League of Legends history, current phenomena, and the future
If you’ve never heard of League of Legends, then you’ve missed the evolution of the most prestigious eSports title in the world. League of Legends is very popular and have been added to the portfolio of many renowned bookmakers years ago. In 2009, League of Legends was released by game maker Riot.
In 2016, the record amount of $ 11 million in prize money was made available and currently, the title host over 1000 million players. These numbers prove the potential of this game and also highlights how much glory it has attracted in such a short time. The success of the title can be attributed to the game’s chief developer Tom “Zileas” Cadwell. Not only is he the father of League of Legends, but he was also amongst the lead developers of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft.
League of Legends is a fast-paced, competitive online game that blends the speed and intensity of an RTS with RPG elements. Two teams of powerful champions, each with a unique design and playstyle, battle head-to-head across multiple battlefields and game modes.leagueoflegends.com
League of Legends – The Game
League of Legends, short LoL, is based on a fun game mode of the game Warcraft 3, which was developed by Blizzard. Each player controls one of many characters or champions, each with unique abilities and skills. The object of the game is to gain gold by destroying computer-controlled units of the opponent or the minions, in order to ultimately destroy their base. After this mode became very popular, several companies adopted this concept and developed their own games based on this fundamental principle. In 2009, Riot Games released the game League of Legends, which is now one of the best known and most popular Esports titles.
In LoL 10 players are distributed into two teams. Before the start of the game, the teams take turns picking their desired champions to play the game with. There are now over 125 different champions, which makes the game very difficult in terms of tactics and dynamics. The champions have different classes, such as mages, shooters, fighters, supports, and assassins, who take on different roles in the team.
The map is divided into three lanes, on which so-called Minions (PC controlled units) appear regularly. At the start of the game, the players are distributed in these lanes and face their opponents. As the game progresses, the teams fight over objectives such as towers or neutral monsters spread across the map. The team that first destroys the enemy base, also called Nexus, wins the game.
Marking the fields
Typically, one player is the toplaner and occupies the top lane, one player is midlaner and occupies the middle lane, two players, the ad carry and the support, occupy the bottom lane and the last player is the jungler who moves between the lanes to gank the opposition. Killing players, neutral monsters, or the minions of the opposing team will give you experience on the one hand, and gold on the other.
You can use the gold to buy items that make your champion stronger After gaining a lot of experience, the character climbs to last level, 18. There are also two “bosslike” neutral monsters on the map, the Dragon and the Baron, who buff the abilities of the team for a certain number of minutes. In summary, two teams of five players face each other in the battle for the opposing nexus (usually a game last for 20-60 minutes).
Although the same map is played every time, the games are always unique due to the high variability of champions. It requires teamwork, individual skills, high in-depth knowledge and hours of training to be successful in LoL. By adding new champions as well as introducing changes to the already existing champions, the meta of the title continues to change and it is crucial for the long life and popularity of the game.
League of Legends – Esports scene
While in the first two seasons we had simple knockout tournaments. In 2013 Riot introduced, a real league system. These leagues have been divided into the regions Europe, North America, China, Taiwan, and South Korea. Their establishment laid down the foundation of LoL Esports scene.
Meanwhile, there are also third-party leagues operating in multiple regions and their number increases from year to year. For example, in Europe, there is a so-called LEC. In this league, ten teams fight for the title of Europe. The league organized by Riot take place across the year one in Summer, The Summer Split, the other one in Winter, The Winter Split. In addition to this league process, there are also international tournaments, such as the Intel Extreme Masters. The main events are organized by RIOT itself. These include the All-Stars tournament, MSI and the popular Worlds.
League of Legends has established itself as a spectator sport and the number of enthusiasts has increased steadily in recent years. It is popular in every region across the globe and it refuses to decline. The matches of the European League (LEC) playoffs 2019 were played in Germany and Netherlands and the finals of Worlds 2018 was broadcasted live on renowned televisions platforms.
Incredible 200 million viewers people around the world watched the finals of the last Worlds and more spectators are expected in 2019. Even the prize pool of 6.7 million US dollars shows the rise of the title. In the Esports scene of LoL, well-known organizations such as Fnatic, G2 Esports and Invictus Gaming continue to amaze us. The true passion of the LoL lies in South Korea. On the international level, the Korean teams have dominated the Esports scene for years and South Korea has won the most Worlds titles.
The South Korean team SKT T1 should be known to every esports fan. In 2013, the team has already won the World Cup. After a performance slump in the summer of 2014, the team missed the qualification for the Worlds. A year later, the organization brought together its two teams SKT T1 K and SKT T1 S and formed a new force. Thus, the team scored another world title in 2015 and also in 2016 SKT remained at the top of the world with a successful title defense. SKT T1 thus won three of the six world championship titles and is the most dominant team in the LoL Esports history. In 2018 after a dreadful season the team again missed out on Worlds qualification. Yet in 2019 they have won their league and will compete in the MSI 2019.
