If you are not the type of person following news about League of Legends but you are still an e-sport passionate, this is something you have to care about. You should know that the esport scene is under massive contradictions right now, and I would love to discuss it with you in this article where I will be giving my opinion.

Let’s start first by doing a recap of what’s going on:

– Riot Games released a few weeks ago the patch 6.15 which removed any possible option of making the lane swap worth doing, it being one of the most used or known strategic plan allowing an early gold rush and many other things. It has always been a move that casters, analysts, players liked, and it was a default game move now.
– After these changes, casters, players, owners, coaches whoever you can think of that was involved directly in the professional league of legends scene was disagreeing and commentating on how poor the decision that Riot Games made was. That led to Andy “Reginald” Ding, Owner of TSM (team solo mid), doing an interview with TheScore expressing his disapproval of the recent changes, saying that it was poorly done by Riot Games to change patches like that, few months before the 2016 World Championship starts.

 

Photo from leagueoflegends.com
Photo from leagueoflegends.com

If you haven’t been familiar with League of Legends for years, you have to know that this has been going on for years now, and it’s only today that things are getting into direct discussions between Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill and team owners.
To better know where I am coming from talking about this subject you have to know that I have been a shout-caster for LCS/LPL and LCK in a French studio, I have played league of legends at a high level for years, and I do have similar feelings as what has been shared by Reginald. You see, patch notes like Juggernaut, swap lane removal, and the meta consistently changing is on paper incredible, and I am sure you can agree with me on that. It turns the game meta; we discover new champions that are more related to the current patch and LCS changes so that we can see our favourite players play our favourite champions, taking the redundant aspect off a video game. Well, the thing is that the timing is also crucial, and the date you are releasing a massive patch can impact way more than your next two or three soloQ matches.

The patch 6.15 had an enormous impact on the game and therefore pro players have to “relearn” the game, build new comps, practice them, develop strategic plans and more. Everything they have been working on for months to reach the point of qualifying for the World Championship is now useless because it’s irrelevant to the current meta. What my old shout-caster colleagues and I used to say is that the system makes the team who adapted the fastest to the meta win instead of rewarding the team that worked the hardest throughout the whole season.

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Photo from www.solomid.net – Reginald was the Head coach along side Locodoco in 2015 of the TSM Lineup

Reginald support this point and states: “Marc is suggesting that patches expose weaknesses in team rosters and that players need to just man up. He is missing the point; the pro LoL players who are eligible for Worlds have been furiously practicing on the previous patch and many people don’t understand that the specialized skills which LCS players practice don’t really carry over from one patch to the next. ”         (source: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sp1imb from @TSMReginald on Twitter)

Severe changes to the game, months before Major events just make pro-gamers frustrated, and they have all the right to be. Why rewarding the team that adapted the fastest? Is it the point of this video game? Wouldn’t be fairer to test every team from all those different regions in a patch that they all practice during the season. I mean this is very opinion based, and I think that more players but also more viewers would prefer having the same patch across a season. Don’t get me wrong here; I am not talking about the few changes a patch can do along with bugfixes, I am only referring to massive patches that completely shifts the meta like cited previously.
Every season would be different, and it will be more impactful, giving the chance for a new team to adapt faster than others and potentially win their spot in the league in between seasons.

This is only one part of the story. The other concern players salary, money management from organizations like TSM. My opinion here is very much based on Reginal’s one who I agree with for the most part. You see the problem is that Riot Games controls everything. They control more than you think they do especially with LoLesport and for a full understanding I think everyone should read Reginald’s twitlonger post:

I have read everything that needed to be read, and I think TSM Reginald makes fantastic points on targeting the real issue and makes great ones on what could be the solution.
If I had to give my two cents on the case itself, I would say that League of Legends and LoLesport should be two different companies and the League of Legends that pro-players play should also be different from what you and I play. It would be its ecosystem where pro-players are given a patch before the start of the season until the end of it. Everyone would be able to study it: players, coaches, analyst, journalist, content creators, and viewers. Patch/meta will be renewed after each major event: MSI and Worlds.

What if a pro wants to practice in soloq? SoloQ is usually made to practice matchup, mechanics, and warm-up, if “my idea” is made, scrims and practice would be easier to manage.
I understand that League of Legends has to keep making exciting stuff for its millions of players, but this could be a solution to divide Esport and casual League of Legends. We have to stop talking about them as equal as E-sport is far more complicated and a lot more is on the line. Make LoLesport an independent company that would manage the league and the system better, allowing teams to make way more money, allowing players to be paid more and making the industry healthier and more secure. Anything else Reginald’s mentioned such as merchandising, player salary or else are things that I won’t express myself about, me being overviewing the situation and not being directly involved. Although I am sure many other relevant participants will express their opinions.

Photo from www.riotgames.com - Exterior of Los Angeles Riot Games Headquarters
Photo from www.riotgames.com – Exterior of the Los Angeles Riot Games Headquarters

Again, everyone, this is just my take on it and It is a “what if I was asked what I would do” type of article. I think Marc Merrill has to deal with things that we can’t even imagine as the Co-founder of Riot Games and I am sure he is doing the best he can to keep everyone happy. Try not to point fingers at people and try to get a better understanding of what is happening and how we, together as a community, can change the industry we love so much: the one that represents esport.

 

(EDIT) Montecristo, owner of renegades and main analyst/shout-cast for LCK, discusses Tryndamere’s response to Regi’s interview on patch changes and monetization in the professional League of Legends scene. You should watch the video, even though it’s pretty long, as it’s support the main point Reginald’s stated.

 

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