After all sanctioned varsity athletic programming was cancelled, Western students still have the opportunity to get involved in sports through the Western Electronic Gaming Association.
The club offers professional and casual opportunities for those seeking competition, allowing players to connect through their passion for gaming.
For students looking for a more competitive experience, WEGA runs several eSports teams, each competing in their own respective leagues and tournaments. Tryouts are hosted by WEGA and change in format depending on the game.
This year, Western’s Valorant team hosted a series of custom matches for their tryouts.
“I would mix up the teams based on what I saw and who I wanted to see play together,” says Andy Chiang, vice-president of events at WEGA. “Each player was judged by a collection of their skill in-game, their communication and attitude, so there are a lot of factors at play.”
This format is similar to Overwatch and League of Legends tryouts.
The League of Legends team is one of Western’s most successful, having qualified for the College League of Legends Championship in Los Angeles in 2018 and 2019. They are sponsored by Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends and were on-track to qualify last year before COVID-19 forced the the season to halt.
WEGA's Discord server has over 800 members and offers a platform for students to socialize and connect with one another. In addition, with the option for students to form their own teams for competitions, the server is perfect for recruiting teammates.
“We do not have a competitive [Counter-Strike: Global Offensive] team,” says Chiang. “The team formed itself after meeting each other through Discord. The Rocket League and Fortnite teams are signed up for competitive leagues, and we didn't do any try-outs; they were just talking with each other and were at the same skill levels.”
This server is also updates players on the many virtual events and live streams that WEGA hosts. The club recently hosted a charity tournament featuring multiple games and prizes. All proceeds were donated to Extra Life, an organization that supports 170 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. WEGA has also hosted an industry panel with guest speakers.
“We brought out a lot of cool industry experts from different types of eSports roles for a panel about their experiences and ways people can break into the eSports industry,” says Chiang.
These events were affiliated with Proud Ontario Gamers, a larger organization that includes WEGA.
In the upcoming semester, WEGA is excited to host Western Legends Player-POV events, where students can experience being part of the Western Legends team. There are also tournaments for different games where any players can sign up and compete for thousands of dollars in prizes.
“If anyone is interested in joining, we do welcome everybody,” says Chiang “Come out and have some fun, compete and meet others.”