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League of Legends Season 3 World Championship was most-watched eSports event in forever

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League of Legends Season 3 World Championship was most-watched eSports event in forever

Are you ready for some silly numbers? Riot have passed us an armful. Here’s the first: over 32 million fans watched League of Legends’ World Championship finals in October. That’s nearly four times as many as watched the Season 2 finals a year earlier - and makes the Season 3 World Championship the most-watched eSports event since records began.

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The 6 Types of eSports Fans

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The 6 Types of eSports Fans

There were 13,000 at League of Legend's world championships on Friday, making it one of the best sampling of eSports fans we've ever seen. 

We could've asked questions, we could've asked for autographs, but, really, we just couldn't help staring at a lot of them. As fellow eSport-lovers, these are our people.

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I saw the future of eSports this weekend: it was the League of Legends World Championship

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I saw the future of eSports this weekend: it was the League of Legends World Championship

13,000 screaming fans is not an uncommon site for the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It's the home dome for several prolific sports teams, including the Lakers (basketball) and the Kings (hockey), and has hosted more than it's fair share of rowdy crowds. 

But in the center of the massive arena this weekend wass something truly unprecedented: two rows of computers manned by young men facing off against each other in one of the most hyped videogame series ever played. 

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Why SKT Telecom T1 is the best League of Legends team in the world

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Why SKT Telecom T1 is the best League of Legends team in the world

Last night, Korea's SKT Telecom T1 beat China's Royal Club in a best-of-5-series to claim League of Legend's highest honor: the title of World Champions, and the massive trophy that accompanies it. 

The much-hyped showdown was the culmination of a championship tournament that ran for three weeks prior, with teams from around the world fighting in a tournament structure that resembles the World Cup. 10 teams, broken into two groups, duked it out during the first week to earn the right to take on the top teams from each region, who were each given a bye through the group stage.

Korea's SKT Telecom T1 showed signs of brilliance as they carved their way through the group stage, while China's Royal Club was afforded a bye into the quarterfinals. Both teams toppled giants on their way to the finals (including North America's Cloud 9 and Europes Fnatic), but the analysts and pro players interviewed heavily favored Royal Club to win. Montecristo, a shoutcaster for the Korean OGN tournament, was the only one to stand firmly behind SKT before the match. But despite the consensus, everyone expected a tough and exciting fight for the ultimate title.

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Riot big up League of Legends Season 3 final with appropriate anime pomp

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Riot big up League of Legends Season 3 final with appropriate anime pomp

It’s difficult to convey the force of the impending clash of League of Legends’ real-life champions at LCS Season 3’s final. They might be cause enough to evacuate downtown LA, but they look like skinny teens in black polo shirts.

Consequently, Riot have turned to the art form best-practiced at portraying standoffs between figures of great power: anime.

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LCS "a significant investment that we’re not making money from", but Riot love it anyway

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LCS "a significant investment that we’re not making money from", but Riot love it anyway

The third season of Riot’s League of Legends Championship Series is coming to a head now that regular season play has concluded, and the developers' focus has shifted to the postseason and planning for Season Four. We caught up with Riot’s eSports head Dustin Beck at Gamescom, where the International Wildcard tournament and European playoffs begin later this week, to talk about where the LCS is at right now.

First and foremost, it is still a work in progress whose connection to the core League of Legends business model is “tough to measure". While Riot won’t say how much running the LCS costs them, Beck did say that, “It’s a significant investment that we’re not making money from. It’s an investment into the game, for our fans, just like we’d invest in any other feature within the game. It’s a worthwhile thing for us to do because it’s such a high quality, engaging experience for our fans."

Whatever the cost, Beck and Riot are happy with how much League has evolved this year, and where it is headed next.

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Manager of disbanded League of Legends team MRN responds to allegations of unscrupulous behavior

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Manager of disbanded League of Legends team MRN responds to allegations of unscrupulous behavior

Yesterday, Patrick “MegaZero" Glinsman, formerly of the disbanded LCS team Team MRN published a PSA on Reddit about the dangers of unscrupulous LCS managers and complaining that their team manager, Martin Phan, took more than his fair share of Riot’s team subsidy. Today, Phan responded and revealed that... Team MRN was really bad with money and record-keeping.

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What the Starcraft 2 World Champion Series must learn from Riot's LCS and DreamHack

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What the Starcraft 2 World Champion Series must learn from Riot's LCS and DreamHack

What are eSports tournaments for? If you’re a fan, you’re looking for drama, suspense, and passion. Tournaments have to be more than just demonstrations of skill.

