So some exciting news arrived this morning, and currently, the story is beginning to circulate through various sources. Imagine combining Dungeons & Dragons with a Team Deathmatch tournament style play, imagine it being aired on a Twitch channel live like a sporting event using Roll20, and then imagine a $5000 prize pool. What you get is D&DSportsTV! While not the first competitive D&D content produced, I feel that this will be much different in scope compared to other iterations in the past.
DnDSports is the first online D&D Tournament in a cooperative Party v.s Party setting from EncounterRoleplay & DnDBeyond with a grand prize of $5,000. Over the course of 4 weeks, 16 players will compete in teams of 4 in single elimination games. Each game is a best of 3 arena battle and played via Roll20.
How will the games be run?
According to their website, the matches aim to simulate MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) styled mechanics with a Pick/Ban phase for players to draft their characters to play. I’m expecting more information will be revealed over time since currently, they are in the midst of playtesting (according to the site).
The first game will start on November 10th and continue every Saturday until the Grand Finale on December 1st.
Does this mean D&D will become an eSport?
No, that’s what will happen. But this was created with the inclination for competitive gamers to have a safe and comfortable environment to be introduced to D&D 5th Edition. So while in-character and out-character knowledge will probably be less of an issue here, you can still expect to witness some create D&D combat. So if you’re a combat junkie, or always wanted to up your combat skills for your D&D sessions, this is a great tool and event to learn.
Expectations and Predictions
I don’t have any real predictions other than I anticipate that this has the potential to create a new play style for D&D. The min-maxing optimizer in me is super stoked to see competitive combat with character classes. I’ve done battle royales and players v.s player scenarios in the past in my D&D experience, they can be entertaining and engaging. But it’s not for everyone, especially with how D&D 5e is currently marketed for its narrative strengths and empowerment to the Dungeon Master compared to previous editions. However, that does not mean that the current 5th Edition rules cannot support such play, mainly if their interpretation will likely use Rules as Written (RAW) just like Adventure League games, then the shouldn’t be any ambiguity for players and arbiters/referees.
I find this entire experiment to be truthfully a helpful medium for players to improve their efficiency in combat scenarios. What I mean when I say this? One of the issues with D&D in general stems from combat often times taking excruciating amounts of time to complete. There are plenty of pundits and DMs on the Internet who provide shortcuts and means to speed through combat (myself included), but I’ve stressed before in the past that the responsibility of the players (especially during combat) to help themselves with the pacing. While I do not want to discourage anyone with combat encounters (and it does not always happen in every D&D game at home), this is an aspect of the game that can happen. Being efficient and fluent with your character’s abilities and tactics is honestly a form of respect to your Dungeon Master who took the time to prepare and organize your play session. Making choices that are considered optimal or “the best” is purely subjective and situational, and that sort of discussion should be left at the table in your home games. My point is to emphasize the fairness and respect to Dungeon Masters by the players.
I look forward to this upcoming venture with DnDSportsTV and hope it’s success to produce a larger production in the future. Who knows? This could be the dawn of a new genre, give it a chance and see it for yourself. I mean, let’s think back to a particular stream that featured a bunch of nerdy voice actors who loved playing Dungeons & Dragons and see what came out of that. The future is uncertain, but I have faith that this can become something unique with its own niche.
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