From Then to Now – SMITE OCE

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As we crown our 2015 Oceanic Smite champions we can’t help but to take a look back and think of the immense growth and spirit that is Smite Oceania.

Starting with the release of the Australian servers all that way to the largest prize pool in Oceanic esports history, we take a look back at what happened from then to now.

 

Before the Australian servers, many gamers from the Oceanic community played Smite on the North American servers. Despite the intense ping many players stuck around and it was their dedication and support of Smite which led to the biggest decision that Hi-Rez studios would make in regards to Oceania.

Everything kicked off when Hi-Rez studios announced that they would be offering Australian servers that went live back in October 27th 2014 as well as Oceania’s first time to meet up with their fellow gamers at the 2014 Pax Australia convention.

Since then Oceania has been growing at an immense rate and it was all thanks to the spirit of its people, veteran players who had played on the North American servers encouraged new players within the region to pick up the game and join in the action and it continues to grow to this day. Oceania has seen streamers pop up in defiance of the underdeveloped internet infrastructure to contribute to the quality of the community. As well as a numerous number of competitive players wanting their chance to show the world what we were made of. Despite being one of the smallest regions in terms of population, Oceania continues to thrive and grow in an unwavering fashion.

 

At the moment of the release of the servers, competitive gamers that were bustling to sink their teeth into Esports were given the chance as soon as March 30th 2015, with the announcement of the Open Ladder, and April 26th, with the first match of the Invitational Ladder. With more than forty teams across these two ladders, only the best of the best would continue through the Ladders.

 

As the season went on, rosters and names changed and shifted, teams were picked up by organisations. Teams moved from division to division based on their seeding until we made it to the Oceanic Pro League.

 

During the Oceanic Pro League, otherwise known as the OPL, eight teams battled it out over seven weeks. The top two placing teams were given guaranteed spots at the first Oceanic regional finals which were Avant Garde and Dire Wolves. Whereas seeds three to six from the Pro League had to compete against the highest seeding teams from the Open ladder in the Oceania Challengers Cup in a twelve team double elimination.

 

Cyanide, admin for CyberGamer and Co-Founder of TeamDownTv expressed.

“We have seen a few things change up between the invitational leagues through to the pro league. Avant Garde and Dire Wolves been stable with holding down the number one and two spots, but other teams like SYF Gaming (formally Team Kamikaze) becoming much stronger has shown there is always room to improve with teams, and in the local scene.

The team throughout the Invitational and even more so in the Pro League Chiefs (formally Exhilarated) disbanding after the PAX qualifiers was a shock to all. With Elkeiro and Maxen in the line-up I think everyone expected them to be a sure thing to make it to the regional qualifiers, and maybe even compete for a spot in the SWC against Avant Garde. Most teams performed well, and I’m confident we will see a continued growth of teams and players as we start looking into 2016.

Teams who can lose games together often stay together. Getting result as nice as it is, it’s not the foundation of having a strong team. Players working hard for each other, and encouraging each other are the ones who become most stable. These teams are also the ones who generally rise to the top. All 4 teams who made it to PAX this year are pretty stable with little team changes. I think we will also see more of this in 2016.

I think all teams in both the invitational and Pro Leagues are great players who have improved so much since the first open ladder. Once some of them move around to teams in which they fit in better, we really are going to see a competitive 2016 SMITE here in Oceania.”

 

The Challengers cup offered surprises and unexpected upsets as the third seeded OPL team Chiefs Esports club suffered an immediate double loss which knocked them out of the competition due to it being a double elimination tournament. The sixth seeded team Integral Nation, known at the time as Ivory, surprised everyone as they took down some of the largest names of the open ladder, in Defiance and Cognitive Clique, only to be bested by SYF Gaming in a close 2-1 set. From the Challengers Cup it was announced that the two teams SYF Gaming and the newly named Integral Nation were to meet with Avant Garde and Dire Wolves to play in the first ever Smite Oceanic regional finals at Pax Australia 2015.

 

It was official, the first Oceanic Smite regional finals was to kick off on October 30th 2015 at Pax Australia in a two day tournament with the semi-finals held on the first day followed by the bronze match and the grand finals on the second day. The four teams competed for their share in the largest prize pool in Oceanic history, $65,000 plus the top team would be given the chance to represent their home region at the Smite World Championship in January 2016.

 

For each of the teams, the event allowed many of them their first chance to meet each other face to face for the first time ever and to play at a live Lan setting in front of their fans.

 

Community figureheads and known names were given the opportunity to appear in person such as streamers, casters, admins, Pro players and hi-rez staff to greet fans and new faces alike. The experience of meeting fellow players and friends felt like a loving family reunion, even though many of the attendees had never met each other in person before.

