Is League of Legends still Riot's crown jewel 13 years later? We travel to the LEC Finals to watch the finals

Is League of Legends still Riot's crown jewel 13 years later? We travel to the LEC Finals to watch t

At this point, League of Legends has broken through and risen through tectonic shifts in the global arena, ultimately claiming victory among its competitors, both within its genre and without. There''s a good chance that a zoomer in an NA team will laugh at them. If I see someone in old-school Shalke attire, I''m liable to french kiss them.

The walls beneath this world of competitive video games keep grinding, resulting in Riot Games expanding its constant influence to new pastures, which the league of Legends mobile game has difficult to reach. Wild Rift, the once-one, daunting mountain, has enlisted the help of fans and players of its most popular competitor, CS:GO. Legends of Runeterra has reached unprecedented highs, spawning a slew of familial peaks.

This is certainly fantastic for Riot and its base, but with titles like Project L and the distant Riot MMO on the way, what is the role of League of Legends in this modern landscape? Is it still as important as it was to be, surrounded by fresher, growing games?

I reached Malmo, Sweden, to watch the LEC Summer Split finals. I talked with fan, shoutcasters, and senior staff to reach an agreement on where League of Legends sits in the hearts and minds of its most passionate fans thirteen years after it was released on our screens.

We''re beginning with the fans, the glue that keeps this whole thing together. With the first live crowd present since 2019 due to COVID restrictions and lockdowns, the atmosphere around the arena and the adjacent LEC expo was bouncing between an aura of joy and one of relief. Alex, his three friends, Kate, David, and Owen traveled to Malmo from the United Kingdom and Ireland each in their respective teams kit to watch the finals.

Im greeted with smirks and tepid laughter from the players. Sure, Alex gets to know his peers with similar stories. Even now, I still like to play. Each of them has been involved in the competition scene and the game itself for several years.

Which of the other Riot Games titles is under the umbrella? Well, according to those on the ground at Europe''s largest League event this year, general optimism was the norm. Ive recently begun following Valorant, and it''s pretty fun. This is my first ever live event. I wanted to go to one in London back in 2017, but I was just unable to make it at the time.

Harry, among literally thousands of other like-minded players and spectators, took the trip to Malmo now that crowds were returning to the arena and packing out the 15,500-capacity arena over the weekend. Compare this to CS:GO, an excellent and endlessly popular esports title, which had 732,573 peak viewers online. In this context, it is difficult to overlook the continuing impact League has on the wider-esports landscape, even if additional games are following its ascending trajectory.

Trevor Quickshot Henry, one of the most famous commentators for League of Legends (as well as a prominent presence over the weekend), sees the League taking up a distinguished, familial relationship with other Riot titles.

Henry says that as the oldest kid to be born in the shadow of the world, you get a lot of knowledge and experience: first of all, you get to learn, and you get to know each other about it. I believe when you look at Valorant, the ecosystem, and the broadcasting world, it''s the older brother who is going to university. League of Legends.

Second, I think when you look at how the ecosystem has evolved and the speed at which it has evolved, you realize that it''s two and a half years of grassroots tournament-to-tournament, and already you''re working on partnership models. Finally, you think, League of Legends took a decade to figure that out.

Youve got League continuing to grow, and youveve got sister games following a path that has been struck out by Riot''s decades-long growth to popularity, but how do you keep it in a top position? According to Alberto Guerrero, the EU''s esports department has made special events such as the LEC Finals into larger, more fan-focused events.

Strategically it is one of the areas I think will grow in the future. I envision a future where teams can compete, and why not three or four days of activities for the community. Depending on how many times you have spent, you may interact with the players, and with the partners we have that desire to do things with them. This is for me, it is a starting point and is one of the areas I think we will succeed.

Alberto is adamant about the quality and ease they have achieved in terms of physical events. I don''t intend to mention any specific media. I really believe that mainstream media is important. So I want to say that we can be good content for any TV channel. For me, it''s more about keeping doing what we are doing, and the development online will come for certain. We are going to the largest closed venues we can go to, and we are also in every city. I''m not sure how it works out.

It remains to be seen whether League of Legends is still on the top in three, five, or ten years, but it''s impossible to say if another challenger will strike the ranks, or interest will suddenly decline overnight. But even ten years later, it''s hard to argue that League of Legends is not the Everest of gaming at least right now.

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