Farming Simulator, the Esport
There are all kinds of variety in the ever growing industry that is Esports and with that we always seem to catch wind of new things. ...
In an industry where we tend to see all kinds of fast paced action pact shooters, strategic and high skill cap real time strategy games, and new takes on Battle Royales every other month, we find an Esports based on a game that takes a less futuristic approach to gaming. Farming Simulator is a game that really needs no explanation to understand, it is a game in which you play the part of a farmer, and farm the land. Simulators are known for many things and almost every person has actually played one form or another of a simulator. Many workplace orientations require you to run a program to learn some of the basics, OSHA regulated jobs especially. Games on facebook act a lot like simulators. Combine that with something most everyone has basic real world knowledge of and you get Farming Simulator.
Farming Simulator is just that, a farming sim. Sim games for anyone who doesn’t know are games in which you take over the part of some kind of real world job, in this case you start off as a farmer with very little and have to buy farming equipment, seeds, and different kinds of Tractors and Trucks. You can go a step further and build a barn, grainery, mill, the list goes on, if it has to do with modern farming, you can work on, with, or up to it. The difference between a Simulator game and other kinds of games is that generally there are no real plot lines, quests, or characters other than your own. It is important to remember that the basis of the game is to just play as long as you like and grind up until you have everything you could ever want, including the right layout and aesthetic to your farm.
At base level Farming Simulator is a game series, currently on Farming Simulator 2019, purchasable on many different platforms for $25 which is an extremely reasonable price for the quality of the graphics, content included and the replayability of the game. Getting started in the game isn’t too difficult with a tutorial and a large FAQ section included in the gameplay in case you needed any explanations or help along the way.
The trick to Farming Simulator being an Esport is that it has multiplayer functionality. This means that you can launch a server and play with your friends, creating one farm working together to get the work done or managing separate farms in the same scenario and comparing progress, farming methods, just playing the game together. This multiplayer functionality translates into the ability to create big servers with multiple plots of farmland and a large number of players.
The Esport itself revolves around competition, the competition is usually measured by whose farm has the most crop yield at the end of a time period. Three to five players join one team and everyone races other teams to create the most productive farm. There are some cases where the competition takes into account total money made, including purchased trucks and tractors, farming tools and equipment, plus the yield.
Some tournaments force players to start fresh with a couple bucks to get started while others offer a limited amount of tools and tractors for the players to race for and once they’re gone they’re gone. These tournaments can often be a bit more competitive but also a little less entertaining depending on the circumstances.
There are a lot of sponsors for Farming Simulator including a majority of the brands included in the game which helps to fuel the Esport scene Farming Simulator has. A lot of those brands also have a team that participates in the Farming Simulator League which is actually really interesting. Other games have teams that belong to traditional Esports Organizations and it really shows how connected Farming Simulator is to actual Farmers and Farming Brands.
Farming Simulator benefits from the idea of farming and using real world farming tools and even brands from different parts of the world that are actually related to farming from John Deere to Lemken and Stara. Because of this, the average age of players is higher than most other games, and Esports out there. Some of the professional players are on the younger side, but most are in their mid 30’s and the biggest fans of the game and Esports are people who are farmers themselves.
The main reason this video game draws in older age groups is because unlike other sims, this one takes a more hands on approach, while building things is as easy as buying them from a menu and placing it on the ground, you still have to place each object, cultivate the land, and take care of your crops one at a time or by using the appropriate tools to increase productivity. Time in game is sped up to accommodate the fact that it is a video game but compared to most other games the process is still rather long and tedious. This is as close to realistic farming as you can get in a video game and the convenience of it all attracts those in the farming industry and kids who like trucks and tractors easily.
There are a surprisingly great number of tournaments for Farming Simulator, especially some at higher profile events such as Dreamhack Leipzig and IEM Katowice! The tournaments and prize pools are relatively small but at the same time a rather impressive amount considering the fact that they are a rather unknown Esport. There is a Farming Simulator league that boasts a $250,000 prize pool over the course of all the tournaments but the majority of that prize pool is saved for Farmcon. As it gets later into 2020, a lot of tournaments have already been played but in 2019 there were still a lot of tournaments held that aren’t yet listed for the 2020 year. Let's list off of the remaining Farming Simulator tournaments here.
May 16th - 17th; Third Online Farming Simulator Tournaments. Prize Pool of 12,000 Euros
July 16th - 19th; Farmcon 2020 (digital audience) Prize Pool of 100,000 Euros
As mentioned before there were more tournaments held after July but due to the current goings on in the world they haven’t announced anything further although we should expect updates to come sometime during or after Farmcon.
Some of these tournaments include Gamescon and the Zurich Game Show. These tournaments also had a 12,000 Euro Prize Pool and that seems to be a common thing in a majority of the FSL tournaments. They utilized Online Tournaments prior to the events of COVID-19 which could allow for a lot more tournaments at a time where we don’t know if every tournament will be held for other Esports.
