Smite. Smite. Smite. (I have typed that word too many times and now it looks unfamiliar and strange). Let's talk $2.6 million prize pools instead of typing single words repeatedly.
Smite is that god-themed over-the-shoulder MOBA from Hi-Rez I was talking about enthusiastically in our end of year awards.
It plays similarly to Dota and League of Legends in that you have two teams of five players each trying to shove their way along the map's three lanes and into the enemy base. You can make use of the camps of minions which spawn in the jungle to gain particular buffs and there are also beefier minions - the Gold Fury and Fire Giant which grant bigger buffs but are more risky to take down (think Dragon and Baron in LoL or Roshan in Dota).
The differences include the fact that the game is played from an over-the-shoulder third person perspective, more like a third-person shooter, and that it's reliant on aimed attacks - basically everything is a skillshot. The easiest way I've found to describe it is it's like playing the Jumanji version of League of Legends where you're down on the map with your character.
The Smite World Championship is the culmination of the game's first official competitive season of play and has a prize pool currently teetering on the brink of $2.6 million.
The prize pool itself echoes Valve's successes with Dota 2 and The International's last two multimillion dollar prize pools which were achieved largely through community contributions via a digital booklet called The Compendium.
Smite's version is The Odyssey - a series of items available for purchase in-game in the run up to the tournament where a proportion of the money which was spent on those items fed into the prize fund.
In terms of how that breaks down for players:
Speaking of players, here are the teams participating:
EU: Titan (formerly Aquila, formerly Agilitas)
EU: SK Gaming
NA: Cognitive Red
NA: Cognitive Prime
Latin America: Name Not Found
Brazil: We Love Bacon
CN: Daoge Is Dog
You can find out a bit more about both the EU teams via our Regionals feature - suffice to say Titan had a true underdog victory tale while SK have a reputation for pulling great play out of the bag when it comes to LAN events.
Cognitive has two teams in the contest (it was nearly three as Titan were briefly sponsored by Cog). Red is - on average - the youngest team in the contest. They're being seeded higher than their sister team Prime after beating the latter in the NA Championship. In fact, Red are being tipped as the ones to watch for the whole contest.
In terms of China the teams are considered more of an unknown quantity as the game has a far younger competitive scene in the region - Daoge Is Dog are probably the stronger of the two teams and it'll be interesting to see how OMG fare as they need to play with a handful of standins.
Latin America is being represented by Name Not Found - formerly known as Old Partners. They're one of the newer teams to Smite in terms of professional experience. We Love Bacon are the Brazilian side and, conversely, come with a wealth of time with the game and come to the World Championships off the back of a strong performance in their regional scene.
We'll be doing daily roundups here but you can also see the matches as they happen from 11:30 EST on Twitch.