I have never really gotten into online games such as world of warcraft (WOW) or league of legends (LOL) because lets face it, I am a complete noob and would probably suck at it. My older brother however is obsessed with these types of computer games. He spends almost his entire spare time playing online with a group of friends who form a ‘team’ in LOL and attack others. (See I bet even that sentence made me sound like the biggest noob.)

Considering he spends almost all his free time doing this I thought he must be pretty good, right? So I asked him one day and his response was “I’ve been playing for 3 years and I’m still a beginner.” WHAT! This intrigued me – why would you play a game for 3 years all the time and still not even be the best at it or one of the best. How often are people playing these virtual games if this is how difficult it is to excel at them?

So I decided to do a little research on this game ‘LOL’. According to its Wikipedia page League of Legends was developed in 2008 by Riot Games, and data gathered in 2014 states that over 67 million people play League of Legends every month.

League of Legends has gotten so popular that there has been an international series created called the League of Legends Championship Series in which there are 8 teams of professionals in each continent.

When I was speaking to my brother about League of Legends he was telling me about controversy that had begun when a LOL crew from China by the name of LMQ Tian Ci moved to the California at the end of 2013 and began competing in the North American League. According to my brother this “pissed a lot of people off.”

This inspired me to do some research of LMQ and who they are in relation to LOL. According to dailydot’s article the players within LMQ quickly developed fan followings with one particular player by the name of Vasilii quickly gaining large followings on both Twitch and Twitter.

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Although the group has qualified for the League of Legends Championship Series within North America there has been a large number of controversy surrounding ownership of the team. The reason behind LMQ’s relocation from China to America was to avoid the corruption that had taken place within the Chinese League, however it now seems as though arguments over sponsorships and ownership of the team has followed them all the way to the USA causing an uproar within the gaming world.

I find this all extremely fascinating that this game made for people to unite as a team and compete against other people has a gritty underbelly of celebrity and money and corruption across cultures.

Crazy right?

Apparently there is also this ‘celebrity’ status gamer from Belgium called Athene who has raised exceptional amounts of money for charities through LOL, however he is once again a controversial member of the League and has come under a large amount of scrutiny for his actions. Will definitely look more into this in the weeks to come.

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  1. League of Legends is a very interesting field to explore. it is interesting that your brother still considers himself inexperienced despite being a player for three years. This got me thinking: have you considered an angle of your auto ethnographic study to be playing alongside your brother, perhaps it would be useful to see what you consider “inexperienced” to be through his eyes. This could then be taken to another level by comparing your brother’s skill to that of famous LOL players.


  2. I have been playing for five years and still consider myself to not be very good at the game. Of course long time players know how to play very well, but they don’t have the mechanical skills to excel.

    It is interesting that you brought up Athene. Mainly because not to many people that are newer to the game even know who he is any more. Popular recent youtubers like SivHD and Aphromoo have taken over the spotlight and are making waves in the online communities. There are actually in game items named after people, usually developers and people involved in the creation of the game. Athene himself has an item, Áthene’s Unholy Grail’ that is a staple item on many champions, yet very few people know it’s significance any more.

    In addition to LMQ, it might be interesting for you to look at the rise and fall of CLG EU. CLG were originally an American team whose owner, HotshotGG, contracted players to play for the company in a European team as well. At the time this was seen as somewhat of a controvertial move as it would potentially give both teams and edge but eventually CLG EU split and no longer exists.

    One of the most interesting things is the speed at which celebrity changes in League of Legends, there are changes to the game every couple of weeks and people who were among the top players soon find the staple champions that made them so great are no longer relevant and they get dumped and fade into obscurity. This happened, most notably at the time, to Rainman, when he completely fell off the radar after his favourite champion (Teemo) became not so great of a pick in competitive play.


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