H1Z1 Pro League Tournament Kicks off With a Bang
Seventy five competitors face outwards at an energetic audience; the entire crowd glued to the ten enormous monitors broadcasting the fast-paced game. The players are unfettered by all of the cameras and roaming multicolored lights in their face, remaining laser focused on the task at hand. On a state-of-the-art stage that’s only been seen once before at TwitchCon 2017 in Long Beach, fifteen teams compete against each other in battle royale fashion at the first match of the H1Z1 Pro League tournament at the Caesar’s Entertainment Studio in Las Vegas.
H1Z1 is a free-to-play game developed by Daybreak that airdrops all players into a map and starts them off with only the clothes on their back. Players must quickly scavenge for supplies, weapons and armor and eliminate every other team until they are the last ones standing. However, the game can come down to only a single player — all five players from the team are not required to survive in order to win the match. Toxic gas also closes in on the map slowly, forcing players to get in closer proximity with one another every minute or so
The tournament consists of two 10-week splits, with each event made up of two matches back-to-back. Broadcast live in partnership with Facebook, the event draws in thousands of viewers and fans who watch avidly via livestream or on bleachers surrounding the arena. The entire production is a spectacle: Fog machines blast from the ceiling in the center of the arena and trap music blasts during the breaks. Fans cheer and holler from the audience, sporting jerseys and holding up posters for their favorite teams. The event was hosted by Kristine Leahy with guest host Michelle Rodriguez, best known for the Fast and Furious franchise, and popular streamers and past competitors such as Summit1g and FemSteph also made appearances.
The weekend of the first event kicked off with receptions for the players, Q&A sessions, and even player signings at a tailgate party open to tournament ticket holders outside of the Caesar’s arena. The team that attracted the most fans at the game was Rogue, an all-male team based out of Las Vegas backed by resident DJ Steve Aoki.
And the Winners Are…
The first match centered on Team SoloMid (or TSM), with many teams and commentators predeclaring them the toughest competitors and the main team to keep an eye on, but they were one of the first teams eliminated. The match victory went to team Epsilon, most of whom were left standing by the end of the game. They scored 28 points, placing them at the very top of the leaderboard.
The second match went to Cloud9, who scored only two points during the first match but were the last men standing by the end of the second. Still, the point system representing each team’s collective kills factored in more heavily than the survival aspect of the game, and ultimately the evening’s victory was given to Epsilon, followed by teams Rogue and Echo Fox. An open bar after party concluded the evening, allowing fans to mingle with the players and celebrate the start of a long and exciting season.