Limestone College’s new esports program has taken yet another cutting-edge step by adding “Valorant” to its arsenal of game offerings this fall.
“Valorant,” which was officially released on June 2, was wildly popular during its beta-stage testing, according to Limestone’s esports head coach Zach Lewis.
“Limestone has made the preemptive strike, so to speak, to jump into the world of ‘Valorant’ because all indications are that the new game will lead to large-scale esports tournaments popping up in the near future,” explained Lewis, who is a former esports player and coach at the Oklahoma State University. “We wanted to get our foot in the door right away because this game is going to be one of the most popular ones out there soon.”
Lewis added that Riot Games’ new five-versus-five first-person game resembles a hybrid between “Counter Strike: Global Offensive” and “Overwatch.” Interest was there from the beta launch in early April, when “Valorant” reached 1.73 million views on Twitch. Over the past few months, top professional players from other esports have flocked to the new game. In addition to Twitch, organizations such as T1, G2 Esports and ESPN have hosted “Valorant’ events featuring players in North America and Europe.
“We’ve been super excited to introduce the cutting-edge program of esports to Limestone, and the addition of ‘Valorant’ to our game offerings is pushing that even further,” Lewis noted.
In making the leap into the popular esports arena, Limestone is one of only a handful of institutions across the state to offer the sport. Electronic sports have enjoyed phenomenal growth in recent years, due in part to the success of games like League of Legends and Rocket League, both of which are being played in Limestone’s esports
Along with competitive varsity squads, Limestone is offering a recreational gaming club that will have access to the College’s state-of-the-art gaming lab and lounge that are now under development at Fort Residence Hall. Lewis expects to initially field one-to-three nationally competitive teams, along with two-to-five for intramural club activities.
The gaming club is a branch of the program that enables any Limestone student to become involved in esports. By offering regular in-house events, meetings, and intramural tournaments, students will be able to enjoy esports and gaming without the stress of varsity competition.
Recruiting is in full swing for Limestone’s esports program, and Lewis said those who might be interested in being a part of the action can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to set-up an appointment.
As announced earlier this year, in addition to the new eSports program, Limestone will also begin offering this fall a new minor in Computer Game Programming.