Riot & the Future of E-Sports (Forbes article)

Discussion in 'General Chit-chat' started by Gon, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. Gon

    Gon Active Member

    Interesting interview with Riot CEO about the future of esports and season 3: http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngau...-of-legends-championship-series-season-three/

    Some things of note:
    - They are working with TV production companies that work with the NFL, NBA, NHL...
    - Creating some international league featuring top pro teams with salaried players, a weekly regular season schedule, and then playoffs and multi million $$ championship.
    - Hints at "battle arenas" made for the LoL matches.
  2. CrystalChaos

    CrystalChaos Moderator Staff Member

    nice that competitive gaming is becoming more popular

    too bad it's just LoL
  3. Sirlin

    Sirlin Steward of the Realm Staff Member

    They will further convince people that forced grinding in a supposedly competitive game is ok and acceptable. The idea of just picking your side in chess, or your character in street fighter, or your race in starcraft...the days are numbered as Riot's influence grows. It seems real competition will give way to whatever this is.
  4. FimPhym

    FimPhym Well-Known Member

    If psychological tricks that make you keep playing are so bad, how come they retain so many players? checkmate sirlin
  5. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    This is all Blizzard's fault for not promoting Starcraft 2 eSports more.
  6. Gon

    Gon Active Member

    Well with the aggressive push for esports prominence it might not be too long until you get starcraft updates on ESPN!!!
  7. Kayin

    Kayin Well-Known Member

    Yeah I can't see this as anything but a good thing. Would it be better if it was some other game? Yes. But does that make this bad? Not really. Just less good than some theoretical dream world I wish I was in. I mean heck, DOTA2 came into the same market advertising basically the OPPOSITE of what Riot is and really, the more awareness people have of what true competitive play in any game looks like, the more likely they might eventually get fed up with grinding.

    In a sense, when a game is really really popular, it doesn't simply elicit copy cats, it also elicit games that try and offer what it doesn't. I mean heck, LoLs success is a drop in the bucket when it comes to the huge list of reasons why one would make a forced grind game (which is unfortunate, no doubt!), but it does give something to compare and contrast your self too.
  8. specs

    specs Well-Known Member

    The only new sport I want in the Olympics is Shirling.

  9. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Well-Known Member

    I'll believe it when i see it. If riot great at one thing it's PR. If you haven't picked up on that yet then you haven't been paying attention. I have little doubt that just because it's forbes asking the questions instead of players that they won't exaggerate the scenarios. I'd believe they've talked to them and are working on a deal, and i'd also believe they're still no where close to scoring one. This isn't because of my extreme hate for the game, but quite simply a fact. They MIGHT bite and go for it. It's true numbers are finally getting to where real money cares, but I'm still extremely skeptical of all of these claims.

    IF it does happen i'll regret that it's riot, but it's probably a good thing in the long run...or it's going to set back competitive gaming another 4 years.

    Possible outcome 1- It does well. Very well. Advertisers who weren't on the boat may start looking at other big games that are jumping at a chance to break in big. Depending on how they view it they might grab dota because it's similar or they might grab SC2 because it's huge. Probably SC2. If that does well as well we could see more. Like it or not what it really takes to make a competitive environment is startup money and riot claims to have it so it could work. People put up with all SORTS of bullshit in other sports simply because they've gotten used to it and everyone just accepts it(bad reffing, poor games, overly dominate teams, etc). If riot can throw enough money at this to get past the gimmick phase it could open the door for everyone else. The problem in my eyes is that this will totally change how large of a company riot is. And I REALLY don't want them getting more influence over the market.

    Possible outcome 2- It does well at first and then TANKS, because quite frankly I don't think LoL matches are often good enough to keep people interested. I really do think LoL can have good matches, but the design behind the game means that a large majority of them are not. IF this catches as big as they want it too it's going to require more than just the occasional "wow look at this game! Wasn't it cool?" match. If they seriously fuck up and people get bored and drop it as a gimmick(i'm thinking robotwars/battlebots scenario here) then advertisers are going to assume that all competitive games are just that. A gimmick that can't last. I do think that lol's shitty competitive systems mean that this is more likely to happen than if something else had been picked.

