StarCraft II and Hearthstone were among the titles played in esports' debut at the 30th Southeast Asian Games held last December 5 to 10 at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan.
Unlike the other crowd-drawing games, it was apparent that the two titles from Blizzard Entertainment didn't have the same huge fan base that Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Dota 2 enjoyed.
But despite the lack of audience attention and player base in the Philippines, Sibol athletes Caviar "EnDerr" Acampado from StarCraft II, and Dustin "WaningMoon" Mangulabnan from Hearthstone see the presence of their respective games in the SEA Games as a way to bring more players to the gaming community.
"Sana lumaki pa. Kahit papaano may nilu-look forward na tournament. Before kasi wala eh, kaya siguro nag-die down," said EnDerr after winning the gold medal for the science fiction real-time strategy title.
He also pointed out that there are countries in Southeast Asia where the StarCraft II is still prominent, such as Vietnam — hence, tougher opponents from the region.
"Actually sa Vietnam malaki siya. Kaya rin siguro malakas [si] MeomaikA, 'yung sa Vietnam," he said.
Meanwhile, Hearthstone is a digital card game whose competitive scene has yet to penetrate local consciousness. Sibol's WaningMoon and Jacinta "Jia" Dee both bombed out of the tournament in the group stage with identical 2-3 win-loss records, but the former is still optimistic.
"We have a passionate community naman for Hearthstone. I guess if it helps make it more mainstream we could only hope," he said.
With the success of the biennial multi-sports event, the two hopes that more Filipinos would take up Starcraft II and Hearthstone. As for their advice:
"The first thing is you have to enjoy it. You have to want to play it. If you want be better at it, it's just a matter of time. There will always be levels; it depends on what your goal is then there's always a way. I guess if you want to play more seriously, the best thing to do is to watch other people on Twitch, and see what other players are playing and doing. The main thing is to want to do it," said WaningMoon.
As for EnDerr, he stresses that newcomers must be dedicated to the game above all else if they want to pursue a professional career.
"Para sa'kin kasi StarCraft is not a casual game. Well, pwedeng casual, pero more on team games [if you] just want to have fun. Pero pag 1v1 kasi, 'di ka matutuwa eh," he explained. "More on kailangan may dedication ka na matutunan mo para manalo ka. Kasi 'yun pag nanalo ka, nagla-ladder ka, nagra-ranking ka. 'Di naman siya 'yung parang MOBA game na may pwede kang sisihin."