The term eSports has come a long way in the past few years. This genre of sport, if you could call it that, has evolved further than just first-person shooter and MOBAs to include various gaming mediums like Rocket League, and now… Worms?
Yeah, apparently Team 17 have put some plans together to try and worm their way into the eSports scene, with Worms W.M.D of all games. And it could definitely work, I mean the game pits multiple teams of worms together in a game of strategy and dominance on an ever changing battlefield. What more could you want from an eSports game?
Almost immediately however, Team 17 have done the right thing in terms of having Worms become a part of the eSports scene. Rather than forcing it upon players, the game has naturally become appealing to eSports fans.
“If you look at the user reviews on Steam one of the top rated ones has the first line ‘thumbs up for Worms becoming an eSport’ and that made me really really happy, because it means that there is a chance that we can actually explore something, that we can do something with Worms,” said Kevin Carthew, the creative director on Worms WMD in an interview with eSports Pro.
“What ultimately decides if a game becomes an eSport is the community itself, and the support you get from your players,” says community manager Jonno Stanton. “What we can do from a developer’s side, we can engage with the right people to give our players a platform on which they can compete and they can craft the scene. Communication is key. Its shows you are listening to the competitive scene, because the quickest way to kill that flame is to starve it of oxygen, and the oxygen they get is exposure and response from the developer to craft what they feel is the right platform for eSports and Worms.”
Team 17 actually held some tournaments last year with ESL and were hugely beneficial to the team in terms of how they could shape certain rules when putting on an eSports tournament. For example, removing the game’s long-running random map generation and replacing it with a set of symmetrical “tournament maps”, would allow players to get familiar with the layouts and ultimately create strategies based on the lay of the land.
In addition to the map generation, there are various other randomly decided elements to the game, like where and when crate drops appear for example, which need to be taken into account.
“The challenge for us is to decide to what extend RNG is a good thing. We have the bonus that our game is skill based in regards to weapon usage and map position, so a big challenge is how we handle the random elements of the gameplay that Worms is known and loved for,” added Stanton. “There is obviously a vast difference between being beaten by someone because they were better than you, and being beaten by someone because a crate spawned right next to them and it had an airstrike in.”
If you’re hoping to see a huge Worms W.M.D tournament with massive prize pools, you might have a wait on your hands as it looks like Team 17 are going into it slowly, working with their community to make it something worthwhile. We may see the odd tournament here or there, but for the most part, the developers want to make it perfect before going in big.