I really miss being there in person and actually having to walk to class. I feel like I never get enough exercise now LOL. 

Stadium: I’m taking a lot of programming classes as part of my major, Computer Science, so moving classes online hasn’t been too difficult. The quarantine has also given us students more flexibility in our schedules, allowing me and my team to practice more per week. 

My classes also feel easier because my professors have made our tests open-note. I think that was nice of them considering everything that’s going on right now.  

Are you keeping a consistent practice schedule with your teammates? 

Saffrona: Due to COVID-19, the main tournament run by Tespa was postponed, so we’re competing in some other tournaments in the meantime. Even when we don’t have tournaments, we still practice the same amount—we don’t want to get rusty and fall behind. 

Stadium: We’re actually practicing more than we usually do this quarter. Although some of the intensity and magic is lost when we’re forced to play online all the time, we’ve managed to practice more than ever because all our schedules have become so flexible. Getting everyone together when we want to practice has been a lot easier because we’re all at home now.