Parsa Baghai, a UCI senior in computer science, is captain of the Dream Eaters. Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

UCI is fielding a team of computer gamers to compete in this year’s Heroes of the Dorm tournament, starting today. The UCI Dream Eaters are the top-seeded squad among 64 bracketed opponents who will play in elimination rounds leading up to the finals, to be held May 12 at Blizzard Arena in Burbank. Teams of five will face their competitors in “Heroes of the Storm,” Blizzard Entertainment’s multiplayer online battle arena game. Boasting the biggest prize pool in college esports, the tournament will award the champions three years of tuition, up to $75,000 total. Dream Eaters captain Parsa Baghai, a senior in computer science, said the squad gathers in UCI’s Esports Arena for regular practice sessions. “All teams practice together, but what sets us apart from the others is the amount of time and resources we invest in researching our opponents,” he said. “We also put a lot of emphasis on reviewing our own past matches and practice sessions.” To further sharpen the Dream Eaters’ competitive edge, UCI’s esports organization has hired professional gamer Eugene Tseng to coach the team through the finals. Tseng was on the 2017 Heroes of the Dorm championship team from the University of Texas at Arlington. “Having a coach amplifies the learning process significantly,” Baghai said. “He condenses a lot of important information from practices, and he’s able to give us a different perspective of the game at a higher level.”