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Sexism in eSports banner

 

  Disclaimer: Some of you may remember this article being published a few weeks ago. It underwent heavy editing since then and should be a lot tighter on arguments now. Enjoy reading!

 

  I believe gamers need a realistic perspective on the issue of sexism in eSports and gaming in general. Here are the major points this article will address:

  • The banal sexist remarks and misogynistic jokes we’ve all grown accustomed to as a result of constant stereotyping.
  • The male dominated culture of gaming.
  • Team Siren‘s impact on professional gaming last year and the negative perception they have created towards females who want to become pro gamers.
  • Female gamers being forced to either openly express their gender or hide it entirely.

 

 

Stereotyping Females

 

  We all like to make our assumptions about a group of people who seem consistent in behavior; stereotypes make life easier for us. They also lead to a complete lack of understanding issues in society and almost always promote hate speech, abuse and bullying. So how much do we really know about what women go through when they try to adopt gaming as a hobby or profession compared to men?

 There’s a huge difference between how two players, a man and a woman, are seen in the eyes of the majority. Females are condemned and bullied for being incapable of competing in gaming alongside men because the male-majority assumes women can’t achieve the same skill in video games as men, which is untrue. Let me explain.

  There are no studies that show females are weaker players than males. You can use the argument that there are far more men than women in pro gaming, and casual gaming in general, but that’s due to how games were originally marketed and how “gaming” was assigned, and socially upheld, as a male gender role. As a result women have had less time to: develop serious interests in gaming, develop the skills needed to compete at a top competitive level, and make major contributions to gaming, both in achievements and in their numbers. 

 However, this does not mean that gaming is incapable of embracing strong female contenders. For example, StarCraft II player Scarlett is recognized as one of the strongest players in the scene at the moment, consistently beating top-ranked opponents, despite being “a gamer girl.” But she is one of few and that is the problem. Women are less encouraged to pick up gaming as a hobby as a result of consistent framing and the rest of the community alienating them. The problem with sexism in pro-gaming starts at the bottom of the pyramid; if the industry molds around female interest and starts marketing itself equally for both genders, then we’ll see the issue resolved in more serious gaming.

Anna Prosser

 We’ve established that women are repressed in gaming, but that this is mainly due to the marketing tactics used early in the industry, alongside the community’s shock and inability to properly accomodate the increasing flux of women becoming interested in games. Pro-gaming isn’t a viable profession for women yet, as the industry hasn’t tried to reach up to a female audience. Circumstances have developed a situation where women who wish to make a living out of their hobby are cornered into finding alternate ways to do it, because their gender is a detriment to this.

 One such alternative is streaming. Streaming generates revenue through view count, rather than skill. (sometimes, skill results in a bigger audience, but this is just an isolated case, whereas in pro-gaming skill is a requirement). It favors one gender over another, because looks and character generate attention quicker than just playing well in most cases. Note that this does not include all female streamers, but it’s simply the reality of the medium. Because (most) women are left without opportunity to pursue a pro-gaming career, but streaming is easily available to them, you get a discrepancy in relevance of the two careers for females.

 Women didn’t become involved in streaming with the mentality of selling their looks. But they approached a scene that was (and still is) awkward in how it accepts them. Exploiting gender traits for revenue isn’t a conscious decision made by the majority – it’s simply a logical alternative to professional gaming when professional gaming fails to provide women the proper environment for a stable job.

 

 

Team Siren

 

Team Siren Promo Video The majority of the playerbase has only had bad experiences with female teams. To have girls compete in pro-gaming is a recent concept and is burdened not just by the gaming community’s prejudice, but by segregation in the real world. What few opportunities females have had to be recognized as eSports material have gone down in history as sore examples and have further exacerbated the issue. Such is the case from last year with Team Siren.

I believe the majority have seen their introductory video. One can immediately tell this promotion wasn’t thought through. It implies that their team (Gold I at the time) was capable of taking on any competition from the pro teams. The Sirens tried to sell immaturity and snobby attitude to the public and this severely imapcted the perception people had of female pro players.

Trash-talking enemy players during games only served to further degrade Team Siren’s image. The team’s reaction to the community backlash, coupled with poor management, forced the Sirens to disband a month after creating the team.

Ironically, the demise of Team Siren may have actually benefited women who wish to compete in eSports, by bringing attention to the issue that there are practically no pro women gaming currently. Attitude and marketing aside, the Sirens were brave enough to step up to the spotlight as a team of women aiming for the big scene. If the focus had been more on gaming and less on selling an image, the team could had been a success.

This all partially leads to the creation of the 2014 Amateur Challenge for ladies.

 

 

Scared of eSports

Colalin_tps  We shouldn’t ignore the fact that what being a gamer means for a male doesn’t mean the same for a female. There are societal views and expectations that all weigh heavily on a woman’s decision to commit to gaming. Women generally care more than men how they look in the eyes of the public. It’s a problem with gaming in general that it continues to be shunned by popular opinion, but women are much more affected by this than men.

  Women want the approval of others and when gaming doesn’t resonate with the people around them, they tend to stay away from it. Those women who have committed themselves to gaming and feel comfortable with are attributed the same characteristics, simply because they are a minority.

  There is a fact working against females who want to be in eSports – they’d be among the first. Teams participating in the Season 3 World Championship didn’t have a female member and, historically, have never had. After extensive research, the only example I found was Lin “Colalin” Ying Hsuan, substitute player for Taipei Assassins and Taipei Snipers. Statistically, women who compete in pro-play are a rare sight. A female wishing to pursue this career is going against the odds and that’s a demotivating realization.

  As a male you’ll probably face a wall of criticism if you go right now and tell your parents you want to abandon everything else and become a pro-player. This is without taking into consideration outside views and having the evidence to show them that people like you have become successful in pro-gaming. Now imagine how it would feel from a female’s perspective – she holds both a responsibility towards friends and family not to be perceived as “weird’ or “out of social standards” and she can’t show that women can become pro players and make a living.

  A woman who’s decided to be a pro gamer has all of this to overcome and she can’t be sure whether or not it’s even worth it.

 

 

Catch 22

 

  All these complex reasons for why sexism is so prevalent in gaming boils down to a simple truth – female gamers just aren’t taken seriously. Because the community is dominated by men, they assume everyone is male. Women then stick out as sort of exceptions to the rule, and they either need to conceal their gender or openly express it.

  In the first scenario, a woman is afraid of revealing who she is, because she understands the repercussions of doing so and the backlash that will follow. And insults targeted towards female gamers rarely attack the way they play; more often than not they’re just gender abuse. The male community treats women like outsiders and that’s why so many girls hide behind male avatars and nicknames – they don’t want to be blamed for being themselves.

  Good, then the problem is gone since they pretend to be male and we don’t have to care about their problems. Wrong! Being forced to hide your identity doesn’t solve anything; it’s a band-aid, a desperation move. This actually magnifies the second situation gamer girls find themselves in – expressing their gender.

  Most women simply choose to forget they’re women when they game online. This hurts those who don’t want their gender identity bent by senseless sexism on the part of the majority. When a girl gamer openly displays the fact she’s female, she’s seeking attention. If she doesn’t, she emphasizes the problem for those who are honest with their gender.

  This is not something women can solve for themselves. The male community of gamers needs to look at the way it views girl gamers currently. If basic understanding and respect aren’t present, we can’t move forward.

 

 

2014 Amateur Challenge

 Background: keSPA ( Korea e-Sports Association ) hosted The Amateur Challenge Ladies tournament this year, which features exclusively all-female teams on the pro Korean scene (OGN).

All female league  The all-female league in eSports, though inherently wrong, is currently the only real opportunity women have of breaking the gender barrier of the scene. People have likened it to other amateur leagues already out there, but what it gives girls with an interest in pro-gaming is a chance of creating a competitive environment where they are able to improve, gain experience as teams and compete at the peak level, and have a chance at making a living playing games competitively. “Professional status,” as in making a living playing video games, is something females currently aren’t even given a chance to achieve, and this league changes that!

  Though segregation of genders is inherently wrong, in the case of pro-gaming it can lead up to an equal audience of men and women. Once there are females at a skill level high enough, with experience backing them, we could see a female team climb into the LCS, and beyond. This will, indeed, make eSports a scene where anyone can become big.