    There's a lot of other possibilities of course, but I think these are the most important 2.
    Remy77077 likes this.
  10. MarquisLek

    MarquisLek New Member

    Seeing as riot is owned by the 3rd largest internet company in the world (Tencent) I think "If riot can throw enough money at this to get past the gimmick phase" is definitely possible

    Also in terms of PR Riot has been kind of honest about it http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/123689/gdc_2011_riot_games_league_of_.php
    their whole games as services thing is pretty much about it
  11. Oni

    Oni Active Member


    I think the gimmick phase is something to consider, too. Gimmicks to interest as many people, then once it becomes popular enough, competition for audience share will become apparent. Then we will (hopefully) see real competitive games being aired.
  12. SillySod

    SillySod Active Member

    Robot wars was fun before they replaced everything with battles :(
  13. Polari

    Polari Well-Known Member

    I noted that the interview was about Riot dumping yet more money into their own tournaments, not anyone else caring about competitive LoL.
  14. deluks917

    deluks917 Yomi League 1 Champion

    LOL is a good game
  15. Fenrir

    Fenrir Well-Known Member

    LoL is the worst game that I can't stop playing.
  16. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    Worst than WoW?
  17. Fenrir

    Fenrir Well-Known Member

    I stopped playing WoW. So I guess, yes.
  18. banewlf

    banewlf Well-Known Member

    I think the negative effect this will have due to being a forced grind game is greatly exaggerated. Yes, forced grind is terrible and a terrible standard to set, but more exposure for competitive games is far more important than the negative this brings. It will greatly increase the chance of success of games that aren't based on a force grind to shine and become more well known.

    However, I think LoL is a bad first outing for esports to move into the mainstream for a different reason. LoL, and MOBAs in general, require a huge amount of knowledge to meaningfully spectate. When you see a 5v5 teamfight, even with spectacular commentating to help explain what's happening, if you aren't extremely familiar with the game you will just see a lot of flashy colors and effects and then one team comes out ahead. One will not be able to really follow the action at all. This isn't fun to watch in the slightest.

    As opposed to any fighting game which is highly entertaining, even if you don't understand the intricacies (Hey, ryu punched the other guy a bunch of times and his health dropped, I get that!). This is a very bad quality and will probably hinder how popular this will get. If LoL's outing does fail, it will probably spell doom for any other games to break out into the mainstream in the near future, as they will be viewed as too likely to fail.
    Remy77077 likes this.
  19. Gon

    Gon Active Member

    One thing I saw them do in a recent tourney, is slow the game speed down to 1/2 or 1/4 normal speed so you could see step by step what exactly was happening. It actually makes it a lot easier to follow. They have also been using markers to draw paths and movements, just like they do in NFL replays. It really helps and I think there are things they can do to make it easier to spectate for casuals.
  20. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Well-Known Member

    "What are you doing?" "watching evo footage" "that akuma's lame. He should do xyz move!"

    Yeah...no. I mean valid points on Moba's and knowledge but seriously I feel like fighters can't win. Either they're marvel, which can be exciting but looks like a color orgy until you know what the fuck you're looking at, or they're too slow or "lame". Doesn't help when combo porn games have unexciting loops that look even less interesting.
  21. banewlf

    banewlf Well-Known Member

    My point is that everything that happens in a fighting game is understandable even if you've never played the game (Stuff hits people, usually fists or feet, and health goes down). Whenever you see an Udyr bear stance up to someone and stun them, unless you've played the game, you have no idea why the other champion isn't moving or fighting back or what that big red ring (Maokai's ult) is actually doing. It's very confusing and reduces the enjoyment by a lot (trust me, I only started playing league about a month ago and I tried watching games before I started playing, so this is very fresh in my mind).

    My main point is that for fighting games spectators really don't need to know the intricacies of footsies or zoning to understand the action. All of that can be explained by commentators later, as well. And, they are really fun to watch even when you don't understand those things. MOBAs are incredibly dull to watch unless you really understand the deeper system.

    Also, I wasn't trying to say fighting games should "win" in this, I was just using them as an example. First person shooters are also extremely fun to watch even if you don't understand the greater strategy involved or know anything about the game. I'm sure there are plenty of other genre's I'm not even considering that fit this mold as well.
  22. zem

    zem Super Moderator Staff Member

  23. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    Strongly disagree. Two guys moving back and forth for no obvious reason. Someone starts hitting, lots of flash and colour, a health-bar goes down and someone lies on the ground. Stand-up, repeat, someone has won for no obvious reason.

