Sebastian Hutchins made a note when he and his team mates stepped into the ring to fight rivals.
18-year-old Riverside Junior-Senior High School Senior is very competitive and wants to win. The notes taken by Hutchins helped them develop a strategy for how to get out above.
Even a pandemic can’t help it.
That’s because he and his teammates are not in the same room and the arena is made of pixels, in the virtual world of Azeroth in the online video game World of Warcraft.
Although digital, the adventure is real because engaging with others – which humanity as a whole has reduced significantly to reduce the spread of the corona virus – is an important aspect of WoW and other online games. For example, in the classic version of the game, defeating some of the toughest enemies requires the coordination of 40 individual players, where everyone has a task to do.
“This is really good considering nobody can be with each other now,” said Hutchins, a member of the Riverside School District esports sports team.
Although not for everyone, online video games can provide a way to socialize while maintaining social distance.
Tom Borthwick, Hutchins coach, said the social aspects of the game such as Overwatch, a shooter who competed with the district esports team, demanded proper teamwork.
“Communication is very important,” Borthwick said. “You can’t have a wolf alone out there. You will fall apart.”
Riverside senior senior Tyler Muskey, a Hutchins teammate, said online video games had made it possible to make friends with people from various parts of the country and the world.
“You can stay in touch in a fun way,” Muskey, 18, said. “It’s like really being in person.”
Teddy Delaney, esports administrator and head coach of Lackawanna College, said the online video game community has succeeded in helping people stay involved with each other, both within the game itself or on the Discord community community server on campus.
“It builds that friendship and it forces you to work on teamwork and critical thinking and strategy,” Delaney said.
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Twitch’s Top 10
The 10 most popular games on the Twitch streaming platform, according to www.twitchmetrics.net:
League of Legends
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
World of Warcraft
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