  A female league is a solution born out of lack of alternatives. The fact that it’s, right now, the only shot women have at becoming relevant in eSports shows how deeply rooted this issue has become. There are girls out there who can and want to compete on the same level as other pro players, but, as all the above-mentioned arguments point out, the community and the scene have been slow to adapt to the rising interest in gaming among women.

 

 

The Sad Reality


  Female leagues serve to artificially equalize the number of men and women competing in pro gaming. The more females being involved with the scene, the more will start aiming for a career in eSports. And this is the bothersome aspect of the whole issue – we’re not that far off as a community to fixing it, we just refuse to acknowledge that the issue exists, due to the preconceived notion that games, and the leagues the pros play in, are unisex.

  In a previous section I touched on the topic that no LCS team has a female in the roster. This isn’t only applicable to the actual team members; several teams lack a single female staff member. It proves how male-dominated the gaming industry is. Bad thing? Certainly. It does make one consider whether or not we truly appreciate talent more than we appreciate the comfort of a mono-gender environment. The people reading this are among the most dedicated players and viewers of eSports and LoL. I’m assuming we all want the same thing – the best experience pro-gaming can deliver and a sport that can keep us a close community.

 

What Can I do to fix this

 

Everyone could make this easier simply by avoiding misogynistic remarks they’d never use in person. When referring to a player, talk about their skill, strengths, weaknesses and exclude gender from your mindset. This goes both ways: if you use your cleavage to attract people to your stream, then you know what kind of people to expect. Allow me to quote Magic the Gathering player Jackie Lee, from an amazing article of hers:

1. Gender jokes are not funny, they’re insensitive.

2. Seek criticism and express criticism at poor behavior.

3. Don’t insult someone based on gender. (or race, or sexuality, all these characteristics do not determine a person’s qualities)

Small note, all these points relate to both men and women. Gender equality goes both ways.

 

My Info Article Ending

 

Inven, a popular Korean forum, recently announced The SKT LTE-A LoL Masters All Star Event, which features multiple events. The “Legends” event which is to take place on Thursday, March 27th features the ten players voted in to play their role in a 5v5 match to compete for the title of Legend. Alongside the legends event, there will be a showmatch featuring the Season 2 Azubu Frost roster of Shy (Top), Cloudtemplar (Jungle), Rapidstar (Mid), Woong (AD Carry), and Madlife (Support) up against the original Najin Em-Fire Roster of MakNooN (Top), MOKUZA (Jungle), HooN (Mid), Hiro (AD Carry), ViNylCat (Support).

The All Star event on the other hand features ten players that are voted in, however they will not play their standard roles and there is no restriction to how many players of each role can be voted in. Each role will be randomly assigned to the players before the game. Theoretically, you could vote in entire teams to play in both the Legends and All Star matches, however it’s likely they’ll be split up onto seperate teams. The All Star event is now open for voting from fans all over the world, and OnGameNet is encouraging western fans of the Korean scene to vote.

The SK Telecom LTE-A Masters Tournament features a round robin between the seven most powerful organizations in the Korean professional scene (14 teams in total). The Legends/All-Star event is going to be a great event, showcasing the top players in Korea. There could be more to the event than we currently know, so follow Newsoflegends for more updates!

 

EDIT:
According to reddit user /u/JebusMcAzn:

Sunday night will feature a different matchup, with the “Flower Five” going up against the “Manly Five” – the former team are considered the most attractive players for each role in Korea, while the latter are the most charismatic in their position. After their game will be the All-Stars Match, where the ten most popular players in Korea will form two teams and play each other in what is sure to be a fantastic game. The rosters are:

F5 M5
Flame TrAce
Watch inSec
Nagne Ambition
Mystic BetKyo
Kish Mata

 

Categories: Esports, LoL News Tags:

10003926_478770938915401_1368714157_n.jpg

Recently Riot Games announced the format of this year’s All Star event. Held in Paris, France, it’ll be the largest international event after the World Championships. While a portion of the event will be based on players being voted in (called the All Star challenge), all eyes are on the big international tournament. The top team from each region will compete in a round robin, with 4/5 regions advancing into a semifinal. Looking at All Stars in a traditional sports sense, it’s meant to be a fun tournament. Usually the best players in the league are placed into teams and compete against each other in their respective sports. They may have skill competitions to see who has the hardest shot, fastest running ability, etc alongside the big All Star game. This is similar to last year’s format, where players were voted in to represent their region. Riot had decided that the winning region receives an extra seed at the World Championships. They took a for-fun tournament and added a serious twist to it, causing complaints from the community. It’s likely they felt that the best region would win All Stars (which the best region did). This in the end was fine, as Korea wholeheartedly deserved that spot. The counterargument to that statement is that another region such as EU (who finished last) had language barriers against them, and a limit on the amount of players per team that could compete which put the European All Stars at a significant disadvantage.

The event is scheduled for May 8-11, which means neither the Chinese LPL or Korean OGN will be finished. In that case, who attends? For the Chinese, it’ll simply be the highest ranked team in the league, not too bad. In Korea you’ll see that the team in Korea with the highest circuit points (accumulated over the season) at the time of All Stars will go to the event. That’s guaranteed to be SKT T1 K, as they have 400 circuit points compared to the second highest of Samsung Galaxy Ozone with 225. Hypothetically speaking, if SKT T1 K were to lose in the group stage or quarterfinals they’ll still go. This isn’t too much of an issue considering SKT‘s relevance in that last 3 major tournaments; placing 1st in both OGN Summer and Winter, and winning the Season 3 World Championships. Even though I’ve been going off against Riot, I feel they will do a great job of hosting the event itself even if not everything can be perfect. (As it never can be)

One of the benefits to this tournament is that it increases the value of Spring Splits in the western LCS. In other regions the Spring Split has more influence on who get’s to worlds. In NA and EU the Spring Split is generally seen as a time filler, practice for when it really counts. By seeding the #1 teams to this All Star tournament, Riot has given life to the LCS Spring Split. Teams need to be first to get this spot, which forces teams to not only try to finish well, but be the best. This tournament also allows everybody to see comparatively how strong the top team of each region is, which we generally only see at the World Championships, which is a test that only happens once per year. Overall the All Star tournament helps out teams quite a bit, maybe with a few quirks.

The All Star Challenge

This will be the “fun” component of All Stars this year.  Without much information released by Riot, here are some facts and speculation:

-There will be two mixed region rosters, two players per region are voted in

-The community will have influence behind the game mode(s) that are played.

-Presumably, each of the two teams will have one player per region.

-With two mixed region rosters, it may be a wonder as to how some of them will communicate in game.

Without too much known about this portion of the All Star event at the moment, there’s not much to be said without knowing the format better. Follow Newsoflegends.com for more updates.

Categories: Esports Tags:

CJ Frost’s OGN Winter 2013-2014 Season Roster, left to right:
Shy (Top), Rapidstar (Sub), Madlife (Support), GankedByMom (Sub), Helios (Jungle), MakNoon (Mid, and Space (AD Carry)

Losing to Samsung Galaxy Ozone in their recent Quarterfinals of OGN marks the first time Frost hasn’t made it into the Semi-Finals. The squad was incredibly dominant in Season 2, placing 2nd at the World Championships in 2012. Since founding member, and former team captain Woong, left the team in Early 2013 the team has never had as much success. The team has attempted to fix its problems through a number of roster changes and fight their way back to the top, albeit to no avail.

