The Branch Battle is a nationwide tournament among military installations in different video games. This year, the competition is based around the first-person shooter video game Counter Strike: Global Offensive, often shortened to CS:GO or just CS. It’s been one of the most popular games in the competitive gaming community since it was created at the turn of the century. Though there are several game modes, the general strategy of the game is two teams of five work to eliminate each other through the use of firearms, knives, bombs, and other in-game weapons.
Voltage Gaming, lead by Marine veteran Triggernometry, will be competing in the Semi-Finals this weekend against the base winners from Camp Pendleton, Nellis AFB, NAS North Island, Fort Campbell, Fort Hood, Elgin AFB/Hurlburt, Fort Bragg, Fort Benning and Fort Drum.
Alienware, a gaming hardware company, is the major sponsor of Branch Battles, with the tournament’s server hosting handled by Battlefy. If you’re looking to root on JBLM’s champions, both July 22nd's Semi-Finals and July 29th’s Grand Finals will be broadcasted live on the Alienware Twitch Channel, linked to here.
Voltage Gaming does need to make it through this weekend’s semis, but their eyes are already on the big prize, with Triggernometry telling us “I think we have a pretty good chance at winning it all.”
Seattle’s John Williams is the man behind the Gamertag Triggernometry and the head of the Voltage Gaming team as well as other projects that aim to foster the eSports world in the military community. He began playing CS way back when the game’s beta was released in 1999 and played as much as he could in groups like the Cyber Athletics League until he joined the service.
After 7 years in the Marines, Williams transitioned back into the competitive CS world. Much like most sports leagues, the CS gameplay competition schedules and tournaments are separated into seasons. He dove into the ultra-competitive scene a few seasons ago and has seen a ton of success since then. He’s played in the eSports Entertainment Association Leagues (ESEA League), where he got in contact with Voltage Gaming back when it was run under a different brand.
Voltage Gaming went through a transitional period and needed an experienced leader to head their eSports organization. Williams was ready for the position, bringing his personal CS:GO team aboard as he brought Voltage Gaming into a new era.
As far as the Branch Battles goes though, Williams’ is joined by just one other member of Voltage Gaming, Prod1gy. The rest of the tournament’s roster is made up of service members in the JBLM community.
Voltage Gaming doesn’t solely compete in CS:GO. They’ve got a three-headed attack, fielding teams for Call of Duty in addition to fighting games like Street Fighter and Tekken.
Aside from CS, Williams’ favorite games include Rocket League, Battlefield 1 and Black Desert Online. If you’re familiar with the games, they’re a pretty varied selection.
Williams believes eSports’ popularity in the military community is growing. “I think with this newer, younger generation of guys and girls going in [the service] have more of a connection with it than ever before, and there are more people that game than ever before.”
Coinciding with that statement is all of the projects Williams is currently part of that are aimed at satisfying and bolstering the interest in eSports that the military has.
“I actually just got brought onto part of another project in eSports,” Williams said, as he began describing the freshly-launched Warrior League. “We’re going to be doing something very similar to what we’re competing in this weekend.” Williams is part of a 4-person team at the helm of the Warrior League, which will be operating tournaments and events for the military community in a similar vein to the Branch Battles. Via Warrior League’s freshly launched Twitter account, it “strives to become the place to build competition, camaraderie, and community for all gamers who have served with the armed forces.”
Though Warrior League is just beginning its growth, they’ve landed a partnership with Twitch, the premier site for live-streaming of all sorts, but especially gaming. Twitch streamers receive over 100 million views a month in total. When the Warrior League streams, Twitch users will have the option to subscribe monthly to the channel. In addition to Twitch’s partnership, the Warrior League has gained attention on the military side too. Connections at the Department of Defense as well as the USO hope to serve as a great mouthpiece for the Warrior League to get the word out to their audience.
Rounding out Triggernometry’s trio of e-projects is the charitable Vets Play Live. In Williams’ words, Vets Play Live is “group of guys and girls trying to promote and stream for the sake of raising money for military-associated charities.” The streaming community offers money to streamers that they enjoy watching, and with established gamers and a great cause at the forefront of the project, it deserves great success. In the coming weeks, it’s a goal for the VPL team to do a 24-hour-straight streaming session to send all of the proceeds a military-focused charity of their choice.
eSports’ popularity continues to rise in and out of the military community. In addition to the massive attention it gets on sites like Twitch, it’s also covered on cable networks like ESPN. The nature of live-streaming services and online gaming offers live interaction and community without everyone having to be in one place.
Events like the Branch Battle and people like Triggernometry are continuing to provide a heartier, more involved connection for those in the military world to eSports. We’ve got a bunch of links below to check out if you’re interested, and stay tuned to the blog and our social pages for updates on JBLM and Voltage Gaming’s success in the coming weekends!