Esports remains active as the world suspends social gatherings due to the spread of COVID-19. The North America League of Legends Championship Series is currently in its eighth week of matchups and, according to ESPN, Europe and North America’s premier League of Legends leagues, the League of Legends European Championship and the League of Legends Championship Series return March 21 as fully online competitions. Extra precautionary measures are being implemented to retain integrity for the competitions as the professional leagues play their competitions online. NSU is following suit and turning all esports operations online.

“We as of now have to suspend all mandatory in-person practice and workouts but we still actively practice together at home,” said Charles Dennison, esports club president. “It certainly slows down a lot of in-person meetings we were having, but outside of that, it has opened the door to many new things we can try out online like streaming. We have Instagram and Twitch and with calling, texting, Discord, Snapchat, GroupMe and Facebook we kind of use everything to keep in touch.”

The two NSU esports teams are aiming to continue honing their skills and revamping their presence online with the suspension of in-person classes. The two formats for NSU esports representation are the esports Instagram and Twitch streams, but the team is now looking to add their live streams to YouTube so the team can archive their previous matches. Individual players have their streams but the esports club wants to be able to represent NSU to a live audience via their professional channel.

 “I usually stream League of Legends to show my climb on the rank ladder and a lot of the time to give tips and explain certain things about the game,” said Khanh Le, esports team player. “I have been playing games since I was a very young child due to having to be indoors most of the time. I always wanted to stream or make videos but I didn't really have the time nor the equipment till recently. Coronavirus is affecting my streams as it allows me to meet more people due to everyone staying indoors more now.”

While social distancing may hinder social gatherings, students can find new opportunities while they wait for the pandemic to calm down. There are multiple streaming opportunities for students to learn and then make their own videos. If students do not have their own equipment for streaming, they are encouraged to watch multiple streams and take notes until the streaming site downtown becomes available for use again. Maryah Reavis, Muskogee sophomore, uses the streaming option at Start and is waiting for the reopening of the gaming store so she can record more videos.

“Streaming means a lot of things, but the most important thing is that I connect with people around the world in times of crisis that they can come into my stream and not have to worry about anything,” said Reavis. “I can make them laugh, they can make me cry, trust me my community has done that to me multiple times. It's a place that I can be myself and make people happy.”

For updates on the NSU esports team, follow them on Instagram @nsu_esports or watch them live on Twitch.tv at https://www.twitch.tv/nsu_esports/. For more information of club activities, email Dennison at dennison@nsuok.edu.

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