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Splatoon 2’s focus on teamwork makes it better for esports

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Nintendo really wants Splatoon 2 to work as an esports title. Everyone is jumping onto the esports craze, and Splatoon is unique in its ability to appeal to a young audience of gamers, while also being deeply strategic and workable as an esports title. I’m still convinced ARMS would be a better choice for esports, but that’s another story.

The Pro Splatoon players have had a week with the new installment of the game now, and shared some of their thoughts with Kotaku. According to US squad Deadbeat, Splatoon 2 fixes a lot of issues from the first title, as the sequel feels more team-based rather than reliant on individual skill. Instead of individual player specials like Kraken, the team-based ones like Tentamissiles or Ink Armor are more useful. Angela “Bickibird” Scott, who plays for Blue-Ringed Octolings or BRO, explained that the changes to special abilities have changed things dramatically:

“One major thing is there’s no invincibility specials anymore, so that changes the dynamics of the game a lot,” said Scott. “The specials have all been replaced entirely, none of the original specials from Splatoon 1 are in this new game, so everyone is off to a fresh start.”

What I find particularly intriguing is the issue of controls. I wasn’t a big fan of motion controls in Splatoon, but apparently they are pretty great in Splatoon 2. In fact, all the pros agreed that motion controls were best and that every top player uses them.

“With sticks it’s the time,” said Madison “Madi-Kuma” Henderson. “Even if you have the sensitivity up the time you have to move and focus on your enemy is too long.” Her teammate Bevan “SpongeBev” Davis adds more: “It also takes advantage of the limitations of the controller, because unless you hold it in a weird way, you can’t reset the reticle and jump at the same time.”

It’s pretty cool and adds even more spectator value to Splatoon 2 as an esport. Instead of just watching gameplay and seeing players seeingly sitting still with only minor movements as they play, Splatoon 2 players will be using motion controls and being a bit more interesting to observe.

Splatoon 2 is a unique esport as well because it is so different from normal shooters. Actually being somewhere doesn’t meant that you have control of the area, as you need to paint it first. As a result, players can take up more specific roles on their team. As one pro player explains:,/p>

There’s objectives, there’s map control, there’s different things,” said Henderson. “So some players, aggressive players, they go in for the kills. Other players are objective players, they push towers. Then you have support players who might ink the map up. So if you can find that area that you feel you’re excelling at the best, then go with that and train yourself more in that area, focus on that.

While I initially scoffed at the idea of Splatoon 2 as an esport, hearing the pros describe it makes it instantly more interesting. It will have great spectator value, be pretty easy for newcomers to follow, and it’s just such a cool, fun, unique game. Here’s hoping it gets the buy in from players and leagues – I’d love to watch some serious Platoon 2 gaming going forward.

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Last Updated: July 28, 2017

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