A day finally came when we were invited to keep our pen down and play a video game with our boss’ approval. That’s not all, it was also a chance to team up with our workmates and represent the company in that one activity we all love to skip a day from work and do. This dream day of all working men in the IT sector finally came with Gamer.LK organizing the first ever Mercantile eSports Championship in Sri Lanka sponsored by Dialog Gaming. In a series of team and individual titles, the doors were open for all the IT related companies to take part and compete for an overall championship trophy on August 6th and 7th at Trace Expert – City.
It was a fantastic experience. There was a marvelous giant screen streaming all the interesting matches with an ongoing commentary by professionals. There was a completely different atmosphere compared to the regular gaming events we see nowadays. There was peace, harmony, and sportsmanship within all those who competed. The sense of competition was seconded by the spirit of gaming for fun for once. The smiles on everyone’s faces when they saw a person play Project Cars for the first time revealed how friendly the competition was for all.
Not only was the venue filled by so many new faces with mild sense of competition, it was a hit of nostalgia to see old gaming legends taking part once again for the fun of it. Some of the faces even represented admins and former national champions from leading clans in Sri Lanka. The venue was big enough for the anticipated crowd.
However, the real highlight of the event was seeing top companies in Sri Lanka entering the venue well prepared by even wearing jerseys printed just for the event. Large numbers of participants were seen from industrial big names such as MillenniumIT, Virtusa, 99X Technologies, and Cake Labs. Though the numbers weren’t strong, there was a greater performance by other companies such as Aitken Spence Technologies, Reliance Networks, and Innodata.
The competitive titles offered in the Mercantile eSports Championship were: Call of Duty 4, DOTA 2, Mortal Kombat X, FIFA 16, and Project Cars. While there was a spectacular number of participants for each title, it came to everyone’s surprise how well these unknown gamers within shadows proved to not only ace the games but also to defeat well known gamers in the community.
As strong as they were with numbers, Virtusa made sure to prove that it wasn’t for nothing by managing to win both gold and silver medals in the most competitive title in Sri Lanka, Call of Duty 4. They pushed their strength even further by facing and defeating MillenniumIT in a devastating grand finals of DOTA 2. To add to the count of having won the two main titles, Virtusa also managed to emerge as the runner-up of FIFA 16 making it a total of 2 Golds and 1 Silver.
Virtusa’s strength was closely countered by the forces of MillenniumIT who also had a strong number of participants. Even though they could not grab any victories at the event, they made a great impact to the overall championship by winning 2 Silvers and 2 Bronze medals out of 5 titles.
While the big games were taken by big companies with big numbers, there was far fiercer action happening in a corner of the venue with the individual titles. Having the passively gained reputation as a professional gamer, we saw some of the leading cyber-athletes in Sri Lanka giving a solo representation for their companies. Special mentions are Dimal ‘GrimmJow’ Fernando and Ashwin ‘Phantom’ Umasudhan from Phoenix GaminG. GrimmJow continued to show his versatility in the field by winning 1 Gold and 1 Silver medal for Reliance Networks while Phantom won 1 Gold for Innodata. Followed by them, there were many members from top clans such as n00b Alliance and Tech Morph who were among the top 3 teams for COD 4 and DOTA 2. It was the perfect blend of professionals leading their workmates in a battlefield they have mastered for countless years.
The year has been very slow for eSports compared to the action we saw in the past two years. However, Gamer.LK has been pushing themselves into new boundaries by first initiating the inter-university level eSports Championship and now by successfully holding the first ever Mercantile eSports Championship in Sri Lanka. It was a very different yet so entertaining atmosphere of eSports we saw during the weekend and we are eager to see many more events like this happening in the future.