February 2, 2024
Hong Lau

The Restart of Professional League Of Legends (2 minute read)

Mario, Princess Peach go on a new adventure in the animated film, Super Mario Brothers

As many of our faithful blog readers know, I am a big advocate for esports, specifically League of Legends. It's been a fun start to the beginning of the year for LoL. The LCS (NA) is one week in, while Europe is two weeks in, and the LCK (Korea and China) have just started their seasons as well as usual; T1, with a roster sporting Faker, will be a global fan favourite and powerhouse to win it all this year.

The interesting thing about this year is that it finally feels like the team and leagues are starting to take their own shape. Europe has consistently been a leader in innovation and how they run their broadcast with unique segments, different ways to produce content and just a fresh take on LoL trying to appeal to their audience.

LCK and LPL have traditionally just been the powerhouses, and that's why they get views… to be fair, the LCK has the most viewership from an English audience from "outside viewers of their region." The LPL (China) has traditionally just been a fun league to watch because they continually skill check and like to fight rather than play "macro" (for those that don't know, it means more strategic). Korea has traditionally been the team that plays with pace and vision and just outsmarts teams. I say all this to say that it seems like North America has finally taken an identity.

North America frequently benefits from being a league with a lot of cash and right beside the Riot Games head office. So this year, they'll be implementing some key changes like a bigger gap week to evaluate the league and a faster broadcast (prerecorded drafts) so viewers can get into games a lot faster. The most important change, in my opinion, is that teams will be playing on live patches. What that means is that League of Legends typically puts out an update and reworks the game for subtle (or big) changes every couple of weeks. Typically, teams would play on a fixed patch, IE 14.3, for x number of weeks. In that time span, there could be two patches before regions would switch (14.4 and 14.5). Now North America has decided to play on the patch that is live to the world, which will force teams to play stuff that is "broken" or "overpowered," even if it'll be hot fixed within a week because every win matters.

It really challenges the North American scene to explore every avenue of the game and be creative. It feels like it may be the first step to us becoming an innovative region (not a copycat region), which could help the long-term health of the competitive scene. On top of these changes, some of the old guard staples like Doublelift, Bjergsen, Licorice, and other players are no longer in the scene. It feels as if teams have finally started to invest in new talent and try to take NA to the next level. Who knows if it'll be a net positive… but we are allowing new talent and new ideas to flood the scene, which is really exciting and encouraging.

I'll conclude my post here, but I'm very excited to see what the next couple of years of LoL looks like for NA as it feels like the turn of a new leaf.