League Of Legends: And The 2014 World Champions Are…

More than 40,000 fans descended on the World Cup Stadium in Seoul to watch South Korea’s Samsung White claim their first League of Legends World Championship victory. White had arrived at the season 4 final having only dropped a single game since the group stages. In fact, a lot of the people I chatted to thought their opponents – Star Horn Royal Club – might be subject to a total stomp. The question wasn’t so much “Who was going to win?” but “How long would Royal Club be able to hold out?” They weren’t wrong.

Game one saw White’s DanDy take first blood in the first minute. Frankly, Royal Club never recovered. A series of confident tower dives pushed them further and further behind, corn and Cola got focused and Royal started losing vision. 24 and a half minutes was all it took for White to mash their opponents’ nexus into a fine paste.

The second game got off to a better start, with Royal Club seeming more able to keep White at bay. 9 minutes in neither team had scored a kill while Royal Club were actually nursing a 500 gold advantage. That situation ended up falling apart in short order. A teamfight turned into an absolute bloodbath which ultimately favoured White as it ended 5-4 in their favour. With 16 minutes on the clock White had pulled ahead by almost 7k gold and top laner Looper (the only person to survive that initial kill-fest) was 6 kills to 0 deaths. Another swift defeat followed for Royal Club.

The stadium by night is quite the sight

As the sun set in the stadium, Royal Club found firmer footing with their third outing and managed to translate early resistance to White into something meaningful. There was a hairy moment for Royal as they got baited by White on the steps to the latter’s base but ultimately they were able to claim a victory. As well as being a positive for the team it was good news for the atmosphere in the stadium as many had feared a rather frictionless 3-0 stomp from White. Fun fact: game three also saw Royal pick up Rammus, cue obligatory explosion of “OK” all over Twitter and Twitch.

Game four… y’know what? When Samsung White ace you at 16 minutes and then sit there with a 6k gold advantage your prospects aren’t great. From that point it just felt like a matter of time until Samsung White brought home their deserved Worlds victory.


  1. DavishBliff says:

    I’m curious as someone who doesn’t play or follow either Dota 2 or LoL beyond reading about the occasional big lucrative tournament: Is there a sense that the market is big enough for both of these games to each hold big tournaments, year after year?

    Starcraft was/is really the only massively successful competitive RTS game, and I don’t think there could exist another game that played essentially the same vying for e-sports attention, but from what I can tell there isn’t a huge difference between Dota and LoL at the highest levels (is this a really ignorant statement?), so surely one of them is going to capture more e-sports attention and sustainability in the long run. I haven’t heard anything about Heroes of Newerth, which I’m guessing isn’t as popular now (owing to Dota 2’s release?) and it doesn’t seem as though Heroes of the Storm is replacing either LoL or Dota.

    So does anyone know what’s going to happen with LoL vs. Dota? I have a hard time seeing how LoL can survive (if there is, in fact, a conflict to be had) since Dota has a completely-free roster and Valve’s financial resources behind it, but I’m curious to hear the thoughts of people who are more in tune with the scene.

    • Xocrates says:

      “I have a hard time seeing how LoL can survive”

      As mentioned bellow by hideinlight, Lol is WAY ahead of Dota right now, not least of which because Riot is pushing the esports side much harder than Valve (though the prize for The International was higher than Worlds).

      Ultimately though, the winner is more due to who does the best marketing as opposed to who has the better game.

      EDIT: Also, LoL is far more accessible that Dota while still being pretty complex. This means it has an easier time attracting players.

      • DavishBliff says:

        Interesting, thanks! My assumption was actually the opposite – that Dota was more approachable (all characters unlocked, etc.) and that LoL was for the super hardcore only (I can never remember whether it was LoL or HoN that has a notoriously toxic community? Or both/all three? I know I read about one of the developers taking lots of steps to clamp down on that, and I’m not sure what Valve has done). And of course I ignorantly assumed that because the payout for The International was so high, it was naturally the preferred game for serious MOBA competitors.

