Thursday, September 26, 2013

Molding eSports and the League of Legends Championship

My latest PopMatters article is now live: Molding eSports and the League of Legends Championship.

As you all know, I play a lot of League of Legends, probably in excess. It's my go-to game when I'm looking to unwind or kill time without committing to some epic fantasy RPG or the like. Additionally, I have also be really interested in the professional game scene. This week, I decided to write about the spectacle surrounding the event and what that can mean for the future of eSports fandom.

I actually spend most of the time talking about the exhibition outside of the actual games, but I should say, the matches themselves are fascinating and thrilling to watch. I encourage you all to give at least one match a view, even if you don't play League of Legends at all. Over the past couple years, the shout casters have really improved their ability to call games and analyze them as they happen. They've also done a good job of bring levity to the experience.

Watching professional matches between high-ranking international teams is unlike any other viewing experience. The skill these players bring the table is amazing. In the recent match up between two Chinese teams, Royal Club and OMG, team fights would break out in which both sides went in, dealt massive damage, played incredibly well, then broke away, leaving both teams alive but severely injured. Watching these bursts of calculated action was like watching two skills duelists attack in a flurry of swings and parries without ever getting a hit.  As the Championship games fast approaches, these types of thrilling matches are even more common.

There are also moments of fun and even touching moments of sportsmanship. When some of the teams already knocked out the tournament had to play anyway, they would often mix things up for fun. In one of the best matches of the tournament, 0-7 Phillippine's based Mineski faced the undefeated OMG. Instead of playing a traditional composition, they picked up champions you would never see in a tournament. Likewise, knowing the match was essentially meaningless, OMG played with a strange set of champions as well. It was an exciting match because everyone was rooting for Mineski, even the shout casters, and enjoying the fun of the game above all else. At the end of the match, even though Mineski lost, the crowd chanter their team name to honor their efforts.

These little moments make up the wider concept of League of Legends eSports fandom and it's fascinating to watch it happen live.

No comments:

Post a Comment