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How Riot Games are building a better League of Legends, and catching up to their own success

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How Riot Games are building a better League of Legends, and catching up to their own success“When we shipped League of Legends," Tom Cadwell, Riot’s VP of Game Design, explained to me last week, “we were hoping that, hey, maybe we’ll get 20 or 30 thousand concurrent users in six months. And that would allow us to continue paying people."

We talked at Riot’s headquarters in Santa Monica the day before the League of Legends Season 2 Championship. It’s an office that demonstrates just how far Riot overshot their cautious goals. Before Riot moved in, their offices belonged to a major film studio, and the small, luxurious theater where film execs used to screen movies now plays host to game streams, Dr. Who marathons, and the meetings of various Riot movie clubs. The rest of the building features what seems like acres of workstations, conversation nooks, breakrooms, and conference rooms.

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Taipei Assassins leverage their new star power to lobby for eSports recognition from Taiwan's governing sporting body

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Taipei Assassins leverage their new star power to lobby for eSports recognition from Taiwan's governing sporting bodyFollowing a heroes’ welcome upon their return to Taiwan, League of Legends world champions Taipei Assassins called on Taiwanese lawmakers to push Taiwan’s Sports Affairs Council to recognize gaming as a national sport, according to Focus Taiwan. Recognition from the SAC would make progaming eligible for government assistance, and could provide other support services to eSports professionals, such as career counseling and assistance in balancing eSports and education.

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Our Spotlight units plug content our journalists have made, that our advertisers want to promote. Sometimes the promotion is paid for, but the content they go to is always independent with no client oversight or approval.

The best games from the League of Legends Season 2 playoffs

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The best games from the League of Legends Season 2 playoffsWith so many matches occurring during the workweek, and on west coast time, it was hard to catch all of the action at the League of Legends World Championship. It’s not always the easiest game to watch, either: with single games routinely stretching well beyond 40 minutes, few viewers can book the time to watch a whole tournament.

So if you didn’t see all the great games from the playoffs, we’ve gone through and linked some of the very best for your enjoyment.

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Riot clarify "tournament-in-a-box" offline mode, stress that League of Legends LAN play is not in the works

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Riot clarify "tournament-in-a-box" offline mode, stress that League of Legends LAN play is not in the worksDuring Riot’s press day prior to the League of Legends championship final, Riot VP of eSports Dustin Beck addressed the connectivity problems that derailed the semifinals at LA Live the previous weekend. He explained that immediately after the disastrous series between CLG EU and World Elite, a team of Riot developers started working around-the-clock to develop what they call a “tournament-in-a-box" offline mode for the final.

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Profile: League of Legends Season 2 champions Taipei Assassins

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Profile: League of Legends Season 2 champions Taipei AssassinsTaipei Assassins were not a favorite to win the League of Legends Season 2 championship, which may have worked in their favor as they stunned Korea’s NaJin Sword, Russia’s Moscow 5, and finally Azubu Frost. Their relative anonymity may have helped them live up to their name as they used their opponents’ strengths against them. As they explained in the post-match press conference, “It’s not really about [Azubu Frosts’s] weaknesses. It was more about finding the spot where we could exploit them and counteract them."

In practice, that strategy could be summarized as, “Let Stanley bully everyone."

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League of Legends World Championship Final recap: Taipei Assassins crush Azubu Frost

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League of Legends World Championship Final recap: Taipei Assassins crush Azubu FrostUnderneath a small galaxy of LED spotlights, with the silver Summoner’s Cup sitting tantalizingly close at center stage and shining like a diamond, Taiwan’s Taipei Assassins and Korea’s Azubu Frost met on the main stage of USC’s Galen Center to decide a million dollar prize and the Season 2 League of Legends world title.

Somewhere around 10,000 League of Legends fans packed into the arena, wearing Teemo hats and carrying signs with League of Legends inside jokes scrawled on them. “Jax walks into a bar... but there’s no counter" and “Asians OP", for instance, and after this tournament, you’d find few who didn’t agree with the latter sentiment. Even within League of Legends, these two teams (and the pro-gaming cultures they represented) were in a league of their own.

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League of Legends World Championship Finals today, Azubu Frost and Taipei Assassins fight for $1 million

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League of Legends World Championship Finals today, Azubu Frost and Taipei Assassins fight for $1 millionThe world’s two greatest League of Legends teams do battle tonight in a million-dollar best-of-five match for the League of Legends World Championship title. While Azubu Frost was a heavy favorite coming into the tournament and is still the favorite tonight, Taipei Assassins have shown a knack for beating the odds, taking out Korea’s fearsom NaJin Sword before beating the other tournament favorite, the renowned Moscow 5.

Tonight’s final streams live on Twitch, with the broadcast starting at 1:30 UK / 8:30 Eastern.

