It's that time of year again: Farming Simulator esports time. I wrote about the Farming Simulator League finals last year, just in case anyone wasn't aware there was an actual esport where players competitively harvest wheat and transport bales at breakneck speeds in the hopes of winning a €100,000 prize pool.
And once again I'm asking you to watch FSL because, genuinely, it's a lot of fun! Season 4 of Farming Simulator League kicked off last week as teams jockey to become the fastest virtual farmers and make it to the finals. Here are some recent highlights:
It really does feel like a sport, the way they play. There's a pick-and-ban phase where teams select their heroes (farming equipment) and abilities (farming buffs) and then two teams of three players go head-to-head to harvest, bale, and deliver as much wheat as possible to a barn (with a bonus for delivering grain to a silo as well). There's plenty of drama along the way, as players rush to claim equipment before their opponents can and leap from their tractors and harvesters to run around on foot to nab powerups. Those little farmers are always in a hurry!
One of my favorite parts of the sport is that the two teams compete on separate maps, but they can still have an effect on the other team's progress. If one team uses the bridge that leads to the barn, that same bridge goes up on the other team's map for a few seconds, forcing them to either use another path or try jumping the bridge before it rises too high. If you didn't think watching a tractor cross a bridge could make your heart leap into your throat, and if you've never watched in awe as someone flings a couple bales of wheat through the upper window of a barn, then you've never watched farming esports before.
You can find out more about Farming Simulator League (which uses Farming Simulator 19, by the way, not the newer Farming Simulator 22) at the official site, and check out the schedule of upcoming online tournaments here. Watch one! You won't be disappointed. You may even decide you want to put together a team and compete yourself.