    Fighters are faaar to fast to watch properly if you don't have knowledge about the game. Go watch RTS 1v1 (SC2, WC3, DoW2, ...) with a good commentator and you will not only understand what is happening (after some games) but also learn a lot about the game.
  24. Kristoph

    Kristoph Well-Known Member

    ok yeah but seriously though, banewlf is totally right. I don't know really anything about like, basketball or football "plays," or specific strategies or whatever. But! There's a whole ton of cool stuff happening that I can totally make sense of, regardless of foreknowledge or even commentary. Oh he totally faked that guy out, wow that was a really long run, blah blah blah. Sports all seem to share this in common, but I feel like fighting games are the clear standout as far as competitive gaming goes.

    Sure, you get people who are like "all Guile does is spam Sonic Booms," but that's like, the exact point here. If fighting games weren't easy to watch, you wouldn't be getting those kinds of terrible (but understandable) observations in the first place!

    Meanwhile, Starcraft seems to have its share of easy-to-"understand" stuff ("Beautiful Forcefield!!!!"). Mostly it just benefits from impeccable commentary, only three races that are easily distinguishable, and a win condition (and pacing) that generally makes a lot of sense. I'll have to watch more LoL in a bit, but from what I've seen it doesn't really have any of those things. There seem to be about a thousand million characters so who knows what's going on screen when there are ten of them ramming into eachother. More importantly, it seems really really difficult to tell when one team is decisively winning or losing (maybe that's a commentary issue though). Also the first ten minutes of the videos I've seen so far are just light commentary while the players choose/ban their characters. That's just weird.

    Anyway, fighting games obviously suffer from the whole "there's a bunch of secretly important stuff that flies over most everyone's head in a matter of seconds" thing. But as a casual viewer of certain sports, indepth knowledge isn't really what I'm interested in.
  25. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    I agree with bane that fighting games are easy to watch. The only thing holding back the spectator quality is the commentating (even though I like the commentators themselves). In SC most big events get the commentators to commentate for newbies who know nothing, fighting game events commentate for fans of fight games.

    Games like DotA2 have great spectating qualities (just watch sick jukes/kills), but since the game is so long and action is so spread out the spectator quality suffers as it's a huge struggle to grasp the excitement of the positioning/farming parts of the game and there's a high risk of commentators missing action. LoL is less for spectating though because you don't get much of that juking/ganking game and you need to know way more about hero mechanics (which are also more complicated) than you would for DotA.

    SC2 goes both ways, the battles spectate really well and the positional game is easier to see, but you lose a lot of the build order and scouting strategy that's going on. Then if things are going on in multiple places it's difficult for commentators, even skilled ones, to keep up. Skilled commentators also can't always
  26. tataki

    tataki Well-Known Member

    As much as I don't like the sheep mentality of the western FG scene, in E-sports things are ten times worse. They take 1 or 2 titles, put them on a pedestal and worship them like no other video game exists.

    So don't expect LoL or even SC2 to ever improve and fix what you don't like about them, because so many people see them as "perfect".
  27. swordsman3003

    swordsman3003 Well-Known Member

    That's true of any sport. When was the last time they changed the rules of Soccer/Football?
  28. Eji1700

    Eji1700 Well-Known Member

    Depends on what group you're referring too. FIFA's last change was 92. The smaller non world wide bodies have had more frequent changes.
  29. tataki

    tataki Well-Known Member

    "And so Virtua Fighter is a game, much like Basketball, Baseball, Soccer, Rugby and Tennis, the only difference being that the latter are real-world games, with long traditions and rules worked out and perfected over centuries, and with graphics and sound and control that cannot possibly be improved, whereas Virtua Fighter is an electronic game, a piece of imperfect code running on a piece of imperfect hardware, both of which can be improved.
    And so we improve them! Year after year teams of specialists sit down and work their asses off, half of them messing with the code, the other half with the hardware, so that the end result, the experience -- that is to say, the game -- can be improved. To become faster, tighter, more responsive. More complex -- and therefore more interesting. Better looking and better sounding."

    Video games improve because they can. You could not make a Melty Blood AACC 15 years ago. Now you can. And you'll be able to create even better video games 15 years from now. But the "esports" mentality tries to put evolution on hold... They would rather have illusions of "this very specific video game from year 1998 is the best we'll ever have." than to try to explore how you can improve upon it.
  30. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    To many people, myself included, the value of competition increases the higher level of mastery there is. It takes time to master a game, playing a new one every 6 months ruins that.

    Updating a game just for the sake of updating it doesn't help anything. Hell it usually hurts the quality of the game instead.

    Say what you will about various games, but there are no e-sports competitors that have the same level of mastery over their games as a BW player does.
    swordsman3003 and icewolf34 like this.
  31. tataki

    tataki Well-Known Member

    Do you know what the word "improvement" means? Address what I said, not what I didn't say.

