The Importance of Worlds for League of Legends
Tue 4th Dec 2018 - 8:28pm
I began writing this short article three weeks ago, sitting at London Luton Airport in the early morning, as I anxiously waited for my flight to Bologna, Italy. It was 08:25 AM. I was excited for the weekend ahead, for the gorgeous architecture and the incredible Italian food that was waiting for me on the other side.
There was something else going on, however. Something huge, like the most important League of Legends five-game series in history, the 2018 World Championship Final. It was sixteen minutes of the very first game and Invictus Gaming was in the lead, seven kills to two versus Fnatic. We all know how it ended now, but to see a Western team in the Worlds Final, to hold onto the hopes of European success, it was a feeling you get from little else. As a follower of European Football and a die-hard fan of AC Milan, I noticed the similarities in emotions. They were the same ones I often experienced watching Milan play in the Champions League. The hope of glory, the positivity, and maybe a little stress. Okay, a lot of stress!
I remember what it meant when the Finals came to Europe, when I found out there would be games held in Wembley, a few minutes from home. I remember how it felt to see Faker's aura and brush his shoulder with my pinky. I remember how awesome it was to get to talk to Soaz, to Steak, to Krepo... and to Travis, a professional esports journalist, living the dream I'd like to live one day. When Worlds hits your city, it's one of the most exciting things in the world, because the fans show up with that love and you finally get a chance to mingle with the best of the best.
Photos taken in October 2015, at the Worlds 2015 quarter finals held in Wembley, London. (From left to right: Faker, Travis, Steak)
For any practicing fan of a sport, or in this case esport, witnessing the best of the best duking it out for the ultimate trophy should represent a drive. The whole tournament was, for me, a reflection of some of my un-chased dreams. I mean, I’m happy to sit in Gold/Platinum for the rest of my life, but, to see the sheer dedication and skill these professional players have worked on and developed is aspiring and can be applied to all aims in life, not just gaming. Isn’t it awesome to see individuals getting paid for and living off their dream? I’m inspired.
When the plane took off, Fnatic was down a game. When I landed, and my phone finally connected to the Italian Network, I opened up google with the same positivity I felt two hours prior. Invictus Gaming 3-0 Fnatic. Shucks! You tried boys.
Few esports have had this level of following, this effect on viewers and players around the globe. I’ve been playing League for five years, some more than others, but I have never missed the big events. Seeing the game continue to morph and develop has been amazing, and it is great to see the West has shown to be able to keep pace, and after seven seasons, three LCS teams stood in the Worlds semi-finals, and one had the chance to take it all home. Unprecedented!
Whatever it was, whatever has changed and taken NA & EU teams out of the international shadows, I hope it’s here to stay.
The success achieved, regardless of the final outcome, should inspire you too. It’s going to be an exciting future for North American and European players, and if you’re outstanding at the game, now is the time to showcase that. With the breath of fresh air Worlds has brought to the Western shores this year, we should be reminded that we can show up against the best.
Keep it up, enjoy the Christmas period and get ready to show them what you’ve got when Season 9 starts.
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