2017 Review of Philippine FPS by WASD

There is an Eastern saying which says, “Don’t talk about the things that you don’t know.”

Keeping this in mind and in line with WASD’s mandate as one of the leading FPS hubs here in the Philippines, the Editorial Team brings its annual review of the Philippine FPS scene!

Emerging Flames

In addition to the old-time names of Mineski, Imperium and Wolves, big guns TNC, ArkAngel (which is backed up by a rich magnate) and even up-and-coming regional organizations such as Metronoia, among others, have started to participate and get results in the Philippine scene.

This represents a continuation of the increasing amounts of new talent that gets infused into the local scene everyday.

As a matter of fact, one of Mineski’s players right now is a Mindanaoan, which serves as a signal for those who want to break into the upper echelons of Philippine CS:GO to keep working hard.

1nconsistent, albeit a mix of old and new talents, has been the prime example back in 2016. Now, many have risen up to the challenge: From the provinces of the Solid North to the southern cities of Mindanao, the hopes and dreams of Philippine Counter-Strike have never been as bright since 2012.

Increasing Opportunities

Accessibility to the international scene has never been as high as before: From smaller tournaments such as B5 and ESEA to bigger ones such as IEM, ESL and the Major system, teams here in the Philippines, regardless of location, have now chances to prove their worth and expand their team’s win portfolio, thus opening up more opportunities for them.

In addition, some strong performances by teams such as Mineski and Imperium have opened up the door by inspiring the rest of the Filipino community to take notice.

Will we finally see a Filipino team who can win a SEA...or better yet, an APAC top trophy this 2018?

Local Government Involvement

Years ago, this would be only a dream. However, with examples such as the City Government of Tarlac’s partnership with WASD, as well as the Provincial Government of Negros Oriental’s forays into esports, 2018 looks like to be a big year for interactions between local government units (LGUs) and the Philippine FPS community.

CrossFire Going Strong

With their “new” lineup, Pacific.Macta has once again got another third-place finish at CrossFire Stars Grand Finals 2017, thus cementing their legacy as one of, if not the best CrossFire teams in the world.

The Philippine CrossFire community has never been as successful as ever, since the legendary second-place win of Jupiter Mars “ELGEE” Gaboy and his team at World Cyber Games (WCG)  2013.

For this, they deserve to be congratulated and everyone hopes that they continue bringing success to the Philippine esports scene in the coming years.

The Other Side of the Coin

Despite not getting significant results in 2017, our representatives in Special Force and Special Force 2 have raised the flag with pride and honor, impressing their international counterparts with their respective performances.

The same can be said for the PUBG team (5Peaks) that represented our country at the G-Star PUBG Asia Invitational. Though they never reached the top four in any of the featured categories (Duo TPP, Solo TPP and Squad TPP), they still managed to bring the Filipino spirit in a competition that included many of the continent’s top PUBG sides.

The Gray Side

In the meantime, sudden and abrupt roster changes, lots of internal dramas and community schisms have happened throughout 2017, not to forget the botched tournaments and the other “stuff” that happened (which we don’t need to mention, the Philippine CS community is a small one at that and besides, 95% of it has been covered by WASD in its news items and community posts anyway), which indeed destroyed the motivation of some people who are closely affiliated with the Philippine CS community.

This is not to mention the bans, the hacking accusations and the other stuff that has been happening in the netherworld of Philippine CS.

WASD only hopes that everyone comes stronger as a result of these challenges.

FPS Content and Talent

2017 has seen some diversity in the creation of local FPS content: From Filipino writers and graphic designers taking point in the international CrossFire scene (and even getting international recognition for it), to video content creators for Special Force and casters/analysts breaking into the Asian scene for CS:GO, local FPS content has never been as bright as before.

WASD Philippines clearly believes that apart from the usual news content and ranking systems, the community should help to create a healthy, conducive community for everyone’s growth - be it through community databases of teams, lists of players, event calendars, etc. This will allow the media AND THE BUSINESS SIDE of ESPORTS to have an exact idea of what can they expect from our community.