    I really don't care about a level of mastery some dude who plays BW for 20 years straight, in the same manner I don't care about the best Donkey Kong arcade player.
    I do care about games getting better, and that requires ignoring such people who wanna play the same shit forever and ever.
  32. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    Right I hear what you say, and I know that the games that manage to stand up incredibly well to the test of time are hard to improve (see BW -> SC2). If you don't have a clear plan of how to make the game better updating it for the sake of updating it doesn't help the competitive side of things.

    Also relevant, games like BW stayed around because they got patched so they WERE continuously improved. Fighting games only recently started getting patches.
  33. tataki

    tataki Well-Known Member

    Who says the improvement to SC can only come from another game named SC? Blizzard made SC2 knowing very well they don't have to compete over the crowd with other games.
    And what do "patches" have to do with anything? Fighting games were constantly improved and tweaked over the years, only that you called it with different names. "version","sequel" etc. etc.
    People played VF back in 1993 and they are still playing VF today. It "stayed around" just as much, and even gave you a better visual-audio experience with every "patch"...
  34. Gon

    Gon Active Member

    I think one big problem with E-sports is that unless they adapt or find some way to be constantly evolving, they run the risk of becoming stale to the playerbase/viewers. Though maybe higher quality broadcasts along with promotion and marketing of player personalities will keep spectators interested.
  35. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    There's a difference between something you owned being updated to be better and having to go buy VF again to keep playing it.

    They don't have to compete because there is no competition. It has nothing to do with a sheep mentality or anything like that. There is no other RTS on the same level as Starcraft. Even Blizzard's own non-Starcraft RTSes can't compete with Starcraft (though it's arguably the closest since it shares the same level of production quality).
  36. CWheezy

    CWheezy Well-Known Member

    I will point out that major league sports rules change roughly every year
  37. swordsman3003

    swordsman3003 Well-Known Member

    It doesn't sound to me like you're saying the games should be improved, it sounds like you're saying you're sick of the currently or traditionally popular games and wish people played something else.

    I'll rephrase my question: How often does a new sport altogether become popular?

    So you're complaining about StarCraft and its successors have been among the most popular e-sports games for over 10 years...but are you a cyberathlete? Or are you just a bored spectator?

    I have a feeling that the reason one single game - with small changes - remains popular for so long is that people who play games competetively would like to focus on *being* great at a game they feel is good for competition, instead of spending a lot of time and effort learning the game, especially if they fear the game may turn out to have problems being a competetive game. It's pretty much the worst case scenario for a cyberathelete to try to pick up a new game only to have it fizzle out.

    Think about how like SF2 and its variants were used. My thoughts are that the reason e-sports games don't change all the time is that's detrimental to a competitive environment and cyberatheletes are averse to the idea.

    Are you the kind of person who buys a new videogame every so often just for the joy of playing a new game? I respect that, and that's why I buy new games. But that sort of satisfaction matters a lot less in e-sports, I think.
  38. BeastofBurden

    BeastofBurden Well-Known Member

    Cyberathlete :psyduck:
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  39. -Y-

    -Y- Well-Known Member

    I assume worst means. I'm hooked on it waaay more. I.e. you spent more time on LoL than on WoW (in summary).
  40. Gon

    Gon Active Member

    I'm really curious to see if other big video companies follow Riot's lead and say... "Hey look at what they are doing, let's do something like that too!"

    I mean this sort of could be the start of E-sports as a whole really gaining momentum. Does anyone know anything about any other companies making aggressive moves in terms of marketing or whatever?
  41. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    Valve and Blizzard both of which do things to actually support e-sports rather than throw money at competitions purely because it comes back to them in F2P profit. Sure Blizzard could be doing more, but just because a lot of their efforts are international.

    Blizzard has taken the promotion of their e-sports friendly games to a higher level than anyone else... literally! (I only mean this for the joke, it's not really true)
    [​IMG]
    Remy77077 likes this.
  42. bbobjs

    bbobjs Well-Known Member

    Wait why's Blizzard doing a cross promotion with Pepsi?
    Remy77077 likes this.
  43. Fenrir

    Fenrir Well-Known Member

    Which is why HD Remix (and sf2 in general) is so good. Simple, readable interface, it's not a combo fetish game like marvel. It's slow enough so that you can see what's happening but you'd have to be nuts to call HD: Remix lame. Especially when you compare it to SFIV or Street Fighter Cross Tekken.

