By Christopher Brooks
Rider students duked it out on the online battlefield of League of Legends at the Strategic Gaming Club’s second tournament for the popular computer game on Oct. 17.
Known as League or LoL to its players, League of Legends is a massive online battle arena where teams of three or five try to destroy another team’s Nexus (home base) with a cast of over 100 unique characters.
Set up in Memorial Hall, competitors in the tournament arrived with backpacks in tow, loaded with laptops, mice and headphones. Teams of three Rider students each built up their personal battle stations and matched up against teams across the hall. Participating teams competed in a best of three to see who would move on in the tournament.
Since the game’s release on Oct. 27, 2009, the number of players has skyrocketed, becoming the most-played computer game in the world. According to numbers released by Riot Games, the maker of League of Legends, in 2014, 27 million people played daily, topping out at 7.5 million concurrent players.
Another popular aspect of League of Legends is the professional scene. With the growth of video streaming on websites, like Twitch, Riot Games created the League Championship Series where professional gamers compete on sponsored teams for virtual glory. Riot Games has jumpstarted the idea of e-sports in the United States and has shown that people will watch.
While some people may not take the business of professional gaming seriously, sophomore digital media major Jake Troy says the scene is nothing to laugh about.
“Professional gaming is a legitimate thing,” he said. “Players put absurd amounts of hours into the game and the teams have their own houses to practice together. At this point it has grown so far that people are gathering around their computers to watch. I’ve seen over 300,000 people watching these games at one time. It’s something that commercial businesses are noticing, it speaks for itself in the numbers.”
Freshman sports management major Kyle Geissler, who competed in the tournament, felt that the competition brought the feel of professional e-sports right to the Lawrenceville campus.
“The tournament was very fun,” Geissler said. “After watching professional League you definitely get a feel for the atmosphere. This was not as intense, but playing against other students and the pressure of winning makes it a lot of fun.”
Senior global supply chain management major Jonathan Yoo, vice-president and head of events for the Strategic Gaming Club, believes that e-sports arenot just a fad and will continue to gain popularity.
“E-sports are rapidly growing now,” he said. “But I think recently, games such as League of Legends have promoted the popularity of e-sports even more. Games today are constantly improving and being innovated, and I believe that e-sports will continue to grow.”
Yoo was pleased with the outcome of the event. When asked if the Strategic Gaming Club will hold another tournament he said, “Absolutely.”
“I think more people on campus play League than those who came to the tournament,” Yoo said. “But, most teams who registered for this tournament said they would join another tournament again in the near future.”
Printed in the 10/22/14 edition