Fire Base: Is This a Great Time for PH CS?
Just three years ago, Philippine Counter-Strike was nearly non-existent, to the point that it was considered a “success” whenever tournaments attracted a couple of teams in attendance. This is not to mention that the country was considered to be one of the whipping dogs in Asian CS, habitually losing maps to teams from other countries.
Today, the picture seems brighter as organizations such as Mineski and WASD are conducting tournaments for both veteran and aspiring teams from all over the country. As a matter of fact, WASD has just concluded its nationwide Tarlac eSports League last April 28, featuring eight of the current top ten Philippine CS teams in the country.
In addition, Mineski is planning to continue its Mineski Pro Gaming League (MPGL) CS:GO category, which has turned out to be the year-ending event in Philippine Counter-Strike. The last edition saw 1nconsistent beat Mineski CS:GO, 2-1, in the grand finals and taking home P120,000. This means that any team can make a name in Philippine CS – and this is definitely good news for many aspiring teams out there.
On the community side of things, WASD, PinoyGamer.ph, Mineski and other prominent gaming groups have attracted thousands of players in their respective groups, thus allowing for the easier dissemination of information and initiation of discussion among the various stakeholders of the Philippine CS community.
As a matter of fact, far-flung cities in the Philippines have also started their own communities, with the Zamboanga eSports League (ZeSL) being a good example. The league features many of the city’s best teams, allowing them to compete with each other and improve their gameplay together, thus raising the overall quality of the teams.
Finally, the Philippines seem to have got over its long-standing running gag in Philippine and Asian Counter-Strike. It is said among local and Asian CS circles that “the Philippines, while it is a good country in CS and eSports (at its height), can only produce one superteam in CS.”
Ever since the beginning of CS in the late 1990’s, it seems to be the case, with Devilz, iNx, the Horsemen, Smackdown DC, Wolves and Mineski all taking up the role in different eras, with a couple of exceptions.
This year looks to be different, as Mineski and Imperium Pro Team are busy representing the country in Asian-level tournaments. In addition, the former has taken second place in ESEA Open Asia-Pacific Season 24, which is a feat in itself considering they needed to beat Singaporean powerhouse B.O.O.T-dream(S)cape in other to reach the finals. Meanwhile, the latter has reached the quarter-finals of the Asia Minor SEA qualifier, with renowned Thai squad Signature stopping their run.
Things look rosy for Philippine Counter-Strike. However, there are also challenges to be addressed; namely, uncertainties in job security (it is a well-known fact that only a few organizations have the ability to give incentives to their players, let alone their respective support staff), lack of coverage (for some reason, many Filipino sites don’t cover local Counter-Strike) and lack of tournaments (the fact that only two entities in the country are able to operate big leagues for the domestic scene tells something about the current health of the scene).
Finally, even though Filipino teams have improved internationally, the country is yet to get a major Asian LAN title. Yes, that's a fact: While we have won recent awards in different titles such as Dota 2, Hearthstone and even CrossFire, we are yet to repeat our performance in the past.
These are just some of the issues that need to be addressed in relation to the Philippine Counter-Strike scene.
If we are to make Philippine Counter-Strike relevant in Asia, everyone should take part in improving it. From the spectators to the big organizations out there, everyone has a role to play.
It’s not for the glamor or the bucks that come with it.
It’s for the game that we all love.
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 :)