What is eSports?
Esports (also known as electronic sports, e-sports, eSports, or competitive/professional video gaming) is a form of competition using video games. Although organized online and offline competitions have long been a part of video game culture, these were largely between amateurs until the late 2000s, when participation by professional gamers and spectatorship in these events through live streaming saw a large surge in popularity. By the 2010s, esports was a significant factor in the video game industry, with many game developers actively designing toward a professional esports subculture.
Compared with any other games, Arena of Valor is still a fairly new game but it has been very successful this year, especially in Asia. There is no doubt that it will continue to grow, assuming that Tencent Games are doing a great job at improving their games.
The current state of Arena of Valor
There are plenty of servers around the world in Arena of Valor such as - Europe, South East Asia (SEA/MSP), America (NA/CA/LATAM), Asia, India, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Taiwan/Macau/Hong Kong. There is even a dedicated server for Nintendo Switch, without merging with mobile servers for fair gameplay.
Arena of Valor is very popular and HUGE, especially in Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and Indonesia. They a very active eSports scene and competitive teams with sponsors, coaches and managers, just like League of Legends eSports. They even have a large stage/stadium when it comes to big events.
Is the game dying? Definitely not. Personally, I think it has been really successful and it will grow bigger as the time goes.
Competitions in Arena of Valor
There are two major eSports competition in Arena of Valor. First, the Arena of Valor World Cup (AWC) and the second, Arena of Valor International Championship (AIC).
Each servers will have their representative on the said competitions with the host country having more than one representative. The upcoming Arena of Valor International Championship (AIC) will be held in Vietnam and Thailand. Boot camp will be in Vietnam. Boot camp will determine the rank of the teams. Once boot camp is over, the teams will go to Thailand for the Arena of Valor International Championship (AIC) finals.
Sixteen teams will be qualified if I'm not mistaken, there are 11 regions with one representative each. The other four teams will be from Vietnam and Thailand. Teams will be determined by their respective qualifying tournaments.
The most attractive thing in competitions - Prize Pools. To be honest, for a new game the current prize pool this this year's competitive eSports scene has been really high. But of course, we can't expect the same prize pool like Dota 2 or League of Legends has.
After all, Arena of Valor is still a mobile game which means there are limited mechanics and you can't make plays with tapping and dragging your screen like using a mouse and keyboard in League of Legends. There are ups and downs in Arena of Valor, same as every other game.
Speaking of Prize Pools, this year's Arena of Valor World Cup (AWC) has a total of $550,000 USD prize pool. The finalist are Thailand vs Korea. Spoilers, Korea won in a best of 7 by beating Thailand in 4-3 lead. It was very close too, this event happens in Los Angeles.
There is Arena of Valor International Champion (AIC) upcoming with a prize pool of $600,000 USD, even higher than the Arena of Valor World Cup (AWC).
The eSports teams
Just like "real" sports, eSports makes money off of investments, branding, advertising and media deals.
There are many sponsored and well-organized team in the Asia. For example: J-Team, Flash Wolves, SMG and AHQ are very strong teams in the Taiwan region. The Taiwan GCS are the most favored by fans.
The korean team that won Arena of Valor World Cup (AWC), has moved to Taiwan server because the lack of competition in their country. They are currently playing by the team name - AHQ. Surprisingly, they have really good win rate in solo queue ranked games in the Taiwan server. I'm definitely very excited to watch them play in the Taiwan GCS.
Let's talk about Taiwan Garena Challenger Series Summer. There are currently 8 teams that competes in the series, ranking them below
1. J-Team (12w 2l) - They have been showing really good performance this summer, they ended first place with 12 win and 2 lose in the Group Stage, making them to secure the play-offs finals bracket.
2. Flash Wolves (10w 4l) - Flash Wolves is a new team formed on July 2018. Their members consists of rookies and unexperienced eSport players. I'm really surprised that they could beat most veteran elite teams.
3. Still Moving Under Gunfire SMG (9w-5l) - One of the fans' favorite AoV team. They are the champion of Arena of Valor International Champion 2017 (AIC 2017).
4. ahq e-Sports Club AHQ (9w-5l) - Arena of Valor World Cup 2018 champion. They are experienced korean players that moved to Taiwan server because the lack of competition in their country. The first time I saw them is in the Taiwan rank ladder, they have surprisingly good win rate (90%) in top Conqueror out from nowhere. I was really impressed by that. Hopefully they can have a comeback from the fourth place in Taiwan GCS.
5-8. MAD team, ONE team, Hong Kong Attitude, Monster Shield - They have been disqualified from Taiwan GCS play-offs.
Other than the Asia region, here's the American/Europe server team you should watch out for.
Team Liquid is known primarily for their Dota 2 squad, which received a direct invite to The International 8, the biggest tournament in the Dota 2 scene. Now, they’ve made their foray into mobile eSports with their Arena of Valor team, a strong squad with tremendous potential. They are the first sponsored team in the American server.
Nova eSports Arena of Valor team are based in the Europe server. They have really good players such as Darkbreaker and iFlekzz (ex-Mobile Legends player and Youtuber). Their members are all consists of experienced eSports MOBA player (League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Dota, etc.).
Another professional team which competes in the Europe region. Unfortunately, one of best player in Europe - Vex doesn't play for SK Gaming anymore. However, his friend Pich stays.