Marsad Kabir, senior at UB and Computer Science major, has been a part of UB Esports since his Sophomore year, and currently plays for the varsity Valorant team during the regular season.
Even though balancing both academic and competitive schedules can be a challenge, Marsad has found a passionate and welcoming community of Esports players and fans alike at UB.
While Marsad had been a part of competitive Esports prior to joining the UB team, the culture around gaming on campus has been an inclusive and welcoming space.
“UB does a really good job of mixing the competitive side of every Esport, while also keeping the fanbase and the casual side of it together.” There are times to be competitive, but there are also plenty of opportunities to just enjoy gaming with friends on campus.
“People who aren’t on the team, their goal is just to have fun, maybe rank up in the game, and enjoy these UB events. People on the team, our goal is to win and beat other schools, and everyone supports each other no matter what you want.”
Many students already enjoy gaming as a way to take a break from their classwork, and Marsad has enjoyed seeing the both the virtual and in-person communities grow thanks to the opening of Level Up.
“The experience has been nothing but surreal, to be honest,” Marsad said. Having spent his first year playing remotely, being able to finally play in-person with his teammates in a brand-new space has been completely different.
“Meeting them in-person creates a whole different type of chemistry,” according to Marsad. “Our team has beaten teams that might be a lot better than us in terms of skill, but we practice in-person so our chemistry together, our trust with each other is better than any team I’ve ever seen.”
Since Level Up has opened, Marsad has seen people who had little experience with gaming step out of their comfort zone and take on gaming as a new hobby. It is a space that invites people to explore new games, either for the excitement of competition or for casual enjoyment.
Even prior to Level Up, Marsad said that UBIT has provided top-tier equipment for PC gaming. “We had this phrase called ‘The Hadley Buff,’” he said in reference to the former location for the Esports team in Hadley Hall.
UB students have access to some of the best gaming equipment out there, namely the dedicated Alienware gaming PCs, and it makes a world of difference in the way that some of the more fast-paced games run.
Marsad believes the free software options available from UB are also worth using as a student, not to mention the kind of computer help that you can get from UBIT’s Tech Squad. “If you have a passion for anything, UBIT definitely just allows you do it.”