I would love to be a fly on the wall for the planning meetings at Twitch Rivals. The livestreaming platform’s esports series keeps pushing the envelope into all sorts of weird and wonderful games and rulesets. Streamers have recently faced off in the arena modes of both Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering; they hosted two Apex Legends tournaments just one week after its release, and now they’ve branched out into competitive Stardew Valley.
Last week a host of streamers took to Pelican Town to go head to head in various challenges, including making the most money, catching all of the legendary fish, and completing the town hall’s collection bundles.
What exactly is the competitive Stardew Valley meta? Before the competition’s six-hour run began, some were speculating that teams would focus on specific objectives to get some money instead of splitting themselves thinly in an attempt to finish every single challenge.
But team Kappaross proved that that was unnecessary, simultaneously hitting the bottom of the mines first, donating almost everything to the museum, completing the most bundles, and making the most gold by a factor of almost three. That’s some serious farming.
Apparently, Kappaross put in four practice runs, so, while it might seem like a strange tournament, they were taking it seriously. And that dedication clearly paid off in the end, netting them over $15,000 (£11,400) in prize money.
Maybe it undermines the point of Stardew’s rural idyll to turn it into a game of ruthless efficiency, but it makes for an excellent show. And while Kappaross might have swept in the real categories, Lettuce Turnip The Beet came through in their pun game, which is clearly more important.
Next week, Twitch Rivals is hosting a Resident Evil 2 speedrunning contest, with 20 streamers competing to set the fastest run time, again over six hours. Filing speedrunning under esports feel weird too, though I don’t know why considering it’s basically the 100-metre hurdles to, say, the Overwatch League’s rugby.