Raised in a family of medical professionals, Julian Lugod anticipated becoming one himself someday. Little did he know the impact that watching a League of Legends tournament at age 13 would make on his career aspirations.
When he first came to UNLV, Lugod saw flyers advertising the 8-bit Esports club and knew he had to join. Although he began his 8-bit journey as a member with a casual interest in playing video games, his fellow members showed him how much the esports community has to offer, and his passion for esports has steadily grown ever since, inspiring him to change his major and lead a team in the upcoming Mountain West Esports Showdown.
I was originally a nursing major with a secondary interest in esports. Somewhere along the way, though, as I got more and more involved in 8-bit, my path became clear. I realized I didn’t want to be a nurse; I wanted to work for a game developer after graduation—like Blizzard Entertainment, the creators of League of Legends.
I wanted to follow my passion.
It hasn’t been easy, but I broke away from my family’s tradition, switched majors, and have been busy proving that I can create a career for myself in the emerging world of esports ever since.
Since joining 8-bit in 2014, I’ve transitioned from a player to a member and now to a spectator, coach, and social media manager. As former vice president of the club and in my current roles, I’ve had the opportunity to organize and participate in numerous collegiate, local, and online esports tournaments.
Now, in a way that I never dreamed possible, I’m getting the chance to prove myself on a massive scale—as the captain for 8-bit’s Overwatch team in the inaugural Mountain West Esports Showdown against Boise State.
When you’re coaching and watching other people play versus playing yourself, you witness the glory others find in succeeding. And you experience another type of glory as the one managing it and helping to make it all happen. It’s a different type of pride than when you’re playing, but it’s pride nevertheless.
In preparation for the showdown, my team and I have nearly doubled our practice time. I’ve also doubled the hours per week that I spend spectating—offering advice, tips, and tricks to my teammates to help them succeed. We’ve also been practicing at Vegas LAN centers and participating in many local tournaments, getting as much experience in front of a live audience as we can before the Showdown.
Not many people realize this, but the prizes for some esports tournaments are scholarships—large ones, too. For example, if UNLV were to someday compete in and win first place in the Overwatch collegiate series in Tespa (formerly the Texas Esports Association but still the main collegiate branch for Blizzard), the prize money would be enough to cover two semesters’ worth of tuition for each player.
Although I am confident in my team’s abilities to beat Boise State in the Mountain West Showdown, I’m not taking any chances. I want my team to spend as much time playing together as possible to develop the synergy necessary to bring home the win—for UNLV, for 8-bit, and for all of our future careers.