    - Time for an aside. No one seem to be able to figure out the obvious thing about SFxT. Everyone is complaining that it's Down+Back the game. And they're right to do so because defence is crazy strong. I watched a few tournament games where people were just sitting on their life lead and waiting for the timer, ugh, awful.

    But I keep seeing people blame this on easy reversals. The problem isn't that reversals are easy it's that offence is shit. That game has literally the weakest throws I've ever seen in a fighting game (yeah, worse than BB). Terrible range, slow to start and easy to tech, awful. It has variable wake'up times and options to roll on wakeup. Everyone has slow overheads and poor mix-ups and all the block strings are one frame links so if you want to pressure your execution has to be flawless. Plus the stages are huge and the life-bars are really long. No wonder people sit on block.

    Contrast SF2. Short health bars mean you can't sit on block because one screw up will cost you your whole lead. Throwing is epic strong so just blocking is not an acceptable defence.
    SFxT sucks because throws suck. Rant over.

    What're valve and blizz doing on the e-sports front?
    Remy77077 likes this.
  44. Fenrir

    Fenrir Well-Known Member

    I meant that LoL is a bad game. I don't like about 10,000 things about it's design. And I really hate it's core mechanic of slippery-slope feedback. I genuinely think it's a bad game. But I can't stop playing. I'm still waiting on someone to make an ARTS game that's free from the DotA meta-game. I think I'd dig that. I'm gonna try blood lines champions.
  45. icewolf34

    icewolf34 Well-Known Member

    What do you mean by 'free from the DotA meta-game'?

    I thought Demigod looked really interesting, but my friends who tried it didn't like it at all.
  46. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    Valve:
    • Put up a couple million for tournaments (TI1 & TI2)
    • In game streaming
    • In game tournament list & browser featuring the ability to buy & sell access to a tournament and its replays
    • A lot of work on the spectator mode to make it top notch
    • Free for everyone. Not F2P, just free.
    • LAN Mode instead of being greedy
    Blizzard:
    The whole Korea thing where they're signing deals for the continued broadcasting of their game plus they host their own tournaments quite regularly (at least one a year for blizzcon or one in place of blizzcon.
  47. Fenrir

    Fenrir Well-Known Member

    I mean, the same control scheme and interface (more or less) but without lanes, creeps, last hitting etc. Something using the same control mechanics but with different objectives and win conditions. Maybe the diablo 3 battle arenas will be interesting in that area. I dunno.

    Also, I like demi-god but it had huge technical problems on launch which killed any hope of a community. It only had 10 champs and never gained enough traction to be worth adding more. In reality it only had one champ. UNCLEAN BEAST! If you've played it you know of what I speak. It was a bit flawed. But also it was still just lanes, turrets and creeps, so not super innovative.

    I did really like the mechanic of being able to spend your gold on things other than just items. Like you could buy upgraded creeps or add new creep types to your creep spawns. You could upgrade your towers with more health and with regen. It was pretty cool.
  48. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    The upgraded creep mechanic was pretty bad in execution though because it was optimal to just bank up and buy them all at once. Otherwise you just fed the enemy team additional gold with the extra creeps. That's easily fixed of course, and probably worth it because the idea is neat.

    I also liked that you could buy the minions to follow you around which was neat.
    -----

    More on topic (slightly), you could even argue something like dominion, or more likely Mid Wars kinda fits that description. In Mid Wars at least there's only one lane and things become aggressive very early. There's last hitting of course, but it's very minimal because of how many players there are and the aggression. You tend to last hit more via spells than auto-attacks because of the amount of damage each side can put out (basically you have up to 9 people all launching attacks at the creep to kill/deny it). There no gold loss on death so everyone makes more and more gold (surprisingly supports still fare pretty well rather than just 5 carries all the time). So the game becomes heavily focused around the actual fights and positioning with the creep & lane serving more as a variable focal point rather than a tool for farming. I kinda like this approach more than necessarily removing creeps because I think the whole creep mechanic creates an interesting focus area/point that's much better than control points, flags, or other mechanic designed to push the 2 teams together.
  49. Fenrir

    Fenrir Well-Known Member

    Oh sure. I don't want to be in a position of defending Demigod's execution of any of it's ideas. But I like that it was trying new things.
  50. Logo

    Logo Well-Known Member

    Yeah me too. I mostly stopped playing because of connection issues and lack of any real investment into the way they did rankings. It did also tend to feel same-y though where I felt more on a set plan than playing a hero in some dynamic struggle.

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