Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) has opened registrations for gamers of all ages to qualify for the 2009 online gaming league so that they can compete against other gamers overseas.
The MSSA online gaming league is the only officially recognised national league in the country whose members can participate against overseas competitors and get accredited.
Colin Webster, president of the MSSA, says: “The aim of the MSSA online league is to provide an official top-of-the-line competitive league to all gamers who have access to online gaming.”
The qualification trials to enter the online gaming league will consist of two rounds as opposed to last year's three. Webster says the MSSA found a three-leg process was too long and intensive.
According to Webster, any player can enter the first leg. He notes that the first leg is deemed to be the same status as playing in a provincial championship. Of those players who participate in the first round, the players may qualify to go on to the second round. This, notes Webster, is the equivalent of playing in a national championship.The first leg will run over five weeks from 16 February to 22 March at the Old Edwardians Sports Club in Houghton. The second leg will run from 6 April to 19 May.
Medals will be awarded to competitors within three categories: premier, university and high school.
The PC games that will be played in the online league include Counter Strike 1.6, DotA – Allstars, Team Fortress 2, Quake 3, Call of Duty 4, Call of Duty: World at War, Starcraft, Trackmania: Nations Forever and Red Alert 3. Gears of War 2 and Guitar Hero will be played on the Xbox 360.
Webster is positive about this year's league: “There were 247 players who participated in the 2008 online league. Judging by the positive responses that we have had this year, I think the number of players will increase exponentially on those that participated last year.”
Competitors that come in the top 50% of both the first and second leg or win all their games in the first leg will be eligible for provincial colours.
If a player wins all their games in the second round, they will automatically be awarded National Federation Colours.
Players that finish in the top 20% will qualify for national team trials. They can then compete in the national trials and qualify for official team selection and Protea colours.
Once players have qualified in both legs, they will join the online gaming league. They will then be able to participate in official local and international gaming championships, such as the African Continental Championships.
“The African Continental Championships is an event owned by the International Wargames Federation (IWF) to which the MSSA is affiliated. As member of the IWF, the MSSA is entitled to bid to host such an event. The online league is owned by the MSSA and through it players are able to earn provincial colours and earn a position in the national team trials. Only players who play in national team trials may be selected for a national team,” says Webster.
Last year, the MSSA hosted the African Continental Championships, in which the 2008 online gaming league participated. Webster says the MSSA has this year submitted a bid to the IWF to host the African National Gaming Championships.
Webster says of last year's African Continental Championship: “It was highly successful and we managed to bring out Team SK from Sweden, which is the top team in the world for computer gaming. South African teams were able to share strategies with Team SK and it was a great opportunity to see how international teams play.”
He claims the MSSA is going strong and interest in competitive PC online gaming is increasing. “The MSSA is trying to get competitive PC gaming recognised into the Commonwealth Games and All Africa Games. The Beijing Olympics last year hosted the first mind games world tournament and it's important to promote the games and players. This year we are going to embark on a few projects, one of them being a schools league. We will also be starting our first provincial LAN championships.”
Webster says the MSSA currently has 10 teams registered from the 2008 online gaming league that have international exposure to compete in tournaments overseas. The online league hopes to improve and promote PC gaming by giving its players the opportunity to play against others from around the world and share gaming strategies.
The MSSA is a non-profit organisation and affiliate of the South African Confederation of Sport and Olympic Committee. It hosts and promotes historical figure games, board games and games played on PC, game consoles and cellphones. It strives to develop South African players to compete against the best gamers in the world.
Interested players can download and complete the MSSA registration form online.
The deadline for registration for the first leg is 8 February.
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