Tired of randomness deciding your Hearthstone matches? Sick of your CS:GO matches being decided in a matter of seconds? Can’t follow what’s going in in League of Legends? Well, do I have an e-sport for you. It’s an e-sport that has a lot in common with traditional sports, reducing randomness and focusing on nothing but the skill of its competitors. I’m talking, of course, about Supergiant’s new masterpiece, Pyre.
“Pyre!?” you may ask. “That indie storytelling game about exiles in the underworld? How could that possibly be an e-sport?”
Well, first of all, if you are asking these questions you haven’t played Pyre yet, and that’s a crime worthy of banishment. Second of all, Pyre encapsulates everything a good e-sport is, and I’ll attempt to prove that in this article.
A good e-sport needs to be, first and foremost, a test of skill, not a test of luck. Pyre is just that. Its many arenas are built to be non-random. There are no hazards that suddenly kill you, no pitfalls that will give the opponent an overwhelming advantage. Few character skills and items are based on random chance, and those that are don’t drastically change the playing field. You can be certain that the winner of a Pyre match is the player that played the hardest and smartest.
While Pyre may not be as popular as, say, Hearthstone or CS:GO, it’s undeniable that Pyre and all of Supergiant’s games have a huge fan following. This RPG oriented fanbase is one that is largely untapped in the world of e-sports. Holding competitions for Pyre would bring in a ton of new spectators, and new e-sports talent as well. There are a bunch of competent Pyreplayers perfecting their strategies that we don’t even know about.
It’s Easy To Follow
One of the big weaknesses of e-sports is the complexity of e-sport games. It makes it hard to follow the action if you aren’t already a gamer. Pyre, however, could not be simpler. Get the ball into the goal. That’s it. It’s as simple as any other sport that involves getting a ball into a goal. Sure, there are plenty of complexities in the nitty-gritty of the mechanics, but that’s what commentators need to explain. Spectators just need to know that any given Pyre team needs to defend their goal and attack the opponent’s.
It’s Incredibly Deep
Simple to learn and hard to master is the e-sport rule, and Pyre fits that description perfectly. While all you have to do is get the ball into the goal, there are tons of intricate mechanics that allow you to build complex strategies. There are nine character classes and multiple characters to choose from in each class, each with their own unique abilities. Team composition alone is a huge part of Pyre’s strategy. Then there is stamina management, aura casting, special ability usage, ranged goals, and, of course, managing the one man disadvantage you are put at after scoring a goal.
It’s Flashy And Exciting
Pyre is just a treat to spectate. It has its own fantastic soundtrack which warps and changes depending on who is winning and who is in possession of the orb. Goals are punctuated with explosions from the opponent’s pyre. Heck, it even comes with its very own hype man who talks up the game in each match.
It Requires Little Specialized Equipment
Unlike many modern day e-sports, Pyre can run on a toaster. You don’t need a special controller to play it. You don’t need an ancient monitor. You don’t need anything but the simplest laptop, a keyboard, and a mouse (although the game does work better with two controllers, but it’s not necessary). E-sports get incredibly popular when people feel like they can play the game as well. Well, Pyre is a title that just about anyone can play with very little effort.
It’s also a title that you can play with very little investment. Pyre is cheap compared to many other e-sports. It’s only twenty dollars. Overwatch is 40 dollars and, while some e-sports are free, they make most of their money off of microtransactions. Pyre has none of that, just a single purchase and all the content is yours.
One of the reasons that Smash Bros. became a popular e-sport was its customizability, with players being able to turn items off and limit the stages they are playing on. Pyre allows you to do the same. While the option to use items and level up your characters to maximum is there, you can also turn all of this off and use recommended gear loadouts for a more balanced experience.
It’s Great At Building And Releasing Tension
There is a certain curve of engagement for good e-sports. Conflict builds to a thrilling climax, and then that tension releases. This is the same curve that normal sports have. For example, basketball starts very neutral, with a team at the other end of the court, and as teams become clustered together around the basket, tension builds until someone takes a shot and the whole process starts all over again. The same is true for soccer, hockey, and basically any other goal-oriented sport. Pyre has the same curve as these sports. Players begin by trying to get an advantageous position, banishing their opponents if able, then they make a dash for the orb, pass it to their attacker, and try to drive it into the opponent’s goal.
It’s Different From Every Other E-Sport In The Scene
Finally, we have the most important reason Pyre should be the next big e-sport. It’s very unique. At this point, shooters and MOBAs sit on the e-sports throne. Collectible card games, sports games, and fighting games all have their own communities, but do not hold a candle to the monoliths that are League of Legends and Counter-Strike.
But Pyre is different. Pyre doesn’t feel like any other games we have played. It’s kind of a sports game but also kind of an RPG and kind of a fighting game. It’s unique, and it’s usually this uniqueness that sells an audience on a new e-sports craze.