The project has been in the works for many years, and now the servers have officially been tested at the inaugural Hyperion x OEL Launch Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament.
16 teams from throughout APAC and Oceania competed in a double-elimination bracket event over four days for a share in the $17,500 USD prize pool.
OneQode’s Chief Product Officer Ben Cooper was pleased with the event’s outcome. “Overall, we were delighted that everything came together for the weekend, we know there were some rocky patches at the start, that was to be expected,” he told Snowball.
“We need to stress this was still just a beta test for us. This was the first time we were really putting some load on the network to see how it goes, and we will continue tuning and tweaking.BEN COOPER, ONEQODE CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER
“Our measurement of success is player feedback. The Australian teams were all very happy by the end [of the event]. They were playing between 60 and 80 [ping] and getting very stable connectivity through the servers, and the same went for the Shanghai Teams — they were very impressed.”
The event was not without its hiccups.
Teams distant from OneQode’s central Guam server, particularly Australia’s entrants, encountered early latency and connection issues that heavily impacted competition.
Vertex were the Australian team who made the deepest run at the event, ultimately losing to Mongolian runner-ups D13. Vertex’s most recent addition to the line-up, Tom “Apocdud” Henry, said the admins worked hard to level the playing field.
“It was actually really good by the last day. We were in direct contact with Ben Cooper after the first day. He asked what providers we were with and gave us ways to get a direct path to the servers. The changes they made overnight reduced our ping by about 50 each and made it stable,” he said.
“To be blunt, we knew there was a possibility it would be unplayable on day one, but on the last day when we played D13, our connection had improved and I had maybe 90 ping. It’s hard to be on top of your game on 90 ping, but it’s still very competitive and was very fun as well.”
For Oceanic teams, diversity in practice is increasingly an issue given the limited choice of opposition. Some teams will actively seek to avoid practice against their peers in scrims in order to keep strategies hidden until a given tournament.
However, with the pathway now open to fairly scrim teams across Asia, there’s more chances for Aussies to get good experience against high-level competition.
“I think it’s a really good opportunity and something we were immediately thinking about,” Apocdud explained.
“Scrimming in Australia right now is pretty rough if you’re not scrimming a team in the top five or six. So in the week before a big event we could now scrim against these APAC teams. The playstyles are obviously very different but you’re still getting good experience and the ping doesn’t matter since it’s just practice.”
2020 saw many offline events cancelled or moved to an online server, and while the same goes for 2021 in Oceania, the Hyperion x OEL Launch brought with it a breath of fresh air for teams, commentators and fans watching at home.
Commentator Jordan “Elfishguy” Mays said future events like this could lead to better competition not just in Australia, but in wider Asia.
“At this point there’s maybe three super competitive teams in ANZ, while in Asia there’s maybe two in TYLOO and Vici Gaming,” he said in a conversation with the OneQode team last year.
“If you put those two regions together, and they’re actually able to play together consistently, then there’s five really competitive teams who are able to compete on a regular basis. In theory that will only elevate the regional competition.”
With the Guam server an option, the Oceanic Counter-Strike scene could look to expand its potential for competition and practice.
While there is still a considerable amount of work to be done regarding server quality and consistency, the OEL Launch event has seeded the potential for future collaborations with Oceanic and APAC CS:GO.
“The ability for ANZ players to more realistically play against people in the Asian region…it’s something that has always happened, and something that will continue to happen, so why not make it better,” Elfishguy said.