A team of six Cal Poly Pomona students has made the national final four of the Heroes of the Dorm event on Saturday, May 12. Since late February, over 1,000 students from more than 300 universities across North American have been battling to win the grand prize: tuition for the rest of their collegiate careers.
The seven-member Pomona Ponies will be playing Blizzard Entertainment’s “Heroes of the Storm” against the University of Buffalo, the University of Kentucky and the Université Laval, the first Canadian team to ever qualify for the Heroic Four. The Ponies will face Buffalo in the semifinal, which will be broadcast live on twitch.tv/blizzheroes at 1 p.m.
Representing Cal Poly Pomona are:
- Andrew “Alterations” Koscal, a senior in mechanical engineering
- Steven “Artificious” Nguyen, a senior in computer engineering
- Hunter “ElCazador” Gaukel, a senior in computer science
- Joshua “Crabfish” Childers, a senior in physics
- Warren “Pally” Willis, a senior in computer information systems
- Matthew “loldotasotis” Moore, a senior in electrical engineering.
- Henry “MiniMuffinz” Richardson, a mechanical engineering junior, is the team manager and handles logistics.
The Ponies have competed in the Heroes of the Dorm competition every year since it began in 2015, and have consistently made the round of 32. Five members have played on the same team since freshman year when they lived the same residence hall, Alamitos.
This will be their first trip to the final four, and they attribute their higher level of success to Moore joining the team and also a change in the timing of the round of 64. For the last two years, the round of 64 occurred during winter quarter finals. This year, the round of 64 followed spring break, giving the Ponies quality time to practice.
What draws the students to Heroes of the Storm is the game map diversity and range of characters.
“The game has nine different maps in the competition pool, and each map requires a completely different strategy,” Moore explained. “In game play, you’re required to work together as a team to accomplish your goals, which makes it more enjoyable. You can’t really do well on your own.”
“The hero pool is also really fun,” he added. “As a standalone game, Heroes of the Storm doesn’t have any unique characters. So Blizzard Entertainment takes characters from their other games, like World of Warcraft, Diablo 3D, Starcraft and Overwatch, and adds them to Heroes or [Blizzard] might create a character from that other universe. … A lot of heroes can also be really unique, like Cho’Gall, a two-headed ogre that requires two people to play him.”
The company Activision/Blizzard is one of the largest gaming companies in the world, explained Richardson. “Heroes of the Storm is the crossover of all of their games, many of which have been revolutionary, like Warcraft and Starcraft.”
To learn more about the game Heroes of the Storm, visit https://heroesofthestorm.com/en-us/ or watch this explainer from a previous final, starting at 3:39. Viewers can participate in an online Heroes of the Dorm “Pick ‘Em” Challenge for the chance to win prizes.