The Beginner’s Guide to Amateur Esports Recruitment
Starting your own esports organization can be an incredible experience, regardless of the game, the platform, or the level of play. It can also be a terrifying experience as well because where esports is new and exciting, it’s exactly that – new. With anything new, resources are not typically laid out for newcomers to make the learning experience easier. With this article, I hope to extend a helping hand to those looking to dip their toes into esports organization recruitment.
To provide some background on my experience, once upon a time I wanted to dip my toes in the terrifying ocean that is esports. My attempt started back in 2017/2018, despite the Challenger league coming to a close for North America’s LCS (now rebranded just the LCS). I joined an organization called Honor Esports, hoping to join as a League of Legends analyst. I didn’t have any previous experience in esports at all, but I understood an analysts role in the team and wanted to contribute. Both unfortunately and fortunately, Honor Esports did not have a League of Legends roster, and instead of my original role of analyst, I was asked to be the manager and form the team from the ground up. Who backs down from that? At the time my exposure to the amateur scene for any esport was very limited – I was aware that it existed, but I didn’t have the faintest clue on the inner workings of the scene. Thankfully the philosophy on how to recruit for your own esports’ organization remains mostly the same across the board.
I’ve started with Discord. It’s become a staple in any gaming atmosphere be it social or competitive. The platform is so effective, that every major esports team possesses their own, so why wouldn’t the amateur scene?
Discord has become one of the best sources for literally every staff member an amateur team could require, from managers to coaches, analysts to players. As mentioned previously, anyone who games is apart of Discord. Everyone has it because it’s so accessible. It’s effectively taken over for the bogging down and invasive Skype, and it’s so sleek too!
Below, I’ve listed the major discord servers I tracked down to aid you on your amateur organization journey:
Upsurge – Upsurge Esports runs both amateur League of Legends and Rainbow 6 leagues, and where my previous organization participates through. It’s a league I’ve had a ton of experience with some helpful members. I’d recommend checking their discord server out (listed at the bottom of their website) if these two games are your dig!
LoL Scrimmage Finder – Where Upsurge offers a small portion of the amateur scene’s capabilities, this server really cranks it up a notch as far as specific elos to scrimmage against, whether you want to be an organization accepting all players or are looking for the highest tier of competition.
UGC League – Where the Overwatch League has some strict rules as far as streaming tournaments during the days it broadcasts, this doesn’t seem to have stopped the UGC from running a successful amateur scene tournament. In its 10th season and paired with the Watchers Discord (links are in the UGC discord), it seems to have some great resources for players and staff alike.
Oversalt – Another contender for the Overwatch amateur scene, possessing a large community and running smaller tournaments for high and low elo players.
Overwatch Community Exchange – This is one of the cleanest discord servers I’ve seen to date, with the resources for whatever you’re after incredibly well laid out. A must join in my opinion for any aspiring member of the scene, whether it be an organization, writer, caster, anything! They also have a great and knowledgeable cast of moderators (Thanks again, Jugonaut!)
New Challenger – Where the other scenes are divided, the FGC (Fighting Game Community) stands united. Every type of game considered under the FGC under one discord server, with coaching and tournaments for every game listed. It is definitely the place to go if you’re after some new talent for your organization.
FN Pro League – Alright, so Fortnite, as we know, is kind of a big deal. They have multiple “scrimmage” servers set up, with many sporting above 200,000 people apart of them. I’ve only chosen to link one due to the degree of quality control that comes with massive servers. Yes, there are tons of members, but are you getting the quality player you want for your organization? Or are you going to be weeding through player after player? Where Epic runs everything internally on the weekends, it’s hard to nail down a good resource for Fortnite startups.
Amateur Team Dota League – ATDL is the premiere DotA 2 amateur scene discord in North America (and Southeast Asia!). Running a monthly tournament / group stage style with season finale tournament, they’re also your go-to channel for an amateur league tournament. With possessing both the best tournament and a hub for their amateur scene, there’s no better server to be apart of for amateur Dota 2 resources. Their mods are also incredibly helpful! (Shout out to Kedigori).
Discord servers provide a hub player and staff recruitment, online tournaments, and a great place to network with others in the amateur scene. You want to conduct yourself professionally when reaching out to players and staff alike, first impressions are everything. The last thing you want to do is just randomly tag someone in a Discord server. Reach out to them through direct messages, and make your pitch there. Many members of the amateur are typically teenagers to young adults, so where you might encounter some lack of professionalism (primarily due to lack of experience), separate yourself from the pack and remain professional.