Despite the fact that the legendary Madlife is still on the team as Support, Frost’s bottom lane really lacks an “all-star” Marksman. In OGN Spring 2013 Frost added Hermes to the roster, but he never reached the level of success playing with Madlife that Woong did, but the team finished in fourth place. Hermes was soon transferred to be a substitute for CJ Entus Blaze, allowing Space to step in and fill the vacant AD Carry role for the 2013 Summer Season. Although Space performed decently he wasn’t at all a carrying force for the team. Rapidstar’s performance also declined, again causing CJ Frost to place fourth. Frost’s decline became all too real when the former 2nd-place World Champions didn’t even qualify for World’s this time around.  Shocking, considering that four of the members of that Season two squad were still on the team. (All-star support Madlife, Top Laner Shy, Mid Laner Rapidstar, and Jungler CloudTemplar)

Pictured Left to Right: Shy, Rapidstar, Madlife, Woong, Cloudtemplar

For the recent Winter Season of OGN, Jungler Cloudtemplar had announced his retirement, and was replaced by CJ Blaze’s jungler, Helios. Rapidstar was moved to the substitute position, and, former Top Laner of Najin Sword, MakNoon was brought in to play mid lane. During the season, Shy, Madlife, and Space all did enough to hold their own while Helios and MakNoon both struggled immensely. Interestingly, the team chose GankedByMom to play for the Quarterfinals, who had seldom seen a match during the season. They lost 0-3 in the Quarterfinal round to Ozone, who went on to place second.  Seeing that the team desperately needed a change, the CJ Entus organization decided to not renew contracts with MakNoon, GankedByMom, or Helios while Rapidstar retired.

The two CJ Entus Squads are currently competing in the LoL Masters tournament, Korea’s new high-level tournament to be held between seasons of Champions.  Both the rosters of Frost and Blaze have had some major overhauls for LoL Masters. CJ Entus Frost’s new starting roster for the tournament is as follows: Shy (Top), Lira (Jungle), CoCo (Mid), Space (Marksman), Madlife (Support). While the CJ Entus organization beat the JinAir organization 2-1 it was still Frost who dropped the 1 map, while Blaze took 2.  I’d say we still haven’t seen enough of the new Frost to make any judgements yet, but we can only hope that Frost can climb back up to the top.

Categories: Esports Tags:

eula vs tos

(Disclaimer: While I am a law student, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.)

 

When in-game behavior carries consequences in the “real world,” many people start to wonder what limits, if any, companies like Riot have when policing user accounts. Ultimately this boils down to those pesky “Terms of Use/Service” (TOU/TOS) and “End-User License Agreement” (EULA) windows we have to click through every time a new patch is released.  

I see these terms being thrown around in-game and on the forums, and despite my efforts to correct player’s misconceptions on what the TOS and EULA actually do, the misinformation is rampant.  Hopefully this will help clear up some of the confusion!  The article centers on a question relevant to all League of Legends players:

 

What exactly are you agreeing to when you play League of Legends?

 

In this article I will quickly explain how the EULA and TOS are legally enforceable contracts, what the differences between the two are, and finally how they apply to the average player. I cannot stress enough that while I am doing a legal analysis, I cut through a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo and make conclusive statements for the purposes of entertainment. If you need legal advice, please speak with an attorney. 

I. Clickwrap Agreements
Just about every time you install a program, download a patch, or purchase from a website, you have to pass through a threshold of “agreements.” 

accept-button

Many of these agreements are called “shrinkwrap,” “clickwrap,” or “adhesive” agreements - where you don’t see/understand what you’ve agreed to until after you’ve already agreed to it. For example, many online games only allow you to see the TOS after you’ve bought the game, but before you can play it online.  A better example is a website, where you’ve already “agreed” to their TOS just by being on their site. 

Clickwrap agreements tend to have certain characteristics:

    • Clickwrap contracts are usually offered on a “take it or leave it” basis. In many contractual agreements, parties can negotiate over the terms of the contract, but in clickwrap contracts, the user has no bargaining power –they can either agree to all the terms or none.
    • As discussed above, click wrap agreements often apply post-transaction. For example, some companies (such as AutoDesk) typically don’t allow people to resell their software – but a customer might not know that until after they’ve purchased AutoCAD, and are going through the installation.

If your knee-jerk reaction is similar to what mine was, you might be thinking, “is that really a legal contract?”  Because let’s be honest, if you’re like most people, you simply don’t have the time to read every agreement you accept online.  Even if you read most, there will often be terms that won’t make sense until you start using the service/software (e.g., how many people could understand what “riot points” are prior to installing League of Legends?)   This part of why EULA/TOS are often considered to be adhesive contracts – most of us have no idea what it is we’re agreeing to.

So are these even legal?  The short answer is: Usually. There are, however, some limited exceptions:

    • Explicit Agreement: The rule of thumb is that a user must explicitly agree to an agreement before it becomes enforceable. If you don’t make an explicit act showing you are both aware of the terms and you agree to them, they are unlikely to be enforceable as a contract. While this isn’t exactly a problem for Riot (you have to click “I Agree” every time a new patch comes out), it is a notable exception to many software agreements.
    • Outrageous Terms. If there’s something absolutely ridiculous and unexpected hidden in the fine print (for example, the “immortal souls clause” that granted a British game company 7500 “soul-licenses”), that term or the whole agreement may be rendered invalid.
    • Application to minors.  In most situations, if you’re under the age of 18, you lack capacity to enter legally binding agreements.  This may provide an exception to click-wrap agreements in some situations, as the contract may be voidable

The takeaway is this: Clicking the “I agree” to Riot’s Terms of Use and End-User License Agreements probably creates a legally enforceable contract.

II. “EULA” vs. “TOS”

So since we already have no idea what we’re clicking, why are there so many boxes?  Why not just throw it all into one box and get it over with?  Although many portions of the EULA and TOS overlap, there is a fundamental distinction between each type of agreement:

EULA: EULAs govern the use of the software itself.  This is useful to stop unauthorized use of the game, as well as to disclaim liability for what it does to your system.

  • Example: Hosting your own “League of Legends” world championship, with dedicated servers to boot, would likely be a violation of the EULA if you used Riot’s software (and probably some intellectual property violations as well).
  • Example: Riot’s EULA would probably prevent them from being liable if League of Legends overheats your cardboard toaster. Which is really the best outcome for everyone.

EULAs are often extremely broad in what they cover.  Interestingly, Apple’s EULA for iTunes explicitly disallows use of their software for the development of weapons of mass destruction:

Apple v. Estate of Hussein is still pending.

TOS/TOU: The Terms of Service governs the use of a particular service offered. In Riot’s case, some of the services offered are the ability to create an account and a means to use that account via access to their servers. While you are using their service, you are expected to follow their rules – otherwise, they may terminate your access to the service, as per the  agreement. Most players will only be concerned with the TOS.

  • Example: Going idle or AFK in-game often enough can result in temporary or permanent suspension of your ability to access Riot’s servers, because you’ve agreed to allow LeaverBuster to monitor in-game activity.

The main difference between the TOS and the EULA for players is in the types of violations, and what Riot is able to do in terms of punishing players who breach these agreements. For the most part, the TOS will impact a user’s access to the service.  The EULA, on the other hand, will impact a user’s access to the software.

TOS Violations:

Say you’re having a bad game, and decide to spam “**** you all, **** ***-skilled *******s!!!” a few dozen times in all-chat. Assuming this violates the TOS, Riot’s punishments all involve your account’s use of the service (remember, the service is access to their servers) even to the extent of permanent bans. This is where I see a lot of confusion, especially when players argue for methods (such as uninstallation) to combat toxic behavior – they confuse the accounts for the players, and the service for the software.

Players are only able to access the service through an account, and thus, can only violate the TOS through the use of an account (the notable exception to this is browsing their website, but that is beyond the scope of this article).  The way Riot has their TOS set up, the account acts as a real-life shield for players – both for good and for evil. The account provides a layer of privacy protection and facilitates a pseudo-anonymous experience, a great benefit for online interactions. On the downside, it makes it very difficult to penetrate the account and punish players directly – especially when it’s difficult to prove that it was that player breaking the TOS (e.g., you’re in the middle of a match when you have to answer to door (it’s your turn to pay for the pizza), and when you get back to your computer, you find that your roommates have been soliciting some of the female characters in a manner rather inconsistent with that of a gentleman).

Under the TOS agreement, it is unlikely that Riot could force removal/uninstallation of the software. And the way Riot’s current TOS is set up, it would also be difficult  to enforce an IP ban (should Riot wish to implement such a penalty, it may be possible, but the TOS would likely need to be reworded).

EULA Violations:

A forced uninstallation (i.e., an injunction) could only occur through a EULA violation (although this doesn’t stop vigilante players from wishing it to upon less-than-desirable teammates). The terms of the EULA are much less relevant to most players.  However, they do clarify an interesting point: violations of the EULA would probably end up in court (or “mandatory arbitration”). This is where Riot would claim you’ve somehow overstepped the “fair use” of their product, perhaps by selling downloads to unsuspecting users, or attempting to “reverse engineer” their game to create your own, etc.  They’d be suing you for damages, injunctions, and possibly attorney’s fees, depending on the nature and extent of the violation.