Two examples: over the weekend at Dreamhack, Sweden’s mercurial Protoss, NaNiwa, faced off against Brood War legend Jaedong in front of a delirious home crowd. The combination of star power, a close series, and the crowd’s fever-pitch excitement made it an unforgettable series.

Meanwhile, the League of Legends Championship Series is about narrative; about the long game. The story of this weekend wasn’t the prize pool, or the possibility of relegation. It was the astonishing twists and upsets that came from young teams that have finally come into their own.

The success of both Dreamhack and the LCS stand in sharp contrast to the stumbles of Blizzard’s Starcraft 2 World Championship Series.

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LCS Spring Playoffs begin Friday, stakes range from prizes to relegation

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LCS Spring Playoffs begin Friday, stakes range from prizes to relegation

The first stage of the League of Legends Championship Series has concluded, and this weekend 12 of the LCS’ s 16 teams will compete in the Spring Playoffs for a share of a $100,000 prize pool ($50,000 for first place) and, for eight of these teams, a last-chance to avoid relegation.

The European division playoffs begin Friday the 26th at 2 PM UK / 9 AM Eastern, while the North Americans begin play at 11 PM UK / 6 PM Eastern. As usual, you can watch the streams live at the LCS website.

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Five takeaways from the League of Legends LCS Super Week

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Five takeaways from the League of Legends LCS Super WeekThe fourth week of the League of Legends Championship Series, the “Super Week" was a real test of whether or not League fans could get too much of a good thing. With 20 matches apiece in the North American and European divisions, following all the action in the LCS was a test of endurance and commitment. I was still catching up on matches throughout Monday, seeing what I’d missed while distracted by things like sleep and sustenance.

Super Week was a success: probably the single clearest sign that Riot have, indeed, struck upon a winning formula for eSports competition and broadcasting. Here are five lessons and highlights of Week 4, and what they spell for the rest of the season.

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Stephen "Snoopeh" Ellis on preparing the Evil Geniuses League of Legends team for LCS Season 3

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Stephen "Snoopeh" Ellis on preparing the Evil Geniuses League of Legends team for LCS Season 3The Evil Geniuses League of Legends squad is currently ranked second in the European division of the LCS, close behind Fnatic following their victory over EG last Saturday. They are easily one of the top teams in the LCS’ European or American divisions, and next week they’ll be tested against many of the world’s best at the IEM World Championship in Hanover. We recently had a chance to talk to EG’s team captain, Stephen “Snoopeh" Ellis about the team’s plans for improving this year, why it’s become so much stronger since the Season 2 playoffs, and the tension between being a successful competitive team and being a successful business.

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Riot Games open Sydney office, already hiring

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Riot Games open Sydney office, already hiringRiot Games, the developer behind the enormously successful MOBA League of Legends, yesterday announced that they have opened an office in Sydney, Australia, to cover the Oceania region.

Riot Sydney is already looking to hire two new staff for the office, an Esports Co-ordinator and a Community Manager. If you happen to be passing by and fancy a job, they're listed here.

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Tune into the NA division LCS stream today for 12 hours of pro League of Legends

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Tune into the NA division LCS stream today for 12 hours of pro League of LegendsThis is a monstrous week for the League of Legends Championship Series: both the North American and European divisions are playing 20 games this week, and the action starts today for North America with 12 hours of League. The first game, CLG versus the surging Vulcun team, starts at 11 AM Pacific (2 PM on the East Coast and 5 PM in the UK). You can watch on Riot's Twitch stream.

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League of Legends LCS Season 3 Week 3 Results

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League of Legends LCS Season 3 Week 3 ResultsThe third week of the LCS has concluded, and the competition is beginning to tighten a bit as Evil Geniuses lost first place to Fnatic in the European division, and Vulcun made big advances in the North American division with a clean sweep of its Week 3 opponents. Remember that next week is likely to be pivotal as both divisions play 20 games. Full results continue below:

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The League of Legends Championship Series: the perfect entry point into eSports

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The League of Legends Championship Series: the perfect entry point into eSports

We are three weeks into the League of Legends Championship Series’, a six month long League of Legends competition hosted, organized, and produced by Riot Games. While the LCS is still undergoing development as Riot’s production gets more sophisticated and adds new features, the scale of the endeavor and the control Riot exert over it are breathtaking. It’s unparalleled in PC gaming and eSports history: the developer of what is possibly the most widely-played PC game in the world is managing every aspect of the eSports they created. It requires massive investment in every stage of the process: high-end production, great casters, team salaries, and a multi-million dollar prize pool.

The result: and eSport that makes sense. If you’ve ever wanted a perfect entry point into the eSports scene, the League Championship series is it.

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