In collaboration with The Association of Gamers at UCI, LA Valiant hosted an Overwatch League viewing party on January 24, 2018 at the Crystal Cove Auditorium. LA Valiant provided a photo booth, thunder sticks, buttons, t-shirts, masks of their logo, and had items signed by the players to giveaway.
The #BattleForLA was the highlight of the day’s matches. LA Valiant versus LA Gladiators. Who would become the “LA” team?
The match was a roller coaster of emotions as fans at the viewing party cheered for thrilling plays, expressed discontent for mistakes, and silenced as match point was in spitting distance for the Gladiators.
Gladiators had won the hybrid and assault maps, Eichenwalde and Horizon Lunar Colony. The 2-0 lead set them up for match victory requiring only one more victory on either the control or escort maps.
LA Valiant then came back strong in the next two maps and tiebreaker preventing LA Gladiators from sweeping. Ilios. Junkertown. Lijiang Tower. Three consecutive map wins to Valiant. After an absolutely tense, hair-raising, and sensational series of games, LA Valiant came out victorious winning the #BattleForLA.
Shortly after the viewing party, we got a chance to interview Brandi Moy who was involved in organizing this collaborative event. Brandi is currently a second year computer game science who is involved with TAG@UCI as the Vice Director of the Blizzard Division, UCI Esports as the Graphic Design Lead and arena staffer.
To begin with, how did you get involved with UCI esports?
I always hung out at the UCI Esports Arena in my free time on campus and eventually became a familiar face there. I got to know a lot of the other students who were involved with UCI Esports and became fast friends, and that led to my becoming involved with the program. In the 2017 Fall Quarter, applications opened up for staff positions at the arena. I applied and thankfully got the position.
What advice would you give to someone looking to be involved with the gaming culture at UCI?
If anything, I highly suggest joining The Association of Gamers at UCI – it was my entryway into becoming a bigger personality/figure in the gaming community at UCI. Every Winter break we have internship opportunities open up for members, and depending on how involved you are, it is possible to get an officer position the following year. I am currently the Vice Director for our Blizzard Division, and it was achieved through that internship. Everyone who is a major figure in the gaming community here knows each other or are friends, so being involved with one organization will usually lead to participation in another (i.e. TAG and UCI Esports).
How did you get the opportunity to work with LA Valiant?
I was messaged by our TAG President, Jenny Song, about LA Valiant wanting someone to help make graphics/draw fanart for the team to be used on advertisements for the TAG x LA Valiant viewing party. I jumped at the offer and Jenny cc’d me in an email with Montana Hauser, Valiant’s Events and Partnerships manager.
What made you want to learn graphic design and how long have you been doing it?
I was always interested in art, and as I naturally grew to branch out and begin learning digital art I thought it would be beneficial to learn graphic design. My high school has a graphic design class, and consequently I took that class for my sophomore and senior years. I learned a lot and grew to enjoy it, and therefore applied the skills I learned to do graphic design work in the esports community around me.
What did you think of the viewing party?
I think the viewing party went really well! A lot of people showed up to watch together, and the crowd energy was amazing. The big match between LA Valiant and LA Gladiators was an amazing game with our hosts, LA Valiant, reverse sweeping for the win. It was so much fun to watch and the cheers in the room were deafening!
For those who didn’t come out to watch, how would you convince them to come for a future event?
Watching OWL with a ton of other fans in the same place is an experience that’s hard to match in terms of excitement. It’s so different from watching a stream by yourself at home! Coming to a viewing party is something I think every Overwatch League fan should experience – you can cheer your heart out with everyone else and express how much you love the game without fear.
What do you think makes the Overwatch community unique from other esports titles?
Considering other esports titles, I think the Overwatch community is full of people interested in the game because of the lore and diversity of the characters in addition to those who solely like the game. I think Overwatch has brought a lot of new fans into the esports community, and therefore that makes the fans diverse and very different from the typical “gamer” profile.
What about Overwatch drew you in/ keeps you playing/involved?
For me, I was in the same boat as the people who became fans because of the lore and diversity of the characters. Initially, I found Overwatch when my favorite streamer, Dodger (dexbonus), played the beta on Twitch. Finding out that there was a Korean character was a really big selling point to me too, as it’s hard to find Korean, let alone Asian, representation in video games. I bought the game a week or two after release, and I fell in love with it. I enjoy the gameplay to a great extent, and it has yet to get boring for me.
Who are your favorite OWL teams and players?
My favorite OWL teams are Seoul Dynasty and New York Excelsior, though I have a huge soft spot for LA Valiant now as well. Saebyeolbe is my favorite player right now – he’s sweet, funny, and extremely talented. Have you seen his Twitter? It’s all retweets of cute animals and sweet tweets about his wife. I also like Ryujehong, Mickie, Seagull, Soon, Muma, and Ark!
Favorite character(s) and skin(s)?
Officer D.Va is probably my favorite skin right now! But I absolutely love most of the new legendary Widowmaker skins – Nova, Talon, and Côte D’Azur. D.Va, Widowmaker, and Tracer are my favorite characters.
What is your favorite Overwatch meme?
I think gremlin D.Va is the best Overwatch meme – but there are honestly so many good ones it’s hard to pick one!
Thank you to LA Valiant for coming and working with TAG@UCI for this event! Thank you to Brandi Moy for your hard work and the interview! Zot! Zot! Zot! #VALLAUCI