To date, I have yet to see any pending complaints by Riot against any of their players.  Suing your customers is not the custom and practice of most business entities, and on top of that, Riot tends to be more forgiving to its player-base than most companies in the industry.  If they have had issues with EULA violations, it’s likely they have been taken care of using cease & desist letters – very common in the realm of IP violations.

TL; DR: The Terms of Service and EULA are legally enforceable contracts.  If a player violates the Terms of Service, their access to the service may be suspended but not necessarily their access to the software – that would require a violation of the EULA.

 

Like the article? Have any comments or suggestions? Post below and follow me on Twitter @VCDragoon

Special thanks to Chefo for working on images and formatting!

 

TeamCoastNew1

 

Introduce yourselves for those who may not be familiar with you.

Coast:  Darshan “ZionSpartan” Upadhyaya – Top, Danny “Shiphtur” Le – Mid, Josh “NintendudeX” Atkins – Jungle, Miles “Daydreamin” Hoard – Support, and Apollo “WizFujiiN” Price – AD.

 

Before we get into spring promotion, I want to talk about your recent run in the Challenger scene. You performed extremely well there, and finished with a 3-1 victory over Complexity in the NACL. What is it like playing at the challenger level?

Coast: The team enjoys playing in the LCS. We would prefer to never play another game at the Challenger level. That said, the process of playing competitively almost every day of the off-season will help us be more prepared for the next Split than the teams who took this time off.

 

What do you think the level of play in the challenger scene is, relative to the current LCS. Who do you think is the best current challenger team?

Coast: The NA Challenger teams we played in the off season are not close to level of play in the LCS. There did not seem to be a great deal of difference between the better Challenger teams.

 

What do you think are the biggest differences between the Pro and Challenger scene?

Coast: There are some good individual players at the Challenger level, but the teams do not play in the same coordinated fashion as LCS teams. Pro players also have a deeper understanding of the game, and much better overall mechanics.

 

What changes or improvements do you think, if any, should be made to the challenger circuit?

Coast: As the money that players can earn in the Challenger Circuit (and the LCS) increases, the quality of the teams will improve proportionally.

 

Jumping into promotion, what was your preparation like leading up to the matches against TWZ? Were you confident in your ability to come out on top?

Coast: We worked very hard to get ready for the Promotion match. There was no doubt in our mind we would win over any of the Challenger teams. While the match seemed close, it really wasn’t.

 

Did TWZ surprise you at all? What do you think was the biggest factor in them not making it?

Coast: The two hour delay after Game 1 surprised us, giving TWZ time to re-group and get their wits about them. The biggest factor for TWZ not making the LCS was having to play us.

 

Had TWZ played Curse or EG, do you think they would have been able to make it in?

Coast: Both Curse and EG would likely have beaten TWZ.

 

Now that you are back in the LCS, what are your goals for 2014? Where do you see yourself finishing? Who are your biggest threats?

Coast: We want to play one game at a time, and play our best. We are very confident in the way our team stacks up against the other teams in the league. Because of the way the team is playing right now, we like our chances against any team we will face.

 

Can you give us a personal power ranking of the current LCS teams, or where you see them finishing?

Coast: We believe our team will have a very good Spring Split. The final standings will depend upon who plays consistently well throughout the season. Although it is hard to predict the way the Split will end, we believe we are in the top tier of teams. There are many pundits who don’t like our chances of finishing well this Split. However, if you were to ask the other LCS teams about the strength of Coast, you would get a very different story.

 

How has the team adapted to the preseason changes?

Coast: We like the preseason changes, and feel it plays into our strengths.

 

You recently acquired WizFuJiiN as your AD carry. What led to this decision, and how has he fit into the team so far in terms of synergy?

Coast: WizFujiiN is an extremely strong AD Carry both mechanically and as a contributor to team play. The chemistry in our Bot Lane between Wiz and Daydreamin was on display during the Promotion Match. Wiz has a great attitude, and has brought a positive influence to the team.

 

Was Chaox ever a tryout for Coast? If so, why wasn’t he picked up?

Coast: Chaox did try out for Coast, and played with the team quite a bit. Chaox is a great guy…we have nothing but good things to say about him both as a player and as a friend of the team. At the end of the day, we felt WizFujiiN was the best overall choice for the team.

 

What is it like in a typical game for Coast? Is there a primary shot-caller?

Coast: One of the changes during the offseason has been improved team communication. Everyone on the team is more involved in shot-calling and making sure their teammates are aware of what is happening in the game.

 

What is your attitude when playing from behind, and how do you keep your head in the game?

Coast: Because we have experience coming from behind many times, we always try to believe we can win. Communication and a positive attitude help to keep everyone moving in the right direction.

 

How does the team spend time together outside of the game? Do you play other games besides League?

Coast: Being gamers, we pretty much play any game that involves someone winning and losing.

 

Something unknown about yourselves that you’re willing to share?

Coast: We secretly want to win the LoL World Championship.

 

Shoutouts/etc?

Coast: We’d like to thank our sponsors CyberPowerPC, LoL-Class, Corsair, and ClickPoint Software for supporting the team.

 

 

esports AMA banner

An AMA on E-sports, from the people who bring you lolesports.com, live broadcasting and epic times!

 

Reddit AMA Breakdown


 Rioters who’ve taken part in this AMA: RiotMagus, RiotNeckBeard, RiotNickAllen, RiotChoppers, Riot Hitstreak, RiotRavenBeauty


 

LoL E-sports Website

 

 

Any plan to include more statistics on the lolesports site such as Baron kills, Towers, First Blood, etc.?

 

MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: Stats are freaking awesome – thank you for this question. Please note a lot of stuff is in the works and don’t expect them week 1 of the LCS.

1) We’re trying to make real-time stats. We’re working some awesome devs to make this a reality.

2) We want stats in the broadcast. It improves the viewer experience and that’s a good thing.

3) We want stats to be interactive. Graphs for consumption and stuff is cool and all, but we want fans to have them at their fingertips and be able to look at cool trends. Look for more of this on lolesports.com and in our API in the future.

4) It would be even cooler if we could take all these real-time stats and make a fun meta-esports-game out of this… We’ve fantasized about this for awhile now ;)

edit: apparently I double posted so I deleted the less detailed one, gg.

 

 

Will you add more information about the teams on your website?

 

MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: The web and content teams worked hard to get the first iteration of the new design out, and we’ll be looking to add some bells and whistles over the next few months. We want a stronger team presence there but want to balance team access with quality consistency. Teams often contact us if they want their profiles tweaked / updated, etc., so we have a good relationship with them there.

 

 

How about text updates for those who can’t tune in to watch a game?

 

MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: Gamecast on ESPN is another great example of what you’re referring to. Real-time stats unlock so many features we take for granted with today’s sports.

 

 

 

Will the Challenger series be added?

 

MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: We won’t stop with Challenger – our goal is to cover all leagues on lolesports.com :) Need to hire up a team first!

Shameless plug: http://www.riotgames.com/careers/esports-web-content-coordinator

 

 

Suggestions / Improvements

 

 

Will you make changes to the bye system?

 

RiotNickAllenButton Rioter RiotNickAllen: As kick ass as Worlds was in Season 3, there are many ways we can improve–especially in terms of format. You won’t be seeing byes at the 2014 World Championship.

 

 

RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: Yes, we got a lot of feedback from the fans on our format this year and so we will be tweaking it accordingly. Can’t share too much information, but the short answer is ‘Yes’, and it’s going to be awesome :P

 

 

 

How do you feel about adding soundproof booths?

 

RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: We don’t like the glass booths, they actually aren’t fully soundproof (players still complain about sound leakage) and think they really isolate the players from being part of the fan experience.

We are always evolving the technology of the headsets our players use, and think with some tweaks and refinements on that end it accomplishes the same thing without separating players from the crowd.

 

 

Follow-up: Do you feel that players shouting game information can give an unfair advantage to either team?

