League of Legends is bigger than you might think. Recently, it blew my mind to find out that the free-to-play game that I’d casually dabbled in occasionally is actually the most-played game around (though DotA fans might argue otherwise), with 3.2 million people playing every month. It also held the record for most concurrent players online at one time, until DotA 2 snatched that away in early April.
It’s also got a massive eSports following, with teams competing in tournaments, all fighting to win it big in huge cash prize pools, sometimes up to five million dollars. That’s not a bad haul for playing a video game.
Now, some of the biggest names on the professional scene are stepping up for a two day spectacular Shanghai showdown.
Teams representing North America, Korea, Europe, China and South-East Asia have been drafted by popular vote from League of Legends fans. Rivals from national competitions now stand side-by-side on the international stage, representing their home leagues. Restrictions mean that no international line-up can have more than three players from the same professional team, so individual skill and ability to adapt to new group synergy will all be put to the test.
The tournament is a double elimination bracket, with rounds being a best-of-three to determine the winners. Kick-off for the first match is the 24th of May.
You can read more here.
I won’t lie, this is probably as confusing for me as it is for anyone who has never seen the game, or even most casual players. I have the same opinions of eSports as I do of physical ones – I don’t see the point in watching when I could be playing, and I’m nowhere near good enough to have a proper understanding of the rules or politics of it all.
Still, it’s always nice to see a good competition, and it makes me happy to see video games not simply stuck in the privacy of living rooms (or basements, as some die-hard naysayers might joke) but on a world stage where fans can support their teams and be involved in the community.
In the mean time, while these titans duke it out in front of millions of fans, I’ll quietly dip my toes into Summoner’s Rift and try my hand against the other casuals.
I might even win a match.