In 2021, the two largest esports tournaments are 2021 World Championship and The International 10 (2021) – will run parallel to each other. Both can be watched by MultiTwitch masters, but most viewers will have to choose. At first glance, everything is simple: Dotters will watch the Dota 2 tournament, and the lolers will watch League of Legends. However, many viewers enjoy watching large-scale eSports events in various disciplines, so they will be confused. Especially for the undecided, I have identified several reasons why Worlds is better than The International … but for some, perhaps the opposite.
Riot Games is longer than Valve
The League of Legends World Championship runs from October 5 to November 6, with a full month dedicated to it. The matches of the main Dota 2 tournament of the year will be played from October 7 to 17, in just ten days.
To begin with, let’s skip the convenience of the audience, who will have to borrow the time flywheel from Hermione Granger in order to enjoy all the matches of The International and at the same time be able to go to work, study and do household chores – we will talk about this in the next paragraph. Let’s pay attention to the preparation of the two companies directly for the world championships in their disciplines.
It’s incredibly disappointing that the group stage of The International is still taking place in hotel rooms. It may make a little more sense in times of coronavirus than before, but it is unlikely that Valve would change the rules, even if COVID-19 was not rampant in the world. Because group matches are played from training rooms, TI fits into six days of the playoff stage for the general audience (everything else is just boring to watch if you’re not a discipline fan). Too fast! You know, it’s like summer in the northern regions of Russia – if you worked on those very hot days, then consider that it was not.
Riot Games is attentive to every team meeting. Players from small regions, including the CIS, can feel like real stars in the spotlight. At Worlds, any match (even “boring” due to the absence of an influential tag or top name) is played in a cool studio, pre-prepared content is shown in front of it, and all the esports details of the contenders for the cup are told. And it’s not people from the on-air teams who are creating such content, but Riot Games itself!
If you follow the news, you know that Valve already started preparation for The International at the National Stadium in Bucharest. In two weeks, the scenery for the Dota 2 tournament will be built there. It is not known how long ago Riot Games began to decorate the hall in Reykjavik, but to assume that the League of Legends developers will spend no less on renting the premises, at least due to the duration of the event, I still I will risk it. The numbers are not disclosed, so you can easily challenge the thesis in the comments.
I think an important plus in the karma of Riot Games is the fact that all teams will play on a stage decorated to the highest standard, albeit without fans. For an ordinary viewer who does not fumble about big names and names, even an outsider match will be no less cool than any truly hype meeting. On the other hand, this year Valve jumped over its head: the company managed not only not to cancel TI, but also to give fans the opportunity to watch matches at the stadium. Respect for this
Dense vs. busy schedule: Worlds is for spectators, TI is for players
Riot Games targets audiences. The format of most leagues, with the exception of Asian ones, has been adjusted many times, taking into account the viewer activity. It is surprising to many that in 2021 professional teams at the World Cup are still playing single-elimination. The main argument for this format is the minimum number of matches with the maximum entertainment. Collectives have no room for error, and spectators are chained to monitor screens for only a few best-of-X episodes.
Riot Games is trying to form the schedule of all official LoL events so that the viewer does not lose concentration and sit at the screens until the end every game day. Additional activities are usually held before important meetings – in this way Riot Games can convey the necessary information to the maximum number of viewers who are sitting on the stream waiting for their favorites.
Of course, Riot Games cannot determine a favorite with a 100% guarantee and arrange for him exclusively prime-time games, but assume that around a possible meeting Fnatic and T1 there will be additional hype, pretty easy. Even at the World Championships, the scheme of keeping the audience on the stream and culminating in the moment of the hottest battle works.
It is worth noting that Valve also resorts to similar shenanigans with additional activities (hero announcement, cosplay fashion show, etc.), and the talents invited by the company work in live. However, most of the work on additional content at TI is done by regional studios already off the main air, as it is packed with matches to the eyeballs.
This is usually very cool content, but on TI days there is too much of it. It is difficult for the average viewer to combine watching a video from Maincast, an hour-long live show from RuHub, and watching several (well, if not parallel) best-of-3s. And at the same time, you still want to look at the pirate stream to NS! By the end of the game day, even the most dedicated fan will complain of a headache over the amount of content they tried to cram into them.
At Riot Games, between the semi-finals and the decisive confrontation, the players are given a week. Thanks to this gap, viewers can discuss everything that happened, make new predictions and fully prepare for the finale. Teams and especially coaches and analysts work hard all week to create the best gameplay in their careers. In the final, the teams demonstrate all their strength and power – and, thanks to the extra week, they do it masterly. Viewers can refill the refrigerator with soft drinks and chipsets.
To summarize this sub-point: although both Riot Games and Valve have a lot to show, the authors of League of Legends are building the broadcast grid much more intelligently. I think the whole point is that Riots are working on the format in terms of spectator comfort, and Volvo is simply banging matches one after another, with the goal of identifying the best Dota team. Sometimes at the end of Worlds it seems that you are left a little hungry, you want more matches. At the end of The International, I want to say: “Well, finally, the Dota 2 marathon is over.”
Catch the wave! You can recharge with the atmosphere long before Worlds
Riot Games is generously donating League of Legends esports fans with content ahead of the start of the World Cup. This approach launches a hype-train all over the Internet, thanks to which even not very active viewers remember that Worlds exists and find information about the event schedule. Devoted viewers also do not complain about the content, because you never have time to get tired: it is always issued in portions, and sometimes with a long prelude. For example, the official track of Worlds 2021 entitled Burn It All Down was eagerly awaited by hundreds of thousands of fans – all September on reddit every now and then published topics with the only question: “Where ?!”. And they invariably flew to the top.