Are Unstable Times Ahead for European League of Legends Teams?
A turbulent state of affairs has been unfolding within the League of Legends community of late, particularly in regards to the EU LCS. At the end of October, Riot Games released a statement, detailing how they intended to make big changes to EU LCS in 2018. These reports mentioned the removal of mid season relegations, and the return of the best-of-one format, which they’re hoping will make a transition into a ‘partnership system’ feasible for 2019.
For many, this seems like the ideal remedy to an issue that’s been festering for some time now, but some of the top EU teams, such as Fnatic and H2K, are still concerned for their future. When you look at how the European League of Legends circuit has been doing, it’s more than easy to see cause for concern. Despite Riot attempting to repair their blunder of the controversial best-of-two format, viewership of the EU LCS has further decreased. To make matters worse, players salaries have risen, with the end result being worry over the ability to make money within this industry.
This power struggle, in which Riot holds all the cards, has lead to various statements being released, with H2K even threatening to leave. Although their comments were made prior to Riot’s latest announcement, the feeling of uncertainty hasn’t shifted, with Riot still able to do as they please in regards to major changes. In fact, it would be fair to say that the teams rely on the compassion of Riot and their dedication to eSports scene, with the stipend being one of the yearly incentive.
Funnily enough, the stipend in itself is a grey area for the teams as well because this fixed sum hasn’t increased in line with player’s income, leading to yet further instability and issues. What makes matters worse is that while all of this has been happening to the players, Riot Games has bloomed due to LoL being such a huge hit with viewers and bettors alike. Being a success isn’t the issue, but more that not everyone is feeling the aftereffects of the accomplishment. Of course, without the teams and Riot working together in harmony, they’re can’t be one without the other, and so the announcement of changes could be the answer everyone has been seeking…?
Even though the teams are on tenterhooks, some have come forward, such as Fnatic’s Patrik Sattermon, commenting on how LoL is still more stable than other eSports communities. True as that may be, with Riot having made so many clumsy mistakes, without consulting the teams first, the demand from all involved is for transparency. If Riot Games are to make changes, they need to include everyone, not just themselves, at the table, otherwise the continued mistakes could cost LoL dearly in the long run.
As fans of the game, we have stakes in the success of the EU LCS, in more ways than one, with the hope being that Riot Games have finally found their feet again. However, until the changes are made and the results felt, we’re in a similar position to the teams themselves, having to sit and wait.