An Honest Assessment of the Current Professional Scene
It's a really great thing that Riot have done in regards to the Professional LoL scene.
They have created an immensely popular, strong subculture in eSports that is arguably the biggest one across the world in all of eSports. Pro LoL is in a great place for Riot as it is more popular than ever (again, based on particular stats). Pro play encourages so many people to want to play the game and spend real Dollars in the game, and its a great thing for Riot. Remember, at the end of the day LoL exists to make money. It makes money by providing us a great game and scene. The two go hand in hand.
Fans also have it pretty good at the moment. Tons on streamers who have some pretty good interactions with their streams, and there is a wealth of stuff going on throughout a number of websites (Reddit, [email protected], goldper10, ask.fm etc).
In light of some of the current happenings in the game, its important to remember a few important points when it comes to fans commenting/opinionating (not a real word but you get it) on the scene. Remember, its very young. It has experienced exponential growth in this, its 5th year. Just think about the World Championships as a yardstick. Think of the Season 1 champs to Last year. If you need to, find a season 1 world champs video on YouTube. You will be surprised in the difference. Its easy for the brand to grow (including the subculture) but it is difficult for people's understanding, knowledge and opinions to adapt to that change, and for people to appreciate at a minimum, the pressure a pro is under from whichever direction it may come (family, friends, girlfriends, team mates, coaching staff, sponsors, Riot even, etc etc)
Fans are strong willed, loyal to a team or player or scene (NA v EU for example). The Pro's themselves are the epitome of the scene, and are the belle of a very expensive, very lucrative ball. Lucrative in the sense of money from sponsorships, teams, gaming houses and the money it costs to house a pro team, streams: the list goes on.
Just remember that these players are Young adults. They are not all seasoned veteran professional who understand PR, who always make the best decision, who know how to make their fans and their sponsors happy, nor do they know how to always correct a mistake. Mistakes are going to happen, bad reads on a situation are always going to happen. Maybe as a fan of a player/team/region, don't throw someone under the bus. These players are rarely over 25 years old with life experience. They are learning. The Scene is learning. Lighting torches and pitchforks every time someone says something, or something happens really doesn't help. This includes salty, inflammatory and generally rude comments on Reddit about performance (both in game and out). Being faceless on reddit doesn't absolve you of the comment you have written. Like any other person, it will get them down if they read it. Sure, they don't have to, but you also don't have to put it there.
I think also, coaching staff are becoming more important when it comes to team success both on and off the Rift. Earlier in the scene, a team probably could have got away with a single coach giving a post game analysis, and a laner calling the shots in game. Nowadays, it is such a complex game that the to win, you are running on a knife edge to win a game. Your game plan can go so wrong at so many places, you have to direct your team along a very fine line of success to achieve a win. Korea is a great example of this, and its starting to filter into the other regions.Teams have a bigger staff to achieve this. Bigger staff means more money from sponsors, which means more pressure to perform, more expectation from everyone. A 17 or 18 year old in a Pro team cannot simply handle this kind of pressure easily. Experience and time can alleviate this pressure, but its still tough for everyone. But a coach in the game needs to see this as an issue that can affect his/her team and players. Performance on the Rift is based on the states of mind of the players. Sure, give them food, music, comfort, whatever they need. But ensure that their mental states are also being cared for. Coaches need to make sure that they are considering this as well.
Crumbzz today showed us how to handle this kind of situation, and he took ownership of the situation and said outright this is what is happening. No one can say anything about his, or Dig's credibility. The rubbish that Richard Lewis was upset at earlier in the week is a perfect example of why people should tone it down when it comes to commentating from a keyboard on a situation you don't have much information on, other than "Its on Reddit". Just remember that these Pro's are young people. They are professionals at playing League, but maybe developing amateurs when it comes to interacting with the public.
And finally, remember its still a pretty young scene. Its still growing, its still learning, and mistakes are going to be made all round, and stuff may exist that you don't like. Your salty comment may be the reason a person doesn't want to be here anymore, and that means you are helping to kill the scene that you want to apparently be a part of. When someone writes a piece, don't down vote it on Reddit and say "this person, zero credibility, down voted" just because you may not like the person. Ann Pragg was a victim of just this kind of behaviour. She devoted so much of her time to advance and evolve people interaction with these scene, and all this particular user could say is "she is a slag down voted she has zero credibility i hate her". I remember it vividly. Likewise, FORG1VEN has a bad attitude everyone on here should hate him, so when he goes to try out for a pro team, the owners probably said "Reddit hates you mate, we want people to like our, so get lost. Even though you are a top class ADC, don't come back".
Stuff like that is on you, the fan/supporter of LoL eSports. Make sure that you are at least, promoting conversation and interaction with things that are happening in the scene. Don't destroy the work someone else has done because of an uneducated opinion/bad attitude.