U24 Solutions is the studio behind the highly ambitious upcoming Cradle of Sins VR MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) video game, and they just recently hosted the world’s first VR MOBA tournament – the Cradle of Sins Alpha Cup!
Although the event wasn’t as high-profile as the other more prominent esports games, such as Dota or League of Legends, it’s still a daring break into the field by the young studio, which offered a $10,000 prize pool for this tournament with the game still being in the alpha stage of development (hence appropriately called Alpha Cup). Players battled online from all over the world, where the qualification rounds took place between December 19th 2019 and January 18th 2020; competing to collect as many wins (and thus points) as they possibly can in order to rise up in the ranks and clash together in the grand finale that took place on February 16th 2020. The top 6 finalists were randomly divided into two teams of 3 players each (since each game is a 3 versus 3 match). This might seem a bit odd from your typical esport event, where they have set teams and all team members are familiar with one another and have played together for many times; but considering this is a new unreleased VR game with a budding community, the developers had to come up with a different recipe. The top 6 players were from North America, Scotland, Czech Republic and Russia, and some of them already had previous esports experience in addition to being members of other professional teams. What’s interesting about this finale is that all players played online from their homes while the entire event was broadcast and commentated from a whole other country – Estonia! Which happens to be where the dev team is currently located. Despite the game being in alpha, it’s pretty much in playable condition with no huge game-breaking bugs, and the dev team is working hard night and day to deliver their vision of the completed game.
The two teams crossed virtual swords (and crossbows and spells) in a VR brawl, and after 4 vivacious games the EU team won, bringing home the grand prize of $3,500 as well as the Alpha Cup trophy that was on display from the broadcasting studio, which goes to the MVP of the team RexarCZ from Czech Republic for his great gameplay and also continuous coordination between his Scottish and Russian companions throughout the games. The runner-up team didn’t leave empty handed of course, as they also received $1,500 for making it to the finale and putting on a great show of gameplay. The rest of the $10,000 prize pool was distributed among those who made it to the top 40 places in the qualifiers.
As the finalists were training hard to make sure they’re in top shape for the finale, so were the developers doing their best to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible and looking as great as can be. For a game studio of this size working on such an ambitious project; this was no small feat to pull off. The broadcast took place in Estonia as mentioned before at one of the country’s best conference centers: the Mektory building in Tallinn University of Technology. With its 130-foot and 270-degree huge screen surrounding the entire hall, it was without question that the best available facilities were used for this tournament’s grand finale! Even the casters were handpicked by the dev team to make sure they got knowledgeable and enjoyable to watch commentators for the games. The first of those is René Buttler (AKA GRunner), a professional esports commentator and host who was specially flown in from Germany to cover this event. The other is Marek Pihel (AKA Envision), who used to be a professional esports player himself, has experience with casting esports events and also played the Cradle of Sins; so he already had good experience with the game to cover it well. Reading about all of this production effort by the developers; you know that those people are serious about what they’re trying to achieve!
“So what’s next?”, you might ask, with all this show and glamour. Well, the devs are back into action hacking away at their keyboards, taking everything they’ve learned so far from this experience to up their game. The tournament already introduced a spectator mode which wasn’t part of the game prior to this event – but was crucial for the broadcasting. This is now one of the features that will be added to the game in the future to be used by all players, so that they can enjoy watching their buddies as they run across the sand and jungles of the Cradle Island when they’re not conjuring their own spells. This was the world’s first MOBA tournament taking place in VR fashion, and it certainly won’t be the last. The team plans to host more of these events and to show off their progress with the game’s development and growth, while at the same time allowing their fans to enjoy a good old battle arena style with more immersion as never seen before.
If you feel the game’s aroused your curiosity and you can get your hands on a VR set, you can join the open alpha testing of the game currently taking place for free! Just teleport yourself to their Discord.