At first glance, there seems to be very few similarities between esports and the U.S. military. One is born of 21st century technology, an exciting showcase of fantastical characters, special abilities, and fierce competition across digital arenas and battlegrounds. The other is as old as the country itself, with a rich history of tradition, honor, and real-life battles to protect and defend what we hold dear.

However, a closer look reveals that these two seemingly disparate institutions actually have a lot in common. And it is these similarities that UCI Esports and UCI Army ROTC hoped to capitalize during their special collaborative training event.

On April 8, 2021, UCI Esports trainers met with UCI ROTC leadership for a virtual cross-training meeting where each program got the opportunity to present a crash course in their respective battle tactics, leadership development, communication strategies, and other relevant topics. 

While this joint event may seem unprecedented, Mark Deppe, Director of UCI Esports, notes that there is a lot that the two programs can learn from each other:

“UCI ROTC brings battle experience, communication tactics, and field strategies to the table. I think that learning about the logic behind real-life military maneuvers will offer our trainers a fresh perspective that they can incorporate into gameplay and competitions. Additionally, the ROTC program is well-known for emphasizing  the importance of discipline, communication, and leadership. These are all admirable qualities that 100% cross over into esports.”

Similarly, Staff Sergeant Jamie Mrazek from UCI ROTC explains that there’s a significant amount of overlap between the programs and that these similarities make the collaboration mutually beneficial:

“In both the military and esports, trust and communication between team members is critical for success. We are excited to work with UCI Esports and learn how they communicate and strategize so efficiently. We believe that this partnership offers an interesting opportunity to explore different approaches to training that we can then incorporate into our cadet drills.”

Following the event, both UCI Esports and UCI ROTC reported that the meeting allowed them to discover many commonalities between how their programs discussed competition and battle. Additionally, program leaders walked away with new training ideas to consider. Moving forward, both Esports and ROTC hope to explore future opportunities to collaborate when UCI returns to in-person operations.

For more information on UCI Esports, visit their website here. For more information on UCI ROTC, check out their website here