By: GEOFF LESAR
Legends are not made overnight. As IU South Bend senior Chance Starcher can attest, neither are campus clubs.
Founder and president of the League of Legends at IUSB, Starcher presides over weekly gatherings of gamers bent on leveling-up and getting down on the online, multi-player action of one of the world’s most popular, free-to-play games.
Fervent mouse-clicking is evidence of a team hard at play, but the group didn’t always have a home of their own to sharpen their skills and Long Swords.
“Initially, we talked to the IT department here and they said, absolutely, it’s not going to happen,” Starcher recalled.
Following a semester of laptop sessions across various campus classrooms, the club received the IT department’s green light last fall and currently meets Wednesdays from 5:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Northside Hall basement computer lab (NS0038), now christened “The RiFt.”
“We got an email that said ‘We want to thank you for your professionalism and we’re working on getting you guys a lab now,’” Starcher said. “We came from somewhere where we had nothing, to this lab we can check-out every week and play.”
Having a home turf is essential in the development of any team with a winning agenda, and posting wins is what the group intends to do beginning Saturday, Feb. 25, in the League of Legends North American Collegiate Open.
The single-elimination, eight-round, multi-day competition features 1,024 teams of five to seven players representing their respective campuses and vying for a final-round trip to Manhattan Beach, Calif., and a $100,000 first-prize scholarship.
“It’s time to turn it up a bit and take the next step. Are we going to win? Heck yeah, I hope so,” announced a buoyant Starcher.
Members’ cursors are continuously pointed toward the future. University IT is poised to provide Local Area Network (LAN) pods for the club’s use. It’s a generous offering that will eliminate lag within the game, a result of limited bandwidth coupled with the large number of users on the standard campus network. Tallying small victories for the group has left original members optimistic about the passing of the keyboard to the “n00bs.”
“After Chance and I leave, I hope people continue on what we’ve started,” said Colin Wilson, club co-founder and vice president. “This club was the first step towards the university seeing gaming and clubs as a thing. I’d eventually like to see us have our own gaming lab. That would be great.”
Hours spent navigating expansive game maps have, perhaps, aided Starcher in his ability to view the larger picture.
“I want to see it branch out from League of Legends. So, eventually we’ll pick up something else like a first-person shooter. Call of Duty, maybe,” Starcher said. “That’s why our shirts now say Titan Gaming on them, because eventually that’s what we want to make it – a gaming community.”
The Titans were storied deities of the Golden Age – the first pantheon of gods and goddesses introduced in Greek mythology. In a Digital Age where you can never move fast enough, legendary status may be only a few clicks away.