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Riot hand down judgments, punishment for cheating in League of Legends Season 2 playoffs

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Riot hand down judgments, punishment for cheating in League of Legends Season 2 playoffsOne of the uglier stories to emerge from the troubled League of Legends playoffs at LA Live last weekend was the alleged cheating by several teams and players. In particular, many spectators at the event believed they had seen competitors glance at the spectator minimaps during their games, which would have conferred an advantage because the specator minipals  showed both teams’ positions.

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Riot reschedule League of Legends Season 2 playoffs, change venue for finals

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Riot reschedule League of Legends Season 2 playoffs, change venue for finals

What was intended to be Sunday’s Season 2 quarterfinals finally concluded after eight hours of connection drops without victor, nor any reward for the series of hard-fought half-games its teams engaged in. Eventually Riot made the call to postpone the games until they had found a “new venue with a secure internet connection". Two days on, they’ve found their venue.

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League of Legends Season 2 playoffs Day 3 recap: Network failure suspends play, Riot postpone finale of CLG EU v. World Elite match, semifinals

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League of Legends Season 2 playoffs Day 3 recap: Network failure suspends play, Riot postpone finale of CLG EU v. World Elite match, semifinalsWhoever eventually wins the Groundhog Day quarterfinal of the League of Legends Season 2 World Championship playoffs, the results will always be clouded by the fact that it took three restarts to deliver a winner in a best of three. Network failures have almost certainly changed the results of this quarterfinal, and made one of the strongest cases yet for offline LAN play at major eSports events.

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League of Legends Season 2 quarterfinals marred by multiple network failures, disconnections: CLG v World Elite to regame deciding match

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League of Legends Season 2 quarterfinals marred by multiple network failures, disconnections: CLG v World Elite to regame deciding match

The last quarterfinal match between CLG EU v. World Elite was supposed to be a best of three, but here at 1:30 UK / 8:30 Eastern, with the tournament now three and a half hours behind schedule, connection failures have forced the teams to play their fifth game and second regame.

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League of Legends Season 2 Playoffs Day 2 recap: Moscow Five and Azubu Frost dominate, Taipei Assassins stun NaJin Sword

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League of Legends Season 2 Playoffs Day 2 recap: Moscow Five and Azubu Frost dominate, Taipei Assassins stun NaJin SwordThe first day of the League of Legends Season 2 World Championship quarterfinals featured the best play of the tournament so far and three decisive victories for Korea’s Azubu Frost, Russia’s Moscow 5, and Taiwan’s Taipei Assassins. Team Solomid, North America’ last team standing, went out against Azubu Frost. On the livestream tomorrow at 8 PM UK / 3 PM Eastern, World Elite play CLG EU to determine who moves on to face Azubu Frost in the semifinal round.

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League of Legends Season 2 Playoffs Day 1 recap, Azubu Frost and NaJin Sword looking fearsome

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League of Legends Season 2 Playoffs Day 1 recap, Azubu Frost and NaJin Sword looking fearsomeIt’s hard to avoid reading too much into the results of the first day of the League of Legends Season 2 Playoffs. As expected, the Asian teams from China, Taiwan, Korea, and Southeast Asia generally outperformed their Western rivals, with favored teams like Azubu Frost looking all but untouchable. Today, elite teams like SoloMid, Moscow Five, and CLG EU will be hard-pressed to stave off the challenge offered by the Asian powerhouses.

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We have League of Legends IP boost codes to give away, come claim yours!

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We have League of Legends IP boost codes to give away, come claim yours!To celebrate the start of the Season 2 playoffs, the kind folk at Riot have handed us 250 Influence Point (IP) boosts to give away to European League of Legends players. These boosts will increase the amount of IP you receive after each game you play, which you can use to unlock new champions or purchase runes and pages for your runebook. Click through to find out how you can win yours!

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The League of Legends Season 2 playoffs start today, twelve top teams competing with $1 million on the line

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The League of Legends Season 2 playoffs start today, twelve top teams competing with $1 million on the lineThe League of Legends Season Two playoffs are here! Twelve of the world’s best professional LoL squads have made their way to Los Angeles to spend three days fighting for a chance to win the $1 million grand prize. The playoffs start at 5 PM UK / 12 PM Eastern with Korea’s Azubu Frost v. Invictus Gaming, and will stream on Twitch.

Unusually for a major tournament, competition runs from today through Saturday, proving that Riot care nothing for this “school" and “work" of which you speak! It’s always a holiday Summoner’s Rift!