Fnatic is a European team that has been in existence since the first season and won the first World Championship title. Years later, the team remained at the top of the EU LCS and is the record title holder (7 LCS titles). On the international scale, Fnatic reached at two World Championships (2013 and 2015). Players like “xPeke” and “Rekkles” have been part of the scene for a long time and Fnatic has a big fanbase. In 2016, some players left the team, but the team continued to strive. With a newly formed team to superstar AD-Carry “Rekkles” Fnatic reached in the spring of 2017 3rd place. In 2018, they qualified for the final but couldn’t beat Invictus Gaming.
The North American organization TSM (Team Solomid) is a veteran of LoL-Esports. Like Fnatic since the first season and founded by LoL player, TSM is one of the scene’s most popular and well-known teams. With over six LCS titles, TSM is the most successful team in North America, but international success has not been achieved so far. At the Worlds, they are haven’t made their mark and are yet to reach the grand finale.
Who participates in the tournament?
Unlike World Championships in classic sports, no national teams compete against each other in the “Worlds”. The teams represent different regions and include players of multiple nationalities. The field of participants is dominated by the five main regions Korea, China, Europe, North America and Taiwan / Hong Kong / Macao, which together make up eleven of the 16 participants. In addition, there was a representative from Vietnam at the 2018 Worlds.
The other four places were secured in a preliminary round, called play-in-stage. Representatives from Brazil, Russia, Latin America, Japan, Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Turkey also participated here. In the end, however, four other qualifiers from the main regions prevailed.
Where does the tournament take place?
“eSports come home” this could have been the motto of the Worlds 2018. Korea was the first country in which eSports rose as a passion. After the play-in stage in Seoul, the Main Event of the tournament, the group stage, and the quarterfinals took place in Busan. The semi-finals were held in Gwangju before the finals in Incheon. Invictus Gaming has crowned the World Champion in the Munhak Stadium, built for the 2002 World Cup.
Already in 2014, the country hosted the tournament, with a final in the World Cup stadium in Seoul. Three times Los Angeles was the venue for Worlds with two finals at the Staples Center, home of the LA Lakers and LA Clippers. In 2016, Europe hosted the World Cup with a final in the Berlin Mercedes-Benz Arena. The 2017 world champion, Samsung Galaxy, won the in the national stadium of the Chinese capital Beijing, known as the “bird’s nest”.
The teams are divided into four groups of four participants and must compete against each group opponent twice. The two best teams in each group move to the quarterfinals. From there all games, including the final, is contested in a Best of Five series.
Who are the favorites?
The dominant region of League of Legends is Korea. Since 2013 to 2018, only Korean teams have won the title. The serial champions SK Telecom T1 were replaced by Samsung Galaxy in 2017. However, the World Champions were disbanded after the success as a team. Three-time SK T1 champion failed to qualify for the finals of 2018.
Favorites at the last’s year Worlds were the Chinese representatives Royal Never Give Up and KT Rolster from Korea. Afreeca Freecs and Gen.G eSports were rated as strong competitors. In addition to the representatives of the two dominant regions, Flash Wolves from Taiwan, the teams from Europe and North America are amongst the outsiders with very low title chances.
Who are the best players?
In the absence of SK Telecom T1 starring Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, the Chinese Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao of title contender Royal Never Give Up is considered by many experts to be the strongest player in the competition. Strong rivals in his position are “Deft” of KT Rolster and “Doublelift”, of Team Liquid.
The representative of the MOBA genre (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) is so popular that the world championship sponsored by developer Riot is one of the largest eSports events in the world. Like the World Cup, the World Championship fills several arenas. The venues are changing – just like at the football World Cup. In 2019, as in 2015, Europe will once again host the World Cup. The finale will take place in the AccorHotels Arena in Paris. In 2018, the “LoL” -WM took place from October 1 to November 3 in South Korea. World champion was the team Invictus from China. Total prize money for Season 8 was around $ 6.5 million.
The Future is bright for one of the most successful titles in eSports. Riot knows how to extend the game to new horizons. For the 2019 season, they started a franchise model for the LEC and NA LCS. The organizer signed new sponsors and recruited new organizations. There is hardly a bookmaker that doesn’t offer LoL since there are hundreds of competitions taking place around the globe. The athletes competing in the official league average $300,000 salary. So, figures like these assure us that the League of Legends will continue to dominate the competitive landscape of the eSports industry.