On another note, the publication still believes that more effort should be exerted to support talent from the provinces, regardless of the sector that they work on (i.e. media, content creation, casting, production, etc.), in addition to the current amount of talent that already exists in Metro Manila and the greater Luzon region.

Finally, we do lack frag and highlight reel makers: Why not start one? Why not tell a compelling story through the frags that a person makes in a tournament? Why not make documentaries? Why not make highlights of tournaments?

There is a lot of room in content creation for the Philippine FPS scene this 2018...and the pie is large enough to accommodate all!

On to the Provinces: Why Visayas and Mindanao?

People may seem to think that history is insignificant. But the truth of the matter is that they have been etched in the books for a reason.

Now, leaving behind history, there is still a lot of reasons why more investment should be put into the provinces in terms of the following aspects:

  • Infrastructure: Esports arenas, better internet connections, more organizations and regulation would lead to better opportunities to fight with teams who have more, thus equaling the field and allowing a proper distribution of CS:GO talent across the country. Yes, the 144-hertz advantage is a real thing.
  • Accessibility: Tournaments should take into consideration the fact that there are other teams who want to join tournaments and who also want to take part in the upper echelons of the Philippine scene. Thus, tournaments have a responsibility to spread the news about the things that they do, if it is deemed to be open to everyone in the country. Invitationals are a different beast altogether; it is up to the discretion of the organizers to invite their teams.
  • Inclusiveness: This is related to the “accessibility” part of tournaments - yes, invitationals are strictly to the organizers’ discretion, but at the same time, they should also think about deserving teams who are not residing the Manila/greater Luzon regions. Yes, it should be clear that everyone who joins the invitational tournament is deserving to be there, whether in terms of skill, economic advantage, etc. To give an example from CrossFire, the grand final of the tournament featured a Mindanaoan team going up against Pacific.Macta - this was possible because both regions had access to qualification (both of them have won their respective qualifiers, so no one can say things about whether they deserve to face each others in the finals or not.)

Adding Value to the Community

Now, here are the items that WASD believes would be to the benefit of the Philippine FPS community:

  • Media Responsibility and Proper Coverage: Yes, WASD is aware that before we exhort the rest of the community to adapt higher standards, we should be its utmost practitioners itself. Despite some minor mistakes in the year, WASD Philippines, for its part, is confident that it has kept its commitment towards producing locally-oriented content for the Philippine FPS community (which is engaging, relevant and timely) towards everyone's needs. We do hope that we see more quality content in 2018 that explores the lives, stories, struggles and triumphs of the Filipino FPS player; as well as stuff that can be read by our Asian counterparts that they can relate with.
  • Tournament Accountability: Tournament organizers should be held accountable for the deliverables that they promise as well as the overall conduct of the event. Teams, players and whoever is involved in the scene should have the right to be able to get transparent answers for the tournaments that they join, as well as the timely and veritable delivery of prize pools.
  • Sustainability for Equality, Equity and Development (SEED): Every stakeholder in the Philippine FPS scene should understand that without stable policies and a road map for development (in its many aspects), Philippine FPS would always have to face stumbles in terms. Now, this topic is not just limited to the Philippine scene, as the Asian scene IS ALSO FACING the SAME PROBLEM at a BIG BASIS.

Final Thoughts

With tons of tournaments, millions of pesos given out as prizes to 30 or so teams around the Philippines,* and a noticeable improvement in the way that the scene is panning out in the country, 2018 looks out to be as better as ever.

Of course, with rapid growth comes tons of challenges as well as the unpredictable course of life.

So we at the WASD Editorial Team thank you for reading this five-page review...and we wish you a prosperous new year ahead!

*The figures include all FPS tournaments in the country in 2017.

Earl Carlo "dreamslayer28" Guevarra is the head editor for Play on WASD. His work is forthcoming in CSGO2ASIA, Crossfire Stars and GAMURS.

Formerly the lead FPS writer for eSports by INQUIRER.

People say he loves fruit juice :)