 

RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: One cure to this is that we’ve started incorporating delays into the live feed, so if an audience is cheering so loud it may be a tell, that moment will have already passed. We catch-up during replays throughout the match so a team isn’t celebrating while the live audience is still watching a game end.

 

 

Are there plans to include audio-only streams, like radio?

 

MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: No current plans. When I drive and LCS is on, I boot up the twitch app on my phone to listen.

 

 

 

Are you planning on switching the format up for Worlds this year?

 

RiotNickAllenButton Rioter RiotNickAllen: We’ll definitely be making some changes for 2014. I can’t reveal all of the details just yet, but one thing is for sure–no more byes!

 

 

 

Will there be more integration with social media, other than Twitter Questions, during LCS?

 

Riot HitstreakButton Rioter Riot Hitstreak: Awesome question

I worked closely with the broadcast team on getting social more integrated with the broadcast this season. All of this takes a bit of time to ramp up but by the end of the season esports fans can expect the social experience to be much more compelling.

If we do contests this season, we’ll be bringing the prizing in-house to resolve the issues we had with prizing.

Social doesn’t cover Twitch chat. There are too many dongers. We are investigating ways to create more conversations on lolesports.com though.

 

 

LCS

 

 

Are you going to introduce an MVP-system this year?

 

MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: Hey – good question. I’ve tackled this in a Reddit thread about a week ago. We’re going to have a weekly MVP for NA LCS and EU LCS. Each split will also have an MVP that is selected by journalists, coaches, casters, etc. (industry insiders). Lastly, we’re also adding an MVP to Worlds this year.

 

 

Have you planned on making merchandise for the LCS?

 

RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: We are working on this as part of our larger merchandise efforts that are now underway (unfortunately still a ways away), but this particular aspect is something we know will be cool for fans and can’t wait to offer!

Will be so cool to see fans wearing jersey’s of their favorite players!

 

 

Follow-up: Why do we need to resort to third-party sellers for T-shirts, mugs and so on?

 

RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: Yea sorry – we know, and are building out a team that will be focused exclusively on merchandising efforts!

 

 

RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: We should just ship Fizz trident’s across the globe…that’d be awesome.

‘Boy, that escalated quickly. Brick killed a man with a Trident!’

 

 

Do you see the amount of teams in LCS increasing?

 

RiotNickAllenButton Rioter RiotNickAllen: We are constantly evaluating the number of teams in the LCS and the appropriate time to expand beyond 8. We take a lot of things into consideration: Ecosystem support, player talent pool, and schedule implications to name a few. For example in our current LCS format, adding even 2 more teams would add significantly more games to the year.

After making these considerations, we thought 8 teams was a good number for where NA and EU are as regions. With the new Challenger Series being introduced, as well as how strong Amateur level play has leveled up in the last few months, growing beyond 8 teams is something we will be seriously considering going into 2015. I apologize if that sounds like the safe answer, but we just want to be super careful that the time for expanding beyond 8 teams is right.

 

 

What’s going to make the LCS broadcast different than last season?

 

MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: Live audience in NA and a larger audience with a new studio in EU. More crowd noise is a great thing. We’re looking to incorporate more real-time stuff like stats and facts. We’re bringing on new casters. We’ve already added new music.

TLDR: Lots of subtle, small upgrades. The LCS broadcast was one of the better things in S3, expect more small upgrades and tweaks rather than massive overhauls.

 

 

How does Riot eSports feel about media surrounding the LCS?

 

RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: We think a thriving esports media is great for the LCS and all of the LoL esports community. Good media outlets drive fan discussion and interest in the sport, which benefits everyone. We try to promote good articles written by those outlets on lolesports.com as a way to bring attention to them. I think your idea for an esports news feed widget is an interesting one and I’ll pass that along to our web development team.

I hope that media outlets continue to grow the quality of the journalism coverage out there. Esports journalism started in the stone age – poor writing, consistency and story-telling, and the industry still has a ton of growing to do. However, I’m starting to believe that we can get there :)

 

 

Has the outcome of the Spring Split any influence on the teams that will compete at Worlds or will it be like last year?

 

RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: Same as last year with no influence on Worlds, but we will be introducing a new wrinkle that should be very exciting for fans and teams competing for the Spring Championship.

 

 

 

Will you add more incentive for teams to take the split more seriously, given that the results won’t affect Worlds?

 

RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: We expect teams will take it very seriously.

There is a lot of money at stake, there are sponsorship deals that probably reward winning, there is pride , and of course the scary thought of promotion/relegation.

 

 

Where do you see the LCS in five years time?

 

RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: That’s a really tough question to answer. If you asked me a year ago if we would be able to sell out Staples Center I would have probably rolled my eyes.

It’s growing faster than we could have ever imagined, but honestly our main focus is creating the most exciting and memorable experience for our fans, so we’ll be laser focused on that, who knows where it will take us.

 

 

Least favorite thing about the LCS?

 

MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: This is probably biased because I’m watching NFL playoffs, but right now I wish LCS playoffs were longer so fans could savor the drama of a tense post-season.

 

 

RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: Pauses and technical delays :P And Ocelote not being in the LCS right now…I love that guy.

 

 

 

What interesting changes can we expect for this year’s LCS?

 

MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: Having loud live audiences in NA and EU will improve the overall experience tremendously (both live and online).

 

 

 

 

Regulations

 

 

Do you plan on regulating owners/managers of teams so players don’t get cheated out of earnings?

 

Button Rioter RiotChopper: Great question. We are definitely taking steps to try to ensure that teams and managers hit a certain bar of professionalism and responsibility, but want to protect the rights of the players to work with the people they are comfortable with. We’ve seen some examples of great managers with no esports experience or formal business experience, and don’t want to do anything to prevent them from helping teams!

 

 

Why can’t one organization have two of its teams enter LCS?

 

Button Rioter RiotChopper: This is definitely an important point, glad you asked. Given the fact that our teams face each other four times per Split, we felt it would diminish the value of those games, and lead to many questions about incentives and the integrity of the match. We applied this rule to both EU and NA LCS because owning teams in multiple regions also leads to concerns about fair trades, Worlds matchups, etc.

We realize this is something permitted in other regions, and we are currently discussing (internally and with the regional teams) the systemwide effects of implementing that policy in those regions. We’ll continue to iterate on this policy as the ecosystem develops.

 

 

Coke Zero League

 

 

When does the Coke Zero Play-in start?

 

RiotNickAllenButton Rioter RiotNickAllen: The Challenger Series Play-In starts tomorrow! We won’t be streaming the round of 20, but will jump in to the round of 10 immediately following the LCS on the 2nd and 3rd days of Superweek. From there, you can expect CS nearly every day directly after the LCS broadcast.

 

 

What’ll happen to the Coke Zero League after the ELO boost bans?

 

Button Rioter RiotChopper: The elo boost bans actually came out after the ladder freeze and roster confirmation, by which point the team of the affected individual in NA had actually already disbanded. No team was DQ’ed from Challenger because of a single player’s elo boost ban, nor would they; teams can always pick up new players, and simply need to maintain 3 players from their ladder freeze roster.

 

 

E-sports

 

 

How did Riot decide to approach and support E-sports?

 

RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: Riot had always planned on developing League of Legends to become a competitive sport. It’s in the DNA of the game – tons of compelling and unique strategies that can win out in any given match, no 2 games are ever the same, it’s relatively easy to pick-up but impossible to master, teamwork is a core competency, etc.

While we knew it would be competitive and fun at all levels, we had no idea it would turn in to the professional / spectator sport it has now become, and it’s pretty humbling to see it surpass any of the expectations on that front, and then some. After seeing the fans show up in droves at our Season 1 finals, we knew if we focused on building a compelling experience it would grow, but nobody ever expected this.

Brandon and Marc are both huge esport fans (even Brandon’s wife watches most of the LCS matches), and they’ve both really driven the passion and furor around esports that resonates throughout the whole company. I’m glad they decided to make it such a core focus, otherwise I would be out of a job

 

 

In how many years do you think eSports will be accepted as “real” sports?

 

RiotShantzilla Button Rioter RiotShantzilla: I don’t think any of us consider it to be a binary “accepted” or “not accepted”, but rather a gradual process. Right now there’s plenty of people the world over that consider esports a real sport (myself included). We’ve already seen tons of progress in converting viewers to this perspective.

