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
Any plan to include more statistics on the lolesports site such as Baron kills, Towers, First Blood, etc.?
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?
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?
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?
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
Will you make changes to the bye system?
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.
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
How do you feel about adding soundproof booths?
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?
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?
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?
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 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.
Are you going to introduce an MVP-system this year?
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?
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?
RiotRedBeard: Yea sorry – we know, and are building out a team that will be focused exclusively on merchandising efforts!
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
RiotMagus: Having loud live audiences in NA and EU will improve the overall experience tremendously (both live and online).
Do you plan on regulating owners/managers of teams so players don’t get cheated out of earnings?
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?
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.
When does the Coke Zero Play-in start?
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?
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.
How did Riot decide to approach and support E-sports?
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: 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..
How do you guys prepare for events?
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?
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.
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: 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?
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: 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!
In which country will the All-Star 2014 be held?
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 Hitstreak: Silver Scrapes is here forever.
What kind of international competition will we see this year outside of All-Stars and Worlds?
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: 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.
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