The Farming Simulator League is the official Farming Simulator Esport Tournament League, they work the same as any other Esport League and arguably have some of the best organization of any of them. There are two tiers to the teams with a total of 20 teams that participate in events at any given time, Seeded being the more solid and known teams and Wildcard who are unproven or lesser known squads.
These of course are just the current teams and players participating in this year's FSL, there is always the opportunity for some to drop or move on to the Seeded teams and new teams can always find their way to the Wildcard teams. There are also a few other teams that can get into the tournaments via the Play-In stage.
Teams gain a spot in the standings by participating in the tournaments year round, their placement in those tournaments giving them Circuit Points along with their share of the Prize Pool. Trelleborg have steamrolled this year so far grabbing 8 first place finishes, 1 second place finish, and 1 fourth place finish with everyone else failing to get into a final except for John Deere with 2 first place finishes and Krone with a solitary first place finish.
There is a distinct difference in playing Farming Simulator, and playing professional Farming Simulator. When it comes to playing Farming Simulator in a professional setting there tends to be a lot more rules in place to keep things competitive that you wouldn’t find playing casually, as well as a huge difference in the map. We will go over a little of both worlds in this section.
As mentioned before there are many real life vehicles and tools used to get the farming work done and while you are free to use whatever you can afford whilst playing on your own, in a competitive match there are a set few vehicles available as well as a Ban phase that limits the teams in their available vehicles. This is one of the things that makes Farming Simulator especially exciting to watch and plays a part in the competitiveness of the matches
There are some other tournament formats that are used in smaller events but those games offer a lot more freedom and are typically less competitive. Playing on your own for fun is only limited by what you can afford and how long you allow yourself to play the game. The game mechanics generally are the same throughout with the exception of the Boost Drone in competitive, as well as the absolute necessary speed and precision required of the pro players to play under the 15 minute time window.
For more information on how to play Farming Simulator be sure to be on the lookout for our series of guides for Farming Simulator!
Watching the FSL is actually really simple, you can find their live matches and VODS in here for English or German direct from the FSL Site or on Twitch in English in here or YouTube in German in here. They often stream the FSL Scrims as well which offers many more opportunities to see how the games work and also judge the teams abilities in the current format.
Most of the Tournaments are held as 1v1 Single Elimination Brackets where each team is given a plot of land that they have to cultivate as much as they can from it in 15 minutes. This means that there is quite a lot going on but it is still relatively simple to figure out.
Essentially, teams are harvesting straw bales and wheat grain, you get 10 points per bale cultivated and transported from the field to the shed. After some time has passed each team gets a drone that drops boosts to your points per bale as well as points per grain offloaded to the grain conveyor. The boosts are essential to winning, and the multiplier is affected by the deposited Bales and Grain.
You are watching along with two shoutcasters that help to explain everything going on and add a little bit of hype to the match as well. This is common in many different Esports and works really well for Farming Simulator.
For more information on how to watch Farming Simulator make sure to keep a look out for our Farming Simulator Viewer Guide coming in the near future!
One of the most integral features for any Esport is the ability to bet on it. A lot of what made the Esports Industry what it is today is the impact that the money brought in, and taken out, by gambling was able to produce. As is with most Esports, you can bet on Farming Simulator, and right now, with Trelleborg, John Deere, and Krone stomping out the competition, we encourage it.
Currently our pick for betting on Farming Simulator is Bet365 as they are one of the few operators that offer Farming Simulator as well as great odds! Make sure to check out our Operator Review for them () and keep a lookout for our Farming Simulator Betting Guides!
To some people this is going to be a taboo even within the Esports Industry, who is often ostracized by many of the other communities out there. Farming Simulator can serve as one of the games that unites the two worlds and offers entertainment to many in these times where we don’t have many other tournaments going on, whether it be traditional sports or Esports. With a prize pool of $250,000 for the year, which is where Hearthstone was only a few short years ago, we can expect this Esport to only grow as well, as it is a decently sized prize pool with plenty of Tournaments spread out throughout the year.
The game is quality on its own and the pro scene offers some interesting game mechanics for any pro setting which has all its own merits. It is also one of the easiest Esports to get into and understand because everything in the game revolves around something a majority of people have seen or learned about in their lifetime.
Is it the most action packed thriller with laser beams and 100 characters with 7 different abilities each? No, is it a grand strategy game with 15 different types of units and ultra high definition graphics? Also no. It is plain ol’ farming, with a competitive edge that simply, is way more fun and interesting than one may originally think. It is very worth it to consider picking up a free time kind of game, or just tuning in when tournaments are happening to get a better feel and appreciation for the game.
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