The summer split of the seventh season has just begun, and it promises to be exciting. CLG has opened with an unexpected 2-0 while SKT lost their season opener, and FNC once again looks like a force to be reckoned with. Aside from unexpected victories and losses, Riot has announced that next year teams will be able to permanently lock in a spot for the NALCS. This means that the teams will be making a long time buy-in investment when deciding to sign up for a spot. Sure, there will be opportunity for an instant return on investment, but teams are in it for the long haul.
Organizations have indicated that they expect League of Legends to be around for a long time. It’s a game that has been on the incline since its inception, both gaining players and viewers of its professional league. Although it shows no signs of slowing down, many predict that eventually the titan shall fall and fade into obscurity as an esport, much like Starcraft or Quake has in the past – both games are still played competitively, but they are by no means as large or as followed as they once were.
Esports have come a long way since Quake and Starcraft were the top titles. There’s much more money, much better infrastructure, and more fan involvement, especially in League of Legends, the clear top title at the moment.
Recently, Riot has made it clear that they are willing to take drastic steps to secure a stable and long future for their game as an esport. They have listened to fans, analysts, orgs, and players alike. They have franchised the NALCS, increased the prize money available at all levels of professional play, introduced a new international tournament, increased wildcard team involvement and coverage, added a player’s association and an Academy league in the NALCS. Not to mention the quality of game changes they’ve made and have planned, such as the remastered runes and masteries and the ten-ban system.
The last year has been a busy one for Riot Games. They have changed a lot to make their game a better one, and they have been much more receptive to players, opening up important communication channels.
The once small company turned behemoth has put the onus on us. Riot has held up their end of the bargain and laid the groundwork for us a fandom, a culture, to turn League of Legends into something great. If we want to continue to watch League of Legends for many years to come, we must act now. There will never be another opportunity to take League of Legends as an esport to greater heights.
It’s time to believe in League of Legends.
How we do it is simple: everyone should do one small thing for the community. Find a way to give back to the game that has given us all so much. Talk to your friends about League, host watching parties and maybe invite someone who has never watched a game. Even something as simple as buying and wearing a t-shirt of your favorite org helps. If you want to do something really big, you could host a local LAN tournament.
The more people that spend time talking about esports, the more seriously people will take us. The more people talking about and interested in League of Legends, the more people will join our community. This endless cycle will propel us to be considered a major force in the world of sports.
It all starts now. We must change how we approach the game. We have to be more vocal and more public in our support. Erase the stigma surrounding esports. Riot has put their trust in us to support the game that we love. If you believe in League of Legends, as a game, as an esport, then now is the time to prove it.
Photos via Lolesports