How did you get involved in eSports?
During my youth, I enjoyed playing and playing Counter-Strike on a professional level. I played on a big team for a while, but had to retire from the professional scene when I started my undergraduate studies. Although I wasn’t playing competitively, I was constantly playing and remained interested in eSports.
What attracted you to League of Legends?
I had played DotA before and was interested in League of Legends because it was a similar style game. After five years of World of Warcraft, I was of course happy with the idea of ââa free game. Without a price barrier at the entrance, I thought to myself why not give it a chance? Obviously, I found the game quite enjoyable.
What has been the key to your team’s success so far?
The team’s success comes from a long experience in League of Legends coupled with incredible synergy. Much of the list has remained the same over the years, which has allowed the team to understand each other’s interactions and collaborate on strategy. They know each other and know how each member of the team plays so that they can complement each other’s strengths.
What are the challenges of managing an eSports team today?
There are several challenges to managing a team. There are logistical challenges in scheduling everyone for events and making sure everyone shows up to all of their matches, interviews, and other meetings on time. Additionally, funding these teams requires a lot of capital, and it’s extremely difficult to measure ROI when you send teams across the globe to potentially earn and promote the brand. Even for winning events, it is almost not possible to receive direct return compensation, so it’s all about building the brand and image.
Several sponsors have only recently started to take the wave with League of Legends. The game is not as graphics-intensive as many popular FPS or RPG titles, so there is less demand for higher-performing internals, machines, or laptops. However, the sponsors have noticed the number of streams and the brand recognition of the big teams. The game has an incredible fan base and is recognized as a major competitive game, which has prompted sponsors to pay more attention and partner with teams that have high visibility.
What do you think sets League of Legends apart from the growing number of MOBAs?
League of Legends probably differs in its ubiquity due to its low graphics requirements and ease of play. It is very easy to get into the game and understand the basic mechanics of the game. In addition, the update constant champions and content makes it interesting.
Why do you think more and more people are turning to League of Legends in esports today?
Steaming has brought a lot more people to exposure to the game. Additionally, Riot has done a good job promoting and advertising League of Legends and creating huge prize pools in tournaments. Of course, the ease with which someone can learn the game has also been a huge factor.
Strategically, how is League of Legends different from StarCraft II?
In League of Legends, you play as a single character and you play with a team. In Starcraft II, you play one on one and control an entire army of units, which requires extreme dexterity, micro-management and a very high ability to multitask. Plus, unlike League of Legends, StarCraft has more âold-fashionedâ opening strategies that can win the game early on. Spectators often see this factor in the mind games that exist between professional players, especially in the longer series.
The team aspect is arguably the most important part of League of Legends. As we have seen throughout the history of traditional and electronic sports, it is often not the most talented group of individuals that wins, but the best team. No League of Legends champion or player can literally easily win matches with some consistency. Especially in a game as strategic and synergy-based as League of Legends, it often quickly becomes clear which team has the best teamwork.
How receptive has Riot Games been to feedback from professional gamers?
Riot has been extremely receptive to feedback and even went out of his way to bring in professionals to discuss the future of the League and the Champions’ balance.
What impact do you think the $ 5 million Season 2 price tag has had on League of Legends’ growth?
The $ 5 million prize pool is absolutely unprecedented; by far the most that a publisher or developer has put into the pot of any of their competing titles. Riot investing so heavily in LoL eSports shows his confidence that it will become something bigger than we have ever seen before. In particular, it allows professional actors and organizations like ours
What impact do you think holding the Finals in the USC Arena will have in showing people the future of this game in eSports?
Hopefully this will change everything and show the world the level of reach that eSports has already reached. We still hope that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that the community will see a huge explosion of growth and massive acceptance of the game as a competitive sport.
Many people believe the Koreans will dominate the competitive scene. Their level of commitment and willingness to practice much harder than North Americans or Europeans could really upset the current balance of skills. I hope my players take a lesson from their Korean counterparts and put the same level of effort and time into playing the game.
How important do you think television will be in the validation of eSports?
I’m not really sure how important TV is in terms of eSports validation. The generation who primarily watch eSports don’t even watch TV the way we did in the past. Internet streaming is probably the preferred medium. As on-demand and online content continues to grow, television may not be necessary on the scene. It’s hard to say really.