Eleven rating seasons have passed since the release of League of Legends and more than seven years since the opening of the Russian-language server. Millions of free chests were handed out on e-sports broadcasts and thousands of cosplays were made for the sexiest champions, the best of which were tacitly recognized by the fans from the CIS as drag queens Zachary Sneaky Scuderi… At the same time, the activity of lolers on social networks and on streaming sites is minimal, and news about the game does not attract even a tenth of the attention of users. Why did this happen?



If we ignore the superficial reasons for the low popularity of League of Legends in the CIS, such as “anime setting”, “bad graphics” and “risk for orientation”, we get many more objective points about why MOBA from Riot Games cannot boast of audience indicators at least from the point esports perspective.

It was not by chance that I chose the phrase-meme about psychoanalysts. I’ve been playing League of Legends for over ten years, and I took my first steps in my esports career as a psychologist at the Hard Random Academy. In truth, then the roster did not need a specialist in this profile, and besides, my competence ended in three advanced training courses – time management, communication psychology and organization management psychology. I assure you: it sounds more useful than it actually is. Then I managed to study the interaction of the e-sports team from the inside, even though I did not save the team from defeat in the most important final for it and the subsequent disband.

I did not want to part with eSports, although I would have earned more in any other area – at that time the staff salary was about $ 150. Almost all olds started with this, regardless of discipline. Back in HR, I discovered a craving for statistical information and analytics, so for the next two years I was engaged in collecting information about the meta, drawing heat maps for setting wards, monitoring the SoloQ of esports players and analyzing draft tournament matches. The teams with which I collaborated twice reached the final of the main league in LoL in the CIS – in the spring of 2017 Vaevictis eSports conceded, and in the summer of 2018 Dragon army lost Gambit Esports… Responsibility for such a high result in both cases lies with the players and the coaches, and I was the analyst-mascot, drawing tables on Google. Beautiful and informative.

The last professional season for me was the eighth. Before him, you could wake me up in the middle of the night, and I would easily remember which champions this or that LCL player chose in a week, how many minions he farm per minute, how often he dies on the lane, and other funny statistical information. In 2018, League of Legends in the CIS, which is considered by many to be stillborn, was on its deathbed, and I left it in search of new facets of the esports career of a person who does not know how to play at a high level himself.

The landing in the journalistic field was the most obvious: it turns out that now I work practically in my specialty (publishing). My path began with the League of Legends section on MID.TV, but the portal suddenly closed, and therefore I had to finally say goodbye to the idea of ​​devoting my whole life to MOBA from Riot Games and take a leap of faith on I have been here for a year and now I hardly notice the difference between news on LoL, Dota 2, CS: GO or regular video games. Although it is League of Legends that still belongs to my heart, to be honest with you …

Dota 2> LoL

One of the reasons for the low popularity of League of Legends in the CIS is the existence of Dota 2. The topic is on the surface, so let’s start with it. First of all, the low response to LoL in Russia was influenced by the popularity of the first Dota. The release of the second part lured most of the users into the upgraded version and thus got a core audience. The larger the layer of such an audience, the more popular the game, because word of mouth is the most effective way to advertise something in the post-Soviet space. Yes, LoL was out in the West by the time Dota 2 was released. But how often do we catch trends from abroad quickly? The question is rhetorical.

Art by Lucian from League of Legends. At the entrance, his worst enemy is Thresh. And some liberties in Photoshop ...

Art by Lucian from League of Legends. At the entrance, his worst enemy is Thresh. And some liberties in Photoshop …

The Russian-language server of the League has an incredibly bad opening timing – almost three years later, after Dota 2 was released. large-scale game. Moreover, it was not a shooter, strategy or MMORPG that ruled the show in the multiplayer genres. The audience got what they needed. In the CIS, there was no longer a need for this, and the niche was occupied.

The failure of the Russian-speaking office of Riot Games “first convocation”

It is not known for certain what task the first employees of the Russian-speaking office of Riot Games faced, as well as the amount of funding from the parent studio, but rumors are different. I cannot say for sure, but the pursuit of profit among the responsible persons could be one of the reasons for LoL’s poor start in the region.

Let me fantasize: most likely, none of the employees of the first office perceived League of Legends as something close. It was an ordinary office job, with a good salary in hard currency. Surely, many understood that the business model of the American division of Riot Games simply could not work in the CIS. It was necessary to go out of his way and invent something new, to popularize the game, using the national flavor and looking back at the mentality. However, working with the Big Riot patterns was easier. Wish it was effective.

Closed eSports system

LoL championships are grouped by territory. National teams fight each other all year round, meeting only twice with representatives from other regions. In my opinion, this is too little. In addition, there is historically low competition in our region, and many matches are simply not interesting to watch. At the same time, even by supporting “our guys”, we know how to sincerely root for teams from other regions. The old anecdote about football immediately comes to mind: “Who are you going to root for at the World Cup? – For Russia! – And then?”. LoL has a similar story. For lack of “friends” in the usual sense, most of the audience chose the favorite among the major regions – Europe, but they enjoy watching Korea, China and North America. But there is one problem.

The matches of the European regular season have not been broadcast in Russian since the liquidation of broadcasts from StarLadder. Yes, you can watch the tournament in English, but even with sufficient knowledge of the language, it is not interesting for everyone. In addition, some regional leagues stream only in the national language, and without knowledge of Japanese or Portuguese, you can’t join such broadcasts.

There are no young talents in the region – teams simply shuffle the “oldies”

The CIS has a regional league – LCL. It was created in 2016, which is rightfully considered the best year in the esports history of the discipline in the CIS in terms of results and prospects – then the future of LoL in the region seemed brighter than ever, because Albus NoX Luna entered the top 8 teams in the world. Success Unicorns of love in 2023 is also impressive, but hardly impressed by the Riot Games headquarters, which has already begun to chop off unprofitable assets. The sword of Damocles still hangs over the region.

Before the creation of the official league from Riot Games, there were championships from StarLadder, which also had the status of main ones, and even earlier – single tournaments like PRCH and Techlabs. Alds may also remember that Riot Games once brought EU LCS to us, but then the CIS did not have their own leagues yet.

Despite the clearly structured professional scene since the days of Tsar Pea, the really strong players in League of Legends in the CIS can be counted on one hand. The task of the scouts is to correctly assemble the puzzle during the reshuffles, but every year it becomes more difficult to mix. Individually, the majority of esports players who are signed by teams from the lower half of the standings cannot compete with players from teams that advance to the playoffs. It doesn’t matter what exactly is the root cause – the loss of a skill over the years or its initial absence, but the fact remains: collecting a roster of individually weaker players, at the end you get a miracle Yudo and forever remain outside the brackets of the best-of series.

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