League of Legends: The game that wants to take over the world | For The Win
For years, pro League of Legends players have watched their industry League of Legends Championship Series team MeetYourMakers. The latest Tweets from MeetYourMakers (@myMYMcom). MYM is one of the [# PUBG] Roster Change: Welcome our latest addition to our #PUBG Roster. In the August of , MeetYourMakers signed their first League of Legends team, picking up the roster of Wizards e-Sports Club: Exterminare, Araneae, Babeta.
Why is Faker the greatest to ever play this game? What makes him pop? These are all questions that Riot Games, the maker of League of Legends, is asking itself. They want him, the slight year-old from Korea who speaks through a translator, to be an American sensation.
This is a tall order. His gameplay is analyzed. Here he is in an interview with The Rift Herald before the quarterfinals of the world championships this year: After Season 4 there was a mass exodus of Korean players who all went to China.
At the time you told ESPN that you wanted to stay in Korea to represent your nation on the world stage, how do you feel like you have been able to do that in the past couple years since you said that? Not all LoL greats are like this. A bit pudgy, Wolf laughs often, ribs his teammates, shows off to the crowd. He found his refuge, his calling, behind a screen, playing a game more beautifully and consistently than any man or woman before or since. This, again, is a lot to ask a year-old kid.
He is that Michael Jordan-type player. So why would you ever stop? In a minute game with thousands of micro-decisions that need to be made, many every second, Faker can at once remain totally committed to the fight in front of him but never lose track of the bigger picture. He does this all quietly, which is unique for a top player.
He used to be very quiet. He just has to be himself. He is driven by a desire for perfection, and one gets the sense listening to him talk about League he cares not so much about beating his opponents but about playing the game exactly the way it is meant to be played. These mistakes haunt him. This only makes us want to improve. Those are the words of an aesthete. Faker was disappointed in the match not because it lacked entertainment for the fans but because it was played imperfectly.
Yes, for fans it may have been fun. They screamed at the big moments, enjoyed the back and forth, the comebacks and the climactic win, which SKT claimed in the fifth game of the match.
And, for Faker, where is the beauty in that? Riot Whalen Rozelle walked through the guts of Madison Square Garden, striding purposefully through the cinderblock-walled tunnels that led out from the locker rooms down to the main floor.
He smiled at the security guard, who waved him through. Above him, the calls of 15, people rang out, and then he stepped out into the light. He looked up at the crowd and smiled wide. Rozelle is the Director of eSports at Riot Games, the man overseeing the development of the League of Legends pro circuit and its quest to become the next major worldwide viewing sensation.
At the League of Legends World Championship semifinals, held in New York City on a Friday night in October, he had the look of a man who had built something sturdy and grand.
Rozelle is handsome, with a strong jaw and bright eyes. He graduated from Stanford in and worked as a financial analyst at Google before entering the eSports world. He is the man charged with growing League of Legends into something that will appeal to a broad, mainstream audience, and he speaks with the fervor of a born-again.
He also has his eye on soccer, the global game. We aspire for this to be our World Cup. You feel a part of something. To understand the business side of League of Legends, and eSports in general, it helps to understand how the entire thing is set up. Riot Games is the maker of the video game League of Legends. It organizes the World Championships, the season-ending annual tournament, as well, which I was then watching right there along with 15, of my new gaming friends. On top of building the game, and organizing the events, and running the production, Riot is also now a media company.
They produce and stream these matches worldwide to millions of viewers. With a sport that features ten players playing across a broad map, they must direct coverage of the action, which part of the map to highlight, and which lane to cut to, all either live or on a short delay.
I love the Giants, the Niners, the Warriors. So we ended up bringing in people who had done traditional sports broadcasts. Riot, in essence, is not only the builder of the game but its commissioner and broadcaster. Riot is making money off this game. It makes this money off of microtransactions, small fees paid by players to upgrade equipment or play as new characters. In Januarythere were an estimated 27 million people playing the game daily, and even if those people are spending just a few bucks here and there, the numbers add up quickly.
While the World Championships did have sponsors electronics company Acer had its name slapped all over everything at the semifinals almost all LoL broadcasts are streamed completely free online.
You can see the strategy — with the video game itself making so much money via microtransactions, eSports is free to sacrifice revenue in pursuit of the largest audience possible. Riot provides a baseline salary to each team that is meant to be distributed to the players.
Any additional salary is left up to the individual teams, who are responsible for building rosters that can compete at the top level. We do get to see contracts in the case of disputes, but not for our own perusal.
- League of Legends: Where will Faker go?
- League of Legends: The game that wants to take over the world
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When we came in we saw contracts that would last two weeks. We really worked to introduce rules that would clean a lot of that stuff up.
