League of Legends has undoubtedly been one of the most popular computer games for some time now, one of the main contributing factors for this would be its competitive scene known and brandished as e-sports. While there is a steady flow of arguments as to whether it really counts as a sport or not there is one thing League shares with games that require a helmet, they’re both spectator sports. I got sucked into the game because it was what my friends were playing and it didn’t require any money to play (not that, that stopped me!), however when I first saw the league of legends world championship finals in 2012 I was hooked. Not only seeing but hearing the massive crowd in the background whenever a notable event took place was what will always come to mind when I think of e-sports, not the players hosting the cup in the air cementing their victory to the audience but the roar of acceptance that follows.
Lets start with the basics League of Legends is a 5v5 competitive top down multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA for short) with various roles being split between the 5 players. Each one varying accordingly where in one role can be dependent on making smart decisions to the end game and another relying heavily on your mechanical play or how well you can chain all your abilities together. The ultimate objective is to siege the enemy base and destroy their Nexus signaling the end of the game, while it may sound like a simple concept a competitive game of League is often anything but.
Here we see the map to help organize the roles, top and middle are solo lanes meaning that often there is only one person dedicated to pushing out that lane, while bottom is reserved for two people and everything in between is known as the jungle where one player is constantly roaming around the map applying pressure. These competitive roles are rarely taken for granted in tournaments and is widely regarded as the standard for any League of Legends game, any other strategies would be viewed as unorthodox and not withing the meta (or what’s currently the best way to go). The finer details revolve around the characters each player can pick, there are over 100 characters in League with one being introduced every month or so, and the items each player can buy in game that allow them to adapt and grow stronger.
The interesting thing is that Riot games, the developers behind League of Legends, are constantly changing their game with frequent and major updates seen at least once a month. As a result what’s good and what’s not changes very frequently and it’s up to the players and especially the Pros to keep up with what is strong. Taking this into account before the players are allowed to pick their characters in a draft order a team is allowed to ban 3 characters from use in that one game, to either get rid of some very strong wildcards or target specific enemy strategies.
Above is a standard game of League of Legends in it’s competitive format.
With all the basics of the game out of the way tomorrow I’ll go over the result of the North American championship and which of Na’s brightest will go to worlds.