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Alienware - Game VictoriousNvidia Shield - Titanfall
A Region Reborn - NA League of Legends Championship Series Playoffs crown TSM

League of Legends

A Region Reborn - NA League of Legends Championship Series Playoffs crown TSM

Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar PC review

Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar

Hegemony Rome: The Rise of Caesar PC review

The 20 Best Strategy Games On PC

20 Best Strategy Games

The 20 Best Strategy Games On PC

Esportsify wants to make the business of eSports easier

Esports

Esportsify wants to make the business of eSports easier

EA are giving Shadow Realm’s team “the ability to fail”

Shadow Realms

EA are giving Shadow Realm’s team “the ability to fail”

Shadow Realms is Left 4 Dead by way of pen and paper RPGs

Shadow Realms

Shadow Realms is Left 4 Dead by way of pen and paper RPGs

The Journey Down: Chapter Two review

The Journey Down: Chapter Two

The Journey Down: Chapter Two review

Shadow of Mordor preview

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Shadow of Mordor preview

Firefall patch packs in the action making it much more fun to play

Firefall

Firefall patch packs in the action making it much more fun to play

Internet misogynists drive Anita Sarkeesian out of her house with death threats

Anita Sarkeesian

Internet misogynists drive Anita Sarkeesian out of her house with death threats

There was an Elite musical co-written by Ian Bell's brother. You can read the whole thing online now

Elite: Dangerous

There was an Elite musical co-written by Ian Bell's brother. You can read the whole thing online now

The Walking Dead Season 2: No Going Back PC review

The Walking Dead: Season 2

The Walking Dead Season 2: No Going Back PC review

Topic of the Week: How do you play episodic games?

Topic of the Week

Topic of the Week: How do you play episodic games?

The eight best babies in games

Babies

The eight best babies in games

How the indie community united to save survival game Duskers, a studio, and a dream

Duskers

How the indie community united to save survival game Duskers, a studio, and a dream

Last chance to make the finals: Red Bull Battle Grounds Detroit has begun

Starcraft II

Last chance to make the finals: Red Bull Battle Grounds Detroit has begun

How I fell in love with QuakeCon

Doom

How I fell in love with QuakeCon

Heat Signature: surviving in space for as long as you can

Heat Signature

Heat Signature: surviving in space for as long as you can

Noir Syndrome is a randomly generated murder mystery game

Noir Syndrome

Noir Syndrome is a randomly generated murder mystery game

Gamescom 2014: Hands-on with Alien: Isolation

Alien: Isolation

Gamescom 2014: Hands-on with Alien: Isolation

Some new Star Citizen stretch goals

Star Citizen

Some new Star Citizen stretch goals

Gamescom 2014: The Indie Games Roundup

Verdun

Gamescom 2014: The Indie Games Roundup

Topic of the Week: Exclusives - what are they good for?

Topic of the Week

Topic of the Week: Exclusives - what are they good for?

Who is the least worst publisher of PC games? EA or Ubisoft?

EA

Who is the least worst publisher of PC games? EA or Ubisoft?

Hands on with The Golf Club

The Golf Club

Hands on with The Golf Club

Galactic Civilizations III beta: now it's getting fun

Galactic Civilizations™ III

Galactic Civilizations III beta: now it's getting fun

Warlords of Draenor cinematic revealed; expansion launches on November 13th

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor cinematic revealed; expansion launches on November 13th

All Gone! We've got beta keys for ArcheAge, an MMO with the ethos of Eve

ArcheAge

All Gone! We've got beta keys for ArcheAge, an MMO with the ethos of Eve

Topic of the Week: What do you want us to tell you about from Gamescom?

Topic of the Week

Topic of the Week: What do you want us to tell you about from Gamescom?

A StarCraft classic for a new Proleague era

Starcraft series

A StarCraft classic for a new Proleague era

The 100 best Skyrim mods

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The 100 best Skyrim mods

The 15 best sandbox games on PC

Best PC Games

The 15 best sandbox games on PC

Firefall PC review

Firefall

Firefall PC review

The decline of pre-orders is good for everyone

Pre-order

The decline of pre-orders is good for everyone

Illuminating Seldon Crisis: a space MMO gunning for EVE Online

Seldon Crisis

Illuminating Seldon Crisis: a space MMO gunning for EVE Online

Elite: Dangerous Beta 1.03 review

Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous Beta 1.03 review

The Art of Free to Play: Viktor Antonov on designing Battlecry's beautiful world

Battlecry

The Art of Free to Play: Viktor Antonov on designing Battlecry's beautiful world

What's next for TUG, the freshly Yogscast-backed survival RPG?

TUG

What's next for TUG, the freshly Yogscast-backed survival RPG?

Topic of the Week: What are your favourite mods?

Topic of the Week

Topic of the Week: What are your favourite mods?

How Divinity: Original Sin put the magic back into spellcasting

Divinity: Original Sin

How Divinity: Original Sin put the magic back into spellcasting