At the end of the day, I fully expect to be watching eSports with my kids (that’s about 5-10 years away, hopefully). They’ll grow up thinking of digital sports in the exact same light as traditional phsyical sports. Who knows, by then there may be a hybrid product..

 

 

Rioters in E-sports

 

 

How do you guys prepare for events?

 

RiotShantzilla Button Rioter RiotShantzilla: Believe it or not, the days in BETWEEN broadcasts are generally the most busy. There’s an incredible amount of planning and preparation that goes into each week, but the unique responsibilities of each person differs pretty widely. Add on to that any special projects or forward-planning plans, and you end up clocking quite a few hours a week. :)

 

 

What does that typical day of someone in the Riot eSports department consist of?

 

MagusButton Rioter RiotMagus: It differs tremendously from day-to-day. Logistically, my role involves a lot of meetings, as I work with each group within esports. I’ll do meetings for most of the day (10am-7pm or so) and then spend several hours or more answering emails, reviewing projects we’re working on, brainstorming new stufff, etc.

It’s a very social, hard-working environment. We try to freely share ideas so that anyone can poke holes in them and make them better. That means it’s incredibly fun because the people on the team are awesome, but you also need to be the type of person that likes to give and receive constructive criticism in order to thrive.

 

Button Rioter RiotRavenBeauty: A typical day in Esports is pretty atypical at Riot. Some days are filled with meetings about upcoming scheduling and logistics, syncs with the LCS teams, ideating with our video producers, catching up on 1-on-1s with other Rioters.. and other days start bright and early at the studio, to put on the best damn show we can for you :)

 

 

What’s the most satisfying part about your job?

 

RiotShantzilla Button Rioter RiotShantzilla: Hands down the best part of being in esports for me personally? Seeing players cheering at live events. Before I worked at Riot, I was a cheering player right along side the (small) events I could attend. To be able to see Staples full of people having a great time… feels good man.

 

 

How hard is it to get such a job / what are the required qualifications?

 

Button Rioter RiotRavenBeauty: Tbh, it’s not an easy feat to get your foot in the door anywhere in Esports, and the candidate pool for Riot is quite competitive. Don’t let that scare you from applying though! Different roles require different attributes and levels of experience, but there are some fundamental qualities we look for in all Esports candidates: Intelligence, Passion, Strong Communication Skills, Problem-Solving Prowess, and Culture Fit. If you’re interested in seeing more detailed requirements for each role, you can check out our careers page,http://www.riotgames.com/careers.

 

RiotShantzilla Button Rioter RiotShantzilla: We pretty much don’t have any specific requirements (generally looking for all-around rockstars). But if you’re looking to aim your career towards eSports, I’d say get in some eSports experience before you apply. Because it’s such a developing and “wild west” part of the industry, you can’t exactly follow a set academic path, for example (no schools have an “eSports Management” major yet :P). If you’re in college, get involved with your local eSports club (or start your own). Already past those years? There’s a myriad of opportunities for people to get involved with amateur events, article writing, starting their own show, etc. Show us your passion through your past actions!

 

 

Other

 

 

In which country will the All-Star 2014 be held?

 

RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: I’m actually in Cologne at the moment with RiotMagus and Ariel Horn to kick off the EU LCS, and then we are doing some final site visits (outside of Germany?) before we let all of you guys know where the magic will happen.

 

 

 

Will we get Silver Scrapes back again?

 

Riot HitstreakButton Rioter Riot Hitstreak: Silver Scrapes is here forever.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twtW2qG8P0g

 

 

 

What kind of international competition will we see this year outside of All-Stars and Worlds?

 

RedBeardButton Rioter RiotRedBeard: Not much, to be honest. We know the fans love seeing international competitions, and Battle of the Atlantic was a fun tournament, but we want to ensure that Worlds remains pretty special in that regard. It’s why the World Cup is so infrequent, or why each sport has their once-a-year events like the Super Bowl, World Series, etc.

There is still IEM Katowice!

 

 

How much does the competitive scene shape the patches we get?

 

RiotShantzilla Button Rioter RiotShantzilla: It’s definitely a factor, but absolutely not the only one. The competitive scene is ultimately an incredibly small portion of the total player base, but is looked to by players of all skill ranges to guide the meta and showcase what new champions can do.

When our kickass Core Gameplay team works on balance changes, they not only have to take into account what an Irelia nerf will do to the Diamond 1/Challenger players, but also to the Bronze V players who main her.

It’s a complex and incredibly delicate dance, and those guys work freaking hard.

 

 

Missed any recent articles? Check below:


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CW_YoungBuck

 

 

Introduce yourself to those who may not be familiar with you.

Youngbuck:  I am Joey ”Youngbuck” Steltenpool and I play the top lane for Copenhagen Wolves.

 

What was the process behind the addition of FORG1VEN and Amazing to the team? What were you looking for in replacing them?

Youngbuck: I’ve always held Amazing in high regard and knew he was one of the best junglers in Europe and Shook also recommended him so he was a very easy pick for us.

The ADC role was very hard because we needed a very high mechanic player that could replace Rekkles. Forgiven was the third or fourth guy we tested and it so turned out we accidentally found the best ADC in Europe.

 

Do you think the current roster is stronger than before? How has your playstyle changed between the two sets of players? Was it difficult adjusting or was there some type of natural synergy?

Youngbuck:  I think we are a lot stronger because we started to focus a lot more on training teamwork and stopped relying on individual skill completely. The synergy came very naturally aswell as the new players communicated very well with us.

 

Of all the teams you have been on, do you feel this one is the strongest?

Youngbuck:  I think it is the strongest one, the previous CW being a close second one and Samurai in Jeans or Curse.Eu being a good third.

 

You reached LCS on your third try. What is it like to finally achieve your goal and how did you stay motivated? What was your mindset like going into each promotion series?

Youngbuck:  I stayed motivated because it was something I wanted bad enough and I knew I could do it. The first two times I knew I could very well qualify but also had the possibility of losing in my mind. The third one made me the most nervous moment because the situation we found ourselves in was too perfect, a team this strong against a team this weak made me think it was a now or never moment.

 

What are the goals for the team now that you have made the LCS, heading into 2014?

Youngbuck:  We are looking to survive the first split and gaining the LCS experience and the second split we are looking to qualify for worlds. I wouldn’t be surprised if we would finish in the top 3 in both splits but I wouldn’t be surprised with 4th-6th either.

 

Are there plans for a gaming house,  and does the team plan to stream?

Youngbuck:  We are actively looking for a gaming house but as of now we are going to practice in the Riot studio while staying in a hotel.

 

What is your practice schedule like? Is there a lot of research involved?

Youngbuck:  We are practicing at least 5 hours a day with the team and besides that players are free to solo queue. Research usually comes the last days before the games and we talk a lot about the strategy and champion select the 2 days leading up to a match.

 

How do you think you will perform in the upcoming split? Do you expect to make it to Summer without entering relegation?

Youngbuck:  I think we can make it into the top 4 but this is by far the split with the strongest teams ever in EU LCS. Anything can happen I only see LD and SK ending in 7th and 8th in almost every scenario.

 

Who do you think are the strongest teams in the upcoming split and can you give a brief reason why?

Youngbuck:  Alliance is looking to be a favorite this season with strong individual skill in every role and a good showing at BotA. Gambit has also looked incredible the last months winning  BotA and IEM Cologne.

 

Which top laners give you the most trouble? Who do you feel are the current best top laners in europe?

Youngbuck:   Zorozero gave me the most trouble in practice but having said that NiP was one of the 2-3 teams we scrimmed leading up to the LCS. The best top laners right now are Wickd, Darien and Soaz.

 

What are your thoughts so far on the preseason changes? Is there anything in particular you like or dislike? Have they had an impact on your playstyle? What changes would you like to see, if any?

Youngbuck:  I love the new changes. It feels like teamplay is rewarded a lot more and at the same time laningphase is much more about individual skill and matchups because trinkets allow for safer dueling.

 

What is the current state of top lane in your opinion? What do you feel top laners can do to make the most impact in game? Thoughts on current itemization(& items in general)/changes you want to see?

