The ESNLA

As the Xbox One official release of Smite comes even closer, the competitive scene is continuing to grow. Luckily the ESNLA (eSports National League Association) has taken it upon themselves to host the provisional “SPL” for the Xbox One. The ESNLA currently hosts a two tiered league with a Premier League who boasts the top teams like: eGr, JIU, Mortality eSports and eLevate Gaming. While the Challenger Cup hosts teams like: BittersweetGG, InterstellarGG and Fear Complex. While the competition in both leagues are obviously separated, the talent pool is still pretty wide as in multiple third party tournaments, Challenger cup teams have found themselves winning games against Premier league sides.

Hi-Rez should in time be taking over the reign of hosting competitive Xbox Smite but for the time being the ESNLA will be holding onto the reins. To find out more about the ESNLA and what we can expect in the debut season and the future, I sat down with ESNLA CEO and Owner Grant and asked him a few questions.

You’ve managed to capture the beginning of the Xbox competitive scene for Smite. How exactly did you manage to get all of these teams interested in your league and keeping everything at a competitive level?

“When Smite was in Alpha, my partner Nathan did it all on his own. He helped teams find each other and build themselves. He would do anything and everything to help the players get ready to compete. When he announced his league we at ESNLA decided it was time to step in. He already by himself had managed to get some of the best teams in the world in his league already, we just brought him structure and organization”

The structure and organization that ESNLA was able to give is unreal and has really done a great job of replicating what Hi-Rez currently is doing for the Smite Pro League on PC. The Premier League consists of eight teams just like the PC version. The top six teams in the end of the season in the Premier League will advance to the playoffs with the top two teams having a bye. The bottom two teams left will compete for their spot in the Premier League against the top Challenger teams at the end of the season.

Here’s a link for the complete season of ESNLA Premier and Challenger.

The most amazing part about everything to do with the ESNLA is that they are managing to do all of the work themselves. Since they have absolutely no direct partnership with Smite itself they are required to do all of the work related to the league manually. I asked Grant how exactly all of that has impacted the work at ESNLA.

“Yes, it’s currently all manual. With all the changes in meta coming up, as well as the fact that all in all this is a new game, an automated system would prevent us from being able to make the calls that we do now. Most of these calls are not too huge but they are the small things that make the difference between good and great. These calls include roster changes, teams being picked up by organizations and scheduling.”

I tried to pester Grant for some inside information about competitions they could be hosting exclusively or that could be hosted by Hi-Rez but he stated that he is not at liberty to currently to specify much detail. But assured me that organizations ability to play in competitions will never be hindered by lack of ability to travel in any sorts.

The most interesting thing that the ESNLA has brought to competitive Smite on Xbox so far in my opinion is that of Pro Marks which teams can earn by playing in ESNLA hosted competitions. Grant filled me in more about how Pro Marks work and the impact they will have in the future.

“Basically by entering our Pro marks tournaments, players gain experience, which then helps them get better seeding in other tournaments. The more points you have, the better seed you will get. While this may not be such a huge factor in our week to week competitions. This will be absolutely crucial for our Major Tournaments.

And lastly, I really wanted to know what if any involvement Hi-Rez has had with ESNLA.

“We have been in conversation with them, but again not at liberty to discuss that. Hi-Rez is a really smart company ran by really smart people. They are promoting everyone for the sake of growth. They have shown us amazing support so far and we are grateful.”

Of course everyone wants to know if ESNLA will have any impact on the ability to qualify for the $150,000 Smite Xbox World Championships. While Grant wasn’t able to give me an answer for that, don’t be surprised if it could give you a better shot seeing as Hi-Rez is currently using another third party source for the first qualifying spot to the exclusive invitational.

That is all on the ESNLA for now! Go check out their site for more information on leagues and upcoming tournaments at www.esnla.com/smite as well as give them a follow on twitter @esnlasmite