Esports Hits Mobile Games

Jun 28, 2016


The Esports scene is coming to mobile games very soon! Clash Royale is one of the most popular mobile games on the market today. It is available on both Android and iOS. It is made by Supercell, the same creators of the famous Clash of Clans. So what is Clash Royale, for those who don’t know?

Clash Royale is, at its core, a card game. You collect the cards of different troops and they are added to your usable collection. Once you’ve added a card, you can level it up by receiving more of the same card. The troops are used against another player in real time, like many card games. The big difference is that the troops are placed as mobile units, not as stationary cards. Your units progress towards the other side of the map and attempt to defeat the enemy towers. This creates a unique dynamic of simultaneous defending and attacking, in real time. There are many unique troops that make this possible, and overall it’s an incredibly fun game.

Until now, the only way to play against a specific person was to do clan battles. This meant that tournament players all had to join the same clan, making it difficult to compete. However, in the next update they are launching a tournament mode.

What is the Tournament mode?

The big problem with setting up tournaments in Clash Royale is that both players need to be online simultaneously. This problem isn’t unique to Clash, it plagues many games, such as Hearthstone. In-client tournaments can easily be skewed by players simply being forced to leave. Supercell took all of this into account and came up with an entirely new tournament method.

They threw the typical tournament format out the window. Their tournament mode won’t have semifinals or even finals. It works like a giant queue. Players request battles within the tournament group, and other players accept the battles. The winner wins points, the loser loses them. At the end, the top half of the players get rewards.

The points that you earn or lose are entirely limited to that specific tournament, nothing carries on. Also, in this particular system, the host is the only one that pays. Entries are free to all contestants, and they do win prizes. Nothing is lost for doing badly, and you cannot be eliminated from the tournament. In Clash Royale, there are levels, but the tournaments have capped levels. This means that people who pay thousands of dollars won’t have an advantage over casual players, as long as they have hit the cap.

Mobile Games are becoming competitive
Clash Royale can be fun for everyone, regardless of investment.

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What does this mean for future tournaments?

This system is ingenious. It won’t replace typical tournaments, by any means. Big tournaments will still have top players, with a full set of finals. However, for casual tournaments, this tournament mode is perfect for practice and small winnings. It also gives streamers a great way to interact with the community. For Clash Royale specifically, this mode is perfect for allowing top players to earn their way onto the leaderboard.

This system is a great way for other games to host casual tournaments as well. The old Magic the Gathering Online system found their flaws here. They attempted to host casual tournaments with finals and such. This left tons of down time, and many players ended up double queueing out of boredom. The system proposed here leaves no downtime. The only downside is that the player who comes first may not be the best player. However, as this is casual, seeing this system implemented in other games would be amazing. One of the best parts is the fact that there is no downside to competing. For people with ladder anxiety, these tournaments are the perfect practice!

Mobile gaming as an Esport?

Everything that Clash Royale is doing is amazing for Esports in general. It allows for competition at lower levels, and a lot of fun for all players. Clash Royale is acting as an ambassador into the mobile competitive scene. Until now, there have been mobile leaderboards, but no mobile games that promoted tournaments. Now Clash Royale has done so not only for top players, but competitive players everywhere. It will be interesting to see if this paves the way for many other competitive mobile games. Instinctively I want to say that Clash Royale is unique in this regard. However, games like Hearthstone have gone to mobile as well, showing the potential of the platform.

Games like Clash Royale have been plagued by micro-transactions. If you want to be on the top of the leaderboard, you need to put literally thousands of dollars into the game. This tournament mode allows players to be competitive without putting in a dime. This is a massive change for mobile games, and is a very important step if mobile games want to be competitive. It will be interesting to see if other games follow in these footsteps, helping free to play players compete. Hopefully we’ll be seeing an expanding Esports scene down the road that includes mobile games.

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Stephen Draper
Stephen has a degree in English from Brock University. He grew up playing video games and card games, always having an affection for strategy. He picked up League of Legends in early Season One and has since achieved Diamond rank multiple times. He also picked up Hearthstone in Beta and has since achieved Legend consistently. When he isn’t reading, writing, or gaming, he’s probably watching other people game.
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