Youngbuck:  I like the meta a lot since I excel in the tanky meta myself. One of the things yo usee often now is that the toplaner with the best matchup proxy farms behind the tower a lot, making sure the enemy stays under the top tower while the proxy farmer is able to put pressure in the jungle or roam towards mid.

 

Which champions do you feel are the most dominant right now? Are there some tops who are currently undervalued? Is there anyone you’d like to see make an appearance or return to competitive play?

Youngbuck:  The strongest toplaners are Mundo, Shyvana, Rengar and Renekton. Each having a skill set that is just a little bit different, Renekton being stronger early on,  Shyvana being a great proxy farmer and pusher while Mundo has a somewhat weaker early but beast lategame. Rengar is a jack of all trades but really excels at lategame splitpushing and roaming during the mid game.

Who should I play top if I want to wreck soloqueue?

Youngbuck:  Renekton, strongest early game hero and a safe pick with almost no counters.

 

Who do you think is the best Renekton player in the world?

Youngbuck:  I think I am the best Renekton, but I’m also the only one who has mained him since the start of Season 2 and played him often in Season 1 as well.

 

As the captain, what exactly is it you do in game? How is shotcalling handled within the team? What type of role do you play outside of the game?

Youngbuck:  When we are in game the shotcalling is done by everyone however I do call the champion selects often and make final decisions if people are disagreeing. I also schedule the scrims and am a vocal point for the team if something is going wrong.

 

What is your favorite soda, besides Vanilla coke?

Youngbuck:  Dr Pepper is a close second but I also like chocolate milk a lot.

 

Tell us something unknown about yourself.

Youngbuck:  I used to train in Mixed Martial arts and Kickboxing.

 

Shoutouts?

Youngbuck: Shoutout to my fans, friends and family and thanks to CW and our sponsors; Steelseries, Obutto, Komplett and Cooler Master.

 

 

The Current Situation

Rumors are growing in the world of LoL esports. There’s always been rumors regarding specific player swaps, especially after major events or when tensions seem high, but never anything as major as whole team restructures. However the League of Legends rumor scene has been growing lately. First with the EU SUPER TEAM rumors from the the past couple of months, and more recently with rumors regarding Evil Genuises buying Velocity’s LCS Relegation spot. These rumors show an interesting growth of League of Legends esports. It’s not just about the hype of live events, but fans are going to great lengths to unravel what’s going on behind closed doors. Even if the rumors are false, the discussion of “What If” scenarios helps develop perspective on the intricacies of LoL esports.

The Evil Geniuses to Velocity Rumor

The EU SUPERTEAM rumor faded away as rosters shuffled and players seemingly confirmed that change was going on, but not what was predicted. There was a twist though: what if the EU SUPERTEAM was still going to exist, but across the pond in North America? This is a quick summary of the Evil Geniuses to Velocity Rumor. Note: nothing here is confirmed by this article. The rumors are still rumors.

EG has supposedly bought a slot in the North American LCS Qualifiers from Velocity. Velocity currently has no team and very few North American prospects are likely to beat the strongest challenger team (expected to be Quantic). EG would transfer three of its players to the newly purchased Velocity slot:  Krepo, Yellowpete, and Snoopeh. They would then be joined by two Americans: Pobelter (Mid), and Innox (Top, former Napkins in Diguise player). There are some variations on this rumor. For example it may be the organization Alliance that ends up with the spot, but both Alliance and Evil Genuises have the same owner and aren’t too far apart in terms of organization.

EG’s roster would be Shook, Wickd, Tabzz, Nyph, and Froggen.Velocity’s final roster would be Yellowpete, Krepo, Snoopeh, Innox, and Pobelter.

 

Is this rumor true?

It hasn’t been confirmed. However there’s quite a bit of theorycrafting going on in r/leagueoflegends and a bulk of the theories can be found in this thread. A question still stands: is this a logical choice for EG? Interestingly enough, yes. This is a viable route for EG  as these changes help them maintain a successful European squad, give them a high possibility of adding an American LCS team, and maintain the personalities that made EG so successful.

Successful European Squad

The general opinion of EG last split has been “Good, but could be better.” During the LCS Summer Split season they finished in third place. This would show success, but they were still tied with three other teams and close to the Win/Loss rate of every team except Meet Your Makers. The ties showed that the majority of the European LCS was on equal terms . Worse for EG they placed fourth during the Summer Split playoffs and were unable to qualify for Worlds. While EG could carry on without major change and stay in the LCS, they likely want to jockey for a first place position. If they want to make that move they’re going to have to buff up the EU squad, either through new players or a breakthrough in the team’s structure.

 

standingsSeason 3 EU Summer LCS Standings. Source: Leaguepedia

EG is under a lot of pressure to stay at number one. This makes stalling to see what happens in the spring split difficult. There is also additional pressure coming from their competition as many teams have beefed up their teams with their own sets of roster changes. For exampole Gambit Gaming has Edward back and Fnatic has Rekkles. There are massive roster swaps going on in many EU teams and Evil Genuises are likely to lose even their fourth place position if they can’t show improvement. Unfortunately EG is an older team, and as a result there are less options to bring significant improvement to the team. More structure can always help, but it’s possible that EG with it’s current roster is starting to cap out on how well they’ll perform. Players get older, competition gets better, relationships get strained, and it’s hard to maintain a number one position without looking for fresh blood or major change. So it goes in the world of sports, and so it goes in the world of esports.

Maintaining Personalities

The “Snoopeh Stare”

League of Legends has major differences compared to traditional sports when it comes to fandom. Tim Tebow brought a lot of controversy to the fans of the Denver Broncos, but when he left the team there wasn’t a mass exodus of Tebowites following him in his pursuits and watching him stream. However, if CLG released Doublelift or Dignitas released Scarra there would be huge repercussions in the teams’ respective fanbases. A lot of this is due to very few teams being regional, and very few fans having regional pride. Coloradans fans will root for the Broncos since they’re the home team, but TSM fans are worldwide.

Fans tend to be attracted to skill, history, and personality. All of EGs members have these traits and it’s in better interest for both the players and the organization to avoid severing ties. EG knows how to take care of its players with sponsorship and the players bring a lot of good will,  more sponsors, and fandom to EG. There are a lot of great LoL players out there, but there aren’t too many that have over 100,000 twitter followers and bring hype to a team just by being on it. EG splitting their team up helps bring a lot of new energy to both the American and European team, while maintaining the personalities that have built up EG in the League of Legends scene.

 

Can they even make NA LCS?

File:QuanticGamingLogo.png

If the new North American Evil Geniuses Squad was going up against an unstoppable super team, this swap would just throw away a bunch of solid players. Velocity took 8th place in the NA Summer Split Season and as a result they don’t have a choice for their opponent during relegations. Velocity’s expected opponent is Quantic, a team of Korean players that moved to North America. Quantic had a rough start when their first streamed match had them playing on sub-30 accounts, but the team has been improving dramatically over the past few months. It’s hard to judge how well Quantic will perform versus EG since none of their competition has been European and it’s unknown if they win scrims consistently versus LCS teams. Results aren’t the best showing either as they’ve been able to beat Coast in a best of three, but still lost in the group stages of the first LCS Relegations Qualifier. They’re looking incredibly scary though, and most teams feel that they’ve just been getting progressively stronger and are likely to face whoever is in that Velocity slot.

American EG has one major issue: The team is composed of five players that haven’t played together as a team for a huge amount of time. Snoopeh, Yellowpete, and Krepo all have their past, but communication between the solo lanes and jungler has always been crucial. Innox and Pobelter aren’t necessarily the most consistent players either. Pobelter is hard to judge since he hasn’t seen a significant amount of competitive play recently, but Innox had quite a few feast or famine games while playing in the NACL. However, with the backing and structure of a major organization like Evil Genuises or Alliance it’s very possible that Innox and Pobelter could be whipped  to gel with their European counterparts quite quickly. There isn’t a clear answer as to which team is stronger, especially with the 3.14 patch completely changing vision, support, and jungling. Will Gunza be able to step up carry from the support position? How will Innox and Pobelter merge with their new foriegn friends? What about viable champions: Nasus is considered powerful, but will teams know what tricks to bust out compared to their counterparts? Answers to these questions will have to wait until game day, but both the theoretical North American Evil Geniuses and Quantic could win the best of five.