 

Divane, Oceanic Smite streamer expressed.

This year at Pax was amazing. I spent a whole year getting to know people in the OCE scene and I finally got to meet them. It’s pretty awesome putting faces to IGN’s and twitch names and seeing everyone interact as though we’ve known each other our whole lives. The whole thing was surreal. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it and regain my energy back from one of the most exciting weekends of my life.

 

It all came together, the stage was set and the players were ready. The teams played their hearts out in their first ever live lan championship. With plenty of hot plays, some objective steals and even a Penta kill, the champions Avant Garde were crowned to go to the SWC.

 

Many people came away buzzing after the event, but there’s always that special moment that you would never forget.

DMBrandon, Smite Pro League caster said.

“Rowe being out of position in a game he was losing, then baiting 4 people into wasting everything on him, getting out, and having his team win the fight. That’s when I knew that Avant HAD to go to world’s.”

Knightfall, Oceania caster said.

“The most memorable moment has to be when Rowe, playing Nemesis, was caught out of position in the solo lane during game 3 of the grand finals. ElChuckles, Yada and Kikiomeo were closing in on him and he played the situation so perfectly, timing his dash, ultimate and shield so that he could retreat to his team mates and then re-enter the fight to win the battle and shortly after, the game.”

Adanas, Smite Pro League caster said.

“Even though I got to cast my first Pentakill, my favorite moment had to be when Avant Garde downed the final Titan, and became the Oceanic Regional Championships. The region is small, but that honestly makes everything more special. I got to talk to not only the players, staff, and management, but the community members at PAX Australia as well. Everyone had their favorite team, but more importantly everyone there was ecstatic for Avant Garde when the show ended. Seeing the team hoist up the trophy as the first to represent Oceania was by far the best moment of the week.”

Hughesy, Oceania caster said.

“My special moment was in game 3 of Avant Garde vs Dire Wolves when Dire Wolves wiped all of Avant except for Sporks who then proceeded to fight 1 v 4 and pick up a double kill. It was that elevation of the level of play that finally opened my eyes as to how LAN and Regionals can change the dynamic of a game.”

 

Now with Avant Garde on their way to the SWC, the question on everyone’s minds will be “Can the boys from down under bring the thunder?”

 

CaptCoach, coach for Avant Garde says.

“I am ecstatic to have made it to the Smite World Championship 2016 with Avant Garde. They definitely deserve their spot among the top teams in the world, but the competition is fierce and we are all well aware of that. The World Championship will be a true testing ground for us as a team, which is why we are already preparing for the competition. Nonetheless, I think we will be able to hold our own amongst the top of the world and finish in the top 4. But that is not our goal though, we are dead set on getting first.”

Hughesy, Oceania caster says.

“Avant Garde are a mechanically very good team, especially Rowe who I believe could slot into most NA/EU teams very comfortably. As a whole team, after the performance at the PAXAus Regional Finals I see them being competitive as a mid-level NA/EU SPL team if they can perform at that level on a consistent basis.”

 

And already as the year comes closer to its end, a new round of Oceanic Open Ladder is underway to determine teams for next year. Inspired by the teams that made it to Pax Australia and the teams that fought against them the whole way through, one can only think of how far we will go in another twelve months.

 

TopNotch, Pro player for Invidious says.

“In regards to the season the InVidious boys and myself have ahead of us, I feel like this season has been one unfortunate event after another for us and now, with that all out of the way, and not having to deal with outsider discrepancies in the coming year, we are going to be the strongest we have ever been. It’s no surprise that any good team in Australia won’t let us play particular gods/strategies, because when we find a rhythm and something that works, we absolutely dominate with it.
With the new season also comes a few role swaps within the team that have been a long time coming, myself moving out of solo (a role i have only played for the past year because no one else could facilitate the role at a professional level) into the middle lane has been something i have been looking forward to for a very long time. I feel like i personally, have a completely new take on the game and i am excited to be working with a role that is very new and different for me, and that it will only make me a definitively stronger and more passionate player.
In summation, we had a rocky year in 2015, and with that all in the dust, OCE Smite isn’t going to know what hit it.”

 

Knightfall, Oceania caster says.

“With the first season of SMITE in Oceania being such a success and the prizes for teams being significantly high, one can only presume that next season will be bigger and better. The rise in stakes will attract more players to strive to be the best, increasing the skill level as these new players learn how the current professional players have journeyed and stayed at the top for so long.”

 

The only thing to do now is to sit witness to the unwavering spirit of Oceania, as we send players to the World Championship, get ready for another season of Esports and watch our community grow.

 

-Written by Timothy
“Timmyy” Turner.

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