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Volume 65 Number 2

The Ding Report: League of Legends

by David Ding - 2014-11-20


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Why is it that the Staples Center can be sold out in an hour and a half to a bunch of gamers? Why is it that people are willing to travel a few thousand miles to watch people play a game for 3 hours? This is the world of League of Legends; the game that is making history.

5 years ago, co-founders Brandon Beck and Marc Merill released the beta version of League of Legends, a high-paced multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA). Like all MOBAs, League of Legends contains a map or “arena” where two teams of five battle it out. This map, referred to as “Summoner’s Rift” is mirrored across the middle, so each side has a fair advantage. Players control a champion of their choosing to battle it out on the Rift. There are currently 121 unique champions available with one being released every few weeks. Each champion has their own unique set of skills, which players control using a mouse and keyboard. Summoner’s Rift contains three paths where players can travel, a bottom path, middle path, and a top path. These paths contain 3 turrets each that are generally too powerful for teams to destroy themselves; they must fight them with minions. Each team has minions, weak fighters that spawn every 30 seconds and are common to both sides. These minions are mindless creatures that basically don’t stop till they’re dead. Teams utilize these minions to take the high damage enemy turrets deal and destroy enemy turrets while the turrets are distracted. The end goal is to destroy the enemy team’s nexus. Teams must destroy at least 5 turrets to damage the nexus, but most teams destroy more because turrets provide a lot of gold on death. Gold is obtained from killing enemy champions, minions, neutral creatures, and enemy structures. Gold can be used to purchase items that provide either defensive or offensive stats depending on the player. The general trend is the team with more gold is more likely to win. The winning team progresses in their ranking, while the losing team loses rank. The top teams and players have the opportunity to go big.

League of Legend has one of the most popular competitive scenes compared to other games. Every region- North America, Europe, Korea, China, and Southeast Asia- has a different structure to their competitive scenes. North America and Europe have two splits per year: summer and spring. Each split is a round robin between 8 teams where all teams play a total of 30 games for ten weeks. At the end of the spring split, the top 5 teams are guaranteed to continue playing, but the bottom 3 have to play the top teams not in this scene to fight for the spot. The summer split is exactly the same, but the top 3 teams are eligible to compete in the world championship international tournament. The top 3 teams from every region and two international wild card teams from regions not listed above compete to determine the best league of legends team in the world. This first world championship series contained around 100 live spectators, mainly employees, and approximately 100,000 online viewers. Only 3 years later, these numbers would increase to over 40,000 and 30 million respectively. The League of Legends scene constantly updates mainly because every 6 months new professional teams emerge. A spot to compete “with the pros” is always up for grabs, meaning that no current pro player has a stable job.

The competitive scene is slowly becoming more and more like a real sport’s. Team structure becomes ever more essential. Multi millionaire companies such as Samsung, Sktt1, and Coke are sponsoring teams. 5 18-25 year old players cannot manage play time and their sponsors. Currently, the minimum required for a team to succeed is a manager and a gaming house. Most teams would learn to add coaches for individual improvement, analysts to watch replays of games, and even therapists to manage the pressure to succeed. Organizations control these teams and constantly look for improvements. Top players have been offered million dollar contracts. A player’s spot on a team can easily be lost because a better player is up for grabs. One can only imagine the stress that not only their team’s spot in the competitive scene could be lost, but also their personal positions. Teams usually have 40 hour practice weeks, some reaching up to double that time. League’s competitive scene is not something to be taken lightly. League of Legends is creating the image of eSports as a whole, and the scene is only going to become more and more competitive every year.

Personally I am part of the top one percent of North American players. Pros are generally among the top 1000 players, or 0.01 percent. Unlike any sport, players can compare themselves to the rest of the world at a click of a button. This just makes League of Legends ever so competitive. Teams have less and less trouble finding mechanically strong players, which just adds more stress to current pros. But then again, the benefits of being pro are never ending. How would you like making a million dollars a year playing video games?



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Article Keywords:

league, play, game, world, champion, path, top, turrets, destroy, minions, team, enemy, gold, player, legend, competitive, year, split, scene, spot, only, pro, ever

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