Back in April we told you about Dark Blaze, the Heroes of the Storm team from the University of Texas at Arlington that won a coveted spot in the Heroic Four in this year's Heroes of the Dorm tournament. The competition was aired on ESPN3 (as well as online), and thousands of dollars in scholarship money was on the line.
The saga of that tournament can now be seen in a free online documentary called A New Hero: The Rise of College Esports.
One of the players highlighted is UTA's Andrew "MiST" Rodrigues, who plays on the school's hockey team in addition to Heroes of the Storm. He talks about the similarities of being laser-focused on a goal in both games, whether its the physical act of skating on ice or the more digital act using a keyboard and mouse.
Many non-players were also interviewed for their views on the tournament and eSports in general, and among those was Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. He's spoken positively about eSports in the past and has even played League of Legends in front of a crowd. He furthers his pro-gaming stance here, saying things like, "It's like anything else that's new. Until you play the game and try to excel at it, you just have no idea" about how serious of a competition it is.
When Texans aren't on the screen, the documentary spends a lot of its time focusing on the athletes from Arizona State University — the team that lost in the final round of the tournament in 2015 and got a chance at the championship again in 2016. To them, UTA was the big obstacle on their way to redemption. But even without the local hook, it's a fascinating look at professional video game competitions at the collegiate level.
Even though it takes almost half an hour before A New Hero actually explains how Heroes of the Dorm is played, it can be a great primer for anybody out there who's asking, "Wait, what are eSports? How are people making money playing video games?" One look at the size and intensity of the crowd and you'll likely come to the conclusion that eSports aren't going away anytime soon.