The contract and roster limits make sense. And we have to be flexible and willing to change ourselves as needed. These are teenagers signing contracts to play a game in front of millions of people. There's a monster truck behind that limousine ready to crush it because there are gold bars inside just for you. All the money, Faker. Did you hear we just got Michael Jordan as an investor? He's the basketball version of you. Let's make you the first esports billionaire.
But really, with Liquid not even making it out of groups after a dominating domestic year and Faker a few days from free agency, there is no way you can bring up possible Faker destinations and not have Team Liquid near the top. They have the money. They have the brand name. Eugene "Pobelter" Park's contract is set to end with Team Liquid, and with top laner Impact about to become a resident of North America after playing in the region for four years, the team can go out and get another international player with its import slot open.
Faker knows he can win with Impact, so he'll at least have one former friend he can rely on in his new region. Steve knows Faker will cost a boatload to get from South Korea, but he also knows Faker and Yiliang "Doublelift" Peng are a license to print money anywhere on Earth.
Sure, the smoothie bar and lesser competition sound nice, but this is not where you want to take the next step in your career. Teams with Doublelift have failed to make it out of the group stages the past four years. Do you think the team will stop playing around Doublelift and the bottom lane just because you're there? The tug of war between Doublelift and Faker on the team could end up messy. We've seen Faker play second to an AD carry before in his career, but will he really do that in North America, where he knows he's the most talented player in the league?
On top of that, the language barrier is going to be difficult with everyone outside of Impact and Kim "Olleh" Joo-sung.
League of Legends: Where will Faker go?
Would the team just converse in Korean when it comes down to important moments in the game? On paper, the idea looks great. Probably not so much, especially if Faker wants to win a world championship next year. If Faker signs with TL, I think it would take at least a year for him to adjust before he'd have a chance to win the Summoner's Cup again.
Faker, standing on stage decked out in the freshest clothes, singing alongside Drake in matching Thieves merchandise. OK, Thieves might not make a lot of sense if Faker is gunning for a world championship straight away, but don't laugh at the idea. Kim "Ssumday" Chan-ho is a strong player, and T already made it to worlds during their rookie year. Faker in the mid lane alongside Ssumday in the top lane should be an automatic pass to worlds for the next five years, and in two years, Ssumday will be a resident, so then the tandem can go out and buy whatever South Korean superstar is making waves.
Yoo "Ryu" Sang-wook might not be happy about this transaction, though. Why Faker shouldn't happen If Faker wants to be a clothes model and hang out with Drake, he should just retire. If he wants to actually contend for a world championship in or beyond, Thieves Faker is nonsense.
In a world in which the Thieves sign Faker, they'd probably bench him out of the blue at worlds for a random Challenger mid laner. Plus, from the athlete or entertainer standpoint our goal is to empower them to do what they do and not have to worry about what we do.
Once they gain that trust in us, it all just flows. It may take some time to get things flowing and functioning really smoothly, but once they have confidence in what we do they can be laser-focused on what time they train Say you're trying to close a deal. What is your biggest strength? My strength is listening to what's on the table, understanding the opportunity, assessing the value, and figuring out what all parties really want. We don't have to do things a certain way because that's how we've always done it; when we know what people want we can almost always find different ways to provide value.
We're also really competitive. We don't ever want to lose a deal. It's all comes down to return on investment That's also our strength as a company: You and your wife Delana have been married for 15 years, and she plays a major role in your businesses.
How has your family and business life changed over the years? It's actually easier now than it was years ago because we have a much better idea of how to balance our time.
We've surrounded ourselves with people we really trust. When we bring someone else in, we make sure they plug right in. I'm much happier at work on the weekends than I was years ago, too. My main job flows better with what we do at KHI Management. The early years helped put all these pieces together: Early on you had a huge opportunity but also a huge challenge. My career is totally backwards. Instead of slowing growing up in the sport, I came in and took over for Dale and instantly had all these people, sponsorships, money, appearances And you had the on-track pressure of stepping into a legend's car.
There were some not so good moments in those first four or five years from a business standpoint, from a personal standpoint, in how I handled things We started the race team and that didn't go so well at the beginning but it was doing very well when we sold it.
Those early struggles made us into what we are today. The biggest thing I learned is to give people enough rope to let them do what they do well, but at the same time to keep a good pulse on what's going on. That's the biggest difference between then and now: Together you and your wife are a business, and that creates an interesting dynamic: If you see an opportunity and say, "Hey, maybe we should get involved For the most part everything gets planned around our son Keelan and car pools, dropping him off, picking him up In the morning you take care of yourself physically, in the afternoon it's business -- the key is constant communication.
One thing I can't stand is when people -- not our team, but other people -- don't respond. Everybody can email, everybody can text Making everything revolve around your family life sounds good, but I'm sure there are challenges.