If you are posting in these servers yourself, you’ll want to make your recruitment posts short and sweet, more of a hook than anything. Posting long-winded texts will get only skimmed over or not read at all.
If you don’t have a connection to these discord servers, Reddit is the next step you’ll want to take, where you can typically find these discord servers listed on the sidebars of the major subreddits.
Specific Game Subreddits
Reddit can be a cesspool for somethings, but a gold mine for others. Thankfully, most of the amateur esports subreddits are run by some of the most thankless people in the scene (Let’s be real, moderators get a lot of flak and are rarely thanked for what they do). They typically try their best to provide as many resources as possible for start-up organizations, teams, etc. They want to see their esport grow just as much as you want to be apart of them.
You may think that posting on the primary subreddits is the best way to recruit, but that is rarely the case. Places like r/leagueoflegends and r/Overwatch are huge social hubs, but amateur esports recruitment posts will get overlooked. Some even delete them because they do not allow recruiting. Instead, you’ll want to move to competitive focused subreddits, I’ll list several that I’m aware of:
r/teamredditteams – teamredditteams despite the wordy name is a great resource for League Of Legends player and staff finding. It’s well structured and laid out, and allows you to see what someone is after or offering in just the title alone.
r/OverwatchLFT – Unlike it’s League of Legends counterpart, OverwatchLFT cuts straight to the point and follows a similar style to teamredditteams – except for Overwatch.
r/R6STeams – This is Rainbow 6’s dedicated subreddit for the amateur scene. Although not one of the most active subreddits, it’s still worthwhile checking out if you’re trying to assemble a squad for your organization or like-minded individuals for your personal squad.
r/RecruitCS – Counter Strike Global Offensive’s subreddit set aside for amateur league recruitment. It should be noted they do not allow Discord server posting, only player names.
These subreddits also typically provide those elusive Discord links for the servers mentioned previously. Now, tracking down even these subreddits can be difficult. So if you can’t find these right off the bat? You go to the source.
Official Game Forums
You can treat the game forums similar to the recruitment style you would take on subreddit. Longer posts, well worded and structured, and really selling yourself and your organization. You can “bump” these posts, which will return them to the top of the forum list, but it is typically better practice to repost the original post after the previous one has fallen too far for anyone to notice.
Finally, there’s always one thing that is a clear representation of skill, which is…
Nothing shows a player’s win/loss streak, their climb to glory, their fall from grace, like the leaderboards. Now, this is something that hasn’t been provided to me previously by some of my mentors in the amateur scene of League of Legends. This is something I stumbled across and made my own – and managed to find some of my best players through this method (you all know who you are). This is something that is only possible in some games – due to how friends lists, adding players, etc. – but I found it incredibly effective. The method goes as such: You add the player, you hope the player accepts the friend request, explain that you have absolutely no clue who they are, and attempt to build the relationship from there, and feel out the conversation. Most players feel this is a personal experience, you went through the effort of reaching out to them and connecting them in an incredibly unorthodox way.
Honorable Mention: Twitter
Originally I was torn between adding a Twitter to something I’d consider a good way of recruiting players and staff. This is because player names and Twitter handles don’t always line up, and a good portion of players or staff don’t gravitate towards social media. You have better luck finding organizations vice the actual members. I don’t want to discredit Twitter entirely though, you do have a smaller and typically more social group of players and staff to draw from who use Twitter, and this can sometimes work to your advantage. More social members mean more networking opportunities, and that means more options for you and your organization.
When reaching out to players over Twitter, double check that their direct messages are in fact open. Where this isn’t common conduct for a lot of players and staff that are in the amateur scene, it is a possibility. If they are closed, don’t fret! There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to them in a normal tweet – this is probably their preferred method since their direct messages aren’t enable for non-mutual followers. When reaching out, don’t sound like a bot. You want to walk the fine line between being professional and personal at the same time. Mention some of their accolades, by first name (if it’s listed), or something else niche to the esport itself.
In conclusion, there are a variety of ways of conducting recruitment and it boils down to what works the best for you and your community. Some games may shy away from reddit completely and run on Twitter, and others may do the exact opposite. Below, I’ve provided as many resources as I can for each game to help you on your journey for recruiting for your esports organization.