As a new challenger recently entered the arena to take down League of Legends from its throne of Free to Play online games, I thought it is high time to dust the old fortune teller crystal ball and see what the future has in store for our favorite game. Ready? Abracadabra!
As you might have guessed, the challenger is nothing else but Blizzard’s brand new shooter…I mean Moba…umm…okay, actually no one knows what Overwatch is. Blizzard always preferred to revolutionize game genres, so it is no surprise that we can’t put a well defined label on this one.
What is interesting is that even though the game only resembles LoL in its champion system ( each hero having a few abilites, one of them being a more powerful one, the ultimate, just like in LoL) and its’ cartoonish style, the playerbase of LoL took a massive hit since Overwatch was released. This is mostly true to South Korea, but if the trend continues we might see the western player-base abandoning LoL and giving in to the new game, looking for a fresh experience.
The main reason behind this migration is said to be Dynamic Queue that was introduced earlier this season. Players, mostly high ranked ones, had enough of the matchmaking system, which made the once glorious Solo Queue way more casual. You never know when you will bump into a 5-man premade that will just trample over your team, even though you are individually better than them. Add in the fact that queue times get longer the higher you are in the ranked ladder, and the reasoning behind leaving the game for chances of finding a more competitive one becomes quite understandable.
Thankfully, Riot Games finally started to listen to the community, and are proposing a few ideas on their forum about possible tweaks to the Dynamic Queue. The most reasonable solution so far seems to be the split ladder: this would basically mean that you would only win/lose league points if you queue alone ( or in duo). If you choose to play with more friends, your performance would only have an effect in the more casual “Team Ladder”. This feature would drastically reduce the amount of 5-man premades stomping the poor solo guys, and so far there seems to be no drawback to it ( well, except for the queue times potentially getting even longer).
“What?”-you might ask. And you are completely right. What does football ( or soccer for you my friends from the USA) have to do with League? Well, this started a few months ago when German football club FC Schalke 04 bought a spot in the European LCS. If the trend continues and other big boys like Schalke come to aid the LoL scene with their billions of euros, then expect the popularity of the game to skyrocket.
Although we live in 2016, the majority of people still tend to have questions about eSports being a serious thing. Well, as years go by and the prizes for competitions go up, reaching and passing the million dollar/euro mark, and also with the player salaries rising, we can’t deny the fact that eSports is real. Not only it is real, it is huge, and it will only grow from now on.
Names like Schalke 04 buying an LCS spot will certainly have consequences on the scene. If nothing else, the money flow will help balance the economy of the EULCS to stay competitive compared to NALCS, where celebrities have already started investing in the game last year, and the Chinese LPL, where billionaires buy teams for their sons for their birthday, because why not?
We have to look out for future announcements from these big clubs. Mark my words, they will come very soon!
Yes and no. While it would take a 10/10 game from Blizzard to steal the fanbase of the game, let’s not forget that if someone, then they are capable of pulling that off. They have done it with Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, WoW, and to a certain extenct HearthStone. This better be a wake up call for the guys at Riot Games. Having competition is always good, as the developers finally have to prove their worth to the fanbase. They can’t go on without being punished for not fixing major problems in their game, like the Dynamic Queue.
I think now is the time for Riot to really focus on the community. If they do it right, not only they will preserve the current fanbase, but they will have a bright future with the big organizations buying themselves into eSports. If however, they fail to keep up with Overwatch, the money will most likely flow to the competition, along with players…a lot of players. Let’s hope that won’t happen, and we can continue to play and have a better experience at doing so than ever!