Quantic – The Major Threat

No one knows if this rumor will go through. Even if it was true when posted, it’s very possible that words and money behind the scenes cancelled the deal. Hell, this rumor surfacing could be the nail in the coffin for the EUROPEAN AMERICAN SUPER SQUAD. It’s not like EG hasn’t had a new LoL team leaked in the past, and the they may not stand for it again. Regardless, until Velocity fields their team for the LCS Relegations nothing is known. Read a rumor, toss out some theory, and always remember that until a rumor actually happens: it’s unconfirmed.

Christopher Grant

@LeagueOfStudio

Categories: Esports, LoL News, Original Content Tags:

 

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First off, what is something unknown or that very little people know about you?

Alex Ich: Dunno, not sure if everyone knows yet that I am married, I have a beautiful child and his name is Dmitry.

 

Thoughts on the teams at worlds and did everyone make it as far as you expected? Did any of the outcomes surprise you?

Alex Ich: I don’t think that outcomes surprised me, only Samsung Ozone did worse than expected, but everything else was ok, I think we could have done better though.

 

Who do you think is the current strongest team in the LCS? Who do you expect to be the best in Season 4?

Alex Ich: With all the current changes I cannot answer this question. Time will show

 

Zed, Kassadin, and Ahri recently received changes. What would you have done differently, if anything, to tune these champions?

 

Alex Ich: Kassadin’s obvious nerf should be increasing ult cd, I would say the same for ahri’s ult and zed’s ult. All these heroes power is from their ultimates, so you should nerf them but not their kit overall. They can assassinate too often and it is bad.

 

What is it like playing under pressure for you, how do you handle high pressure situations?

Alex Ich: I think I just got used to it.

 

What is your opinion of Faker?

Alex Ich: I think that he is good, LOL.

 

What do you think seperates your playstyle from other mid laners? Is there a “best” way to play the role, or is it based on your teams overall plan?

Alex Ich: I think that my playstyle is a bit farm oriented, not sure if it is the best way to play but it is strong, my goal is to farm and become beast until the lanephase ends. I think that I excel at playing mobile assassin heroes

 

Are there any champions you want to see return to competitive play? Who, and what would make them viable?

Alex Ich: I would like to see a Ryze buff so he can get more playable for me. I don’t think that he is that good at the moment.

 

Do you think the mid lane is more important in EU than other regions? What about EU’s midlaner playstyle is different?

Alex Ich: I think that jungle is the most important role and most of the time junglers get mid lane rolling, but people give less credit to jungler and more to mid laner because he has a better score.

 

Who is the shotcaller within the team and how are things like objectives handled? Is there always a goal in mind or do you just takeopportunities as they come?  

Alex Ich: We have everyone speaking, I think it is one of the best ways to handle it, though has some flaws. Most of the time you can’t see all the game yourself so it’s good that people say their opinions, you only need to filter and help so there will be no mess.

 

What should a mid laner do to make the most impact on the game for his team?

Alex Ich: He should farm, roam, not feed, play good champion, good positioning. For example if you play orianna, u need to stay on range, use all your skills, save your ad carry, land op ultimate and not get caught, its hard.

What champions are you current favorite to play as? Who is your least favorite to play against right now? Who do you think the strongest mid champion is currently?

Alex Ich: My favourite champion to play is Kha’Zix though I am not sure if I want to play him competitively. Least favorite to play against is Riven and the strongest is Orianna/Gragas/Nidalee, something like that.

 

Who is the toughest mid laner you have faced?

Alex Ich: I would say Xpeke, dunno why but I got most problems with him in lane.

 

How have you and the team been spending the offseason?

Everyone is spending his time with the family, so we don’t spend the time together. We are still training though, preparing to IEM.

 

Is Froggen still one of the best mids in the world?

Alex Ich: Yes he is

 

What do you like to do in your free time?

Alex Ich: I like spending my time with wife and child, play soloq and play some other games.

 

Looking into Season 4, do you think the current top teams will stay on top, or new ones emerge as we have seen in the past? Do you think SKT can stay as dominant as they have been?

 

Alex Ich: I don’t know, I am not oracles, everything can happen, I would say there will be a lot of changes.

 

Do you feel the NA region is weaker than other regions overall? Will they emerge in Season 4? What prevents them from growing as rapidly as other regions?

Alex Ich: I think that NA region is not weaker than other regions, they have C9 who are really strong and  TSM can get big with Bjergsen, so I would say they should be ok.

 

How do you feel about the roster changes announced so far in Europe? What team will they impact the most?

Alex Ich: Dunno every team will be hugely impacted because of changes. We should just wait and see how it goes.

 

Reginald recently retired as a player, and Ocelote stepped down from the main roster of SK gaming.  We’ve seen your thoughts on them, but what was it like playing against them?

Haven’t played against Reginald for ages so don’t really remember, but tbh both Ocelote and Reginald were good midlaners, so playing against them was fun. In tournaments I got an edge most of the time though.

 

How do you feel about the current format of the LCS and World Championship? Do you think there should be changes for Season 4?

Alex Ich: I think that travelling every week for teams is bad thing. I would say that travelling just once every 2 weeks would be much better. And I think that games should be bo2 because the game is hugely dependent on side and pick and it can change in the next patch.

 

What do you think has been the biggest issue so far when finding a new support player? What are the biggest obstacles you have faced while trialing other players? What are you looking for in your support?

Alex Ich: We need a Russian speaking support that plays well. We have little time, so you should just pick and go. Most of the time we cannot just change support during the season, because we cannot take a Russian support, due to the fact that it takes around 1 month to get him passport+visa.

 

This was actually supposed to say “Will Edward ever return to Gambit?”, however it was recently announced that he is returning to your roster. What led to this decision? Not being able to find other supports that were as good or fit the team, or something else?

Alex Ich: I think that he knows that he will do the best in our team and we will do better with him, I would say it is just synergy.

 

Now that Edward has returned, do you expect Gambit to be back in top form?

Alex Ich: Yes

 

What are Edwards biggest strengths and what does he bring to the team that other supports can’t? What does he lack or need to improve in?

Alex Ich: Edward has one of the highest percentage of skillshots landed, he has huge experience and he is not stressful. I think his temper is explosive so he needs to work a bit on that, but overall I think he is a beast support.

 

Do you ever wish you could play a different role? If so, what would it be?

Alex Ich: I like to play ad and jungle in soloq, but I would say that mid suits me the most, though sometimes heroes get out of my meta.

 

How does the team plan to prepare for Season 4? What types of improvements overall does the team need the most? How about you individually, what would you like to improve on the most and what do you feel you are currently weakest in?

Alex Ich: I think we need to see the changes of season 4 first to know what we and I myself should change. I would say that we need to know next year’s LCS system and depending on that plan better our training because it is the weakest part of our team.

 

Thoughts on Mandatorycloud? Do you feel he is the best mid laner in NA?

Alex Ich: Not with Bjergsen been there. I think he is mechanically good , though he lacks experience and his or rather his team transition into mid-late game is not that good. He needs to improve on that part of game.

 

Predictions for the upcoming Battle of the Atlantic?

Alex Ich: I don’t do predictions, we should win our games though :D

 

Are there any item changes you want to see? Or perhaps a new type of item for the mid lane?

Alex Ich: Zhonya’s nerf please, thank you.

Bjergsen was recently the latest European player to head to NA by joining TSM. How much of an impact do you think he will have on the team, and will he live up to the standard TSM has set the past 3 seasons? How good of a mid is Bjergsen compared to other NA mids? Do you expect to see more international team rosters as the game progresses?

Alex Ich:  The more the game progresses – more money included – more transfers like in professional gaming. I would say that Bjergsen is really strong mid and if not strongest then one of the strongest in NA. TSM should do better with him because Reginald will control them and will have more time for handling TSM as organization so there will be five players fully related on game.

 

Anything else?

Alex Ich: Dunno, delete Riven from game? Tired of playing against her.

 

Shoutouts!

Alex Ich: I want to thank Gambit, BenQ, Steelseries, Pringles and Twitch for helping and supporting me and my team. Also I want to thank all our fans all over the world for watching our plays and rooting for us. I hope we will do even better now and in season 4 with Edward and I hope our team won’t have any more changes and internal problems.

 

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