MSU online game club explodes in popularity


Montana State University’s club Hivemind has grown over 500 members in 2016. Hivemind maintains MSU electronic sports (E-sports) team for the game “League of Legends.”

“League of Legends” is a multiplayer online battle arena, where two- to five-player teams oppose each other in a forested arena fight to destroy the opposing team’s base.

In the online game, each player selects their own champion to enter the arena with. The player sees the champion and the surrounding area on their computer screen and has the option to move the camera around to the rest of the arena.

“League of Legends” is played through a selection of 129 characters called champions. However, “League of Legends,” started with only 40 champions in 2009 on the game’s launch date, according to Riot Game’s “League of Legends” time line. The growth of the champion selection is growing as quickly as the E-sports scene.

As the E-sports industry grows, what was originally a small community in Montana, has grown. The game producer of “League of Legends”, Riot Games, has produced a short documentary with Freestyle Film to document the growing E-sports scenes in college called “University in League of Legends”, which was released at the beginning of 2016.

According to Michael Young, an MSU Hivemind Officer in the documentary, said that “it costs about $800” to run the Hivemind local area network (LAN) event Battle Under the Mountains, from last year.

According to Kyle Hale, there is “an average attendance of 100 plus people” during the Battle Under the Mountains LAN event.

During the documentary, Young shows the time that is put into the LAN event, that goes along side with Battle Under the Mountains, runs for 30 hours straight in MSU’s ballrooms.

According to Kyle Hale, “It was a group effort with all of the officers” in order to grow the club from 30 LAN members and 100 Facebook members to over 500 Facebook members combined since 2013, when Kyle joined Hivemind. Also, during MSU’s Catapoloza event, Kyle said that, with the help of fellow members Tyler Katzman and Blake Mickatavage, “We added about 150 people” to the Facebook page, “which was a huge jump.”

Hivemind is growing at great speeds, just like the rest of the E-sports industry. According to PCGamer Magazine, “the esports market value is expected to grow by 43 percent this year, from $325 million last year to $463 million in 2016, and to break $1 billion by 2019.”

– Edited by Jarrod Plant

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