        Interestingly, this article suggests that even though Dota competitions are less frequent and the player base much smaller, competitive Dota players still get more money:

        link to lazygamer.net

        If I were a very talented e-sports player trying to get into a MOBA with my eyes set on making a living doing it exclusively, based on this information I’d choose Dota no question!

        • SpoonySeeker says:

          That analysis you linked is pretty crap. Sure, the top doto players make a lot more money, but that’s because Valve’s system favours the players at the top and the way it is designed, it makes it so that it is difficult for anyone else to win those prizes. After all, the only funding is from the prizes and whatever sponsorship you can get, but you aren’t going to get much if you aren’t big already.

          This makes it very difficult for new teams and players to be able to afford to practice enough to get good, as they won’t be able to afford to practice full-time.

          On the other hand, in League of Legends, Riot games pays the best teams in each region to practice full-time and play a local officially-sanctioned tournament circuit before the big event at the end of the year. On top of that they give much better publicity for their players making it easier for new pros to gain a streaming fanbase.

          So basically, Riot’s method makes it a much safer proposition financially to become pro, leading to greater competition overall.

          Valve’s method is great for the best players because it ensures that the rich get richer.

          • tormos says:

            If you disregard the differences between the games themselves (which I think are ultimately somewhat ancillary) you have a situation that’s quite similar to a variety of smaller traditional sports eg Ultimate Frisbee in the US. Ultimate also has a league that is structured like a traditional sports league (like DOTA) and a league that is structured like RIOT where all the teams are owned by the league. Time has suggested that the latter structure is much better for getting an initial league of quality play into operation, but that in the long term the former structure tends to win out, because it is easier to expand and draws more investment (and more top quality talent).

            Ultimately, fans will likely follow the “flashy” and extremely high quality players (eg Dendi and Arteezy), and these players will likely move to the sport where they will receive the best rewards.

            I may be biased in this issue because I primarily play and watch DOTA but I wish LOL no particular ill

          • montorsi says:

            The best rewards are probably to be had on the platform that is wildly popular, which is League. There are more viewers, Riot pays teams and subs, and sponsors follow these teams around like lost puppies. LoL dwarves Dota 2. Understand that talking about the two as if they are equals is akin to unironically talking about the NFL and CFL as if they were in a competition with each other.

        • thehollowman says:

          Prize money isn’t the only place you get money though. Head to twitch.tv and you’ll see that league of legends is about twice as popular as dota. More eyes on league means higher sponsorship deals. The team that just won the League championship are one of TWO teams that Samsung sponsors. Some team called Newbee won dota2…i don’t even see a South Korean team in the international. It’s the lack of korean interest that puts Dota2 behind League, Korea is the home of e-sports. It’s a real sport there, Samsung sponsor it, Korean Airways Sponsor it. Coke Zero are getting in on it.

          Those are HUGE sponsors, and huge audiences. League filled a world cup stadium (mostly). Dota2 needs that extra prize money to attract people, but even that isn’t enough for the Koreans to become interested. They love League of Legends, and their streaming +sponsorship + prize money apparently beats out dota.

          • Carados says:

            That is because DotA2 has a client that lets people do things such as Watch The Game inside the client for any game they want, while League of Legends has a crappy client that only lets you view your friends games and 5 random games.

            Not to mention all DotA2 tournaments are watchable in the client, saying “The only platform in which this is watchable is totally comparable to this other content’s lower numbers which are able to be watched on multiple clinets!” is dumb as fuck and you know it.

          • PikaBot says:

            In addition to what the other fellow said, it should be noted that League has a big head-start, especially in Korea. A deal for distribution of Dota 2 within Korea wasn’t struck until the end of 2012, and the professional scene there didn’t really get started until last year. While there’s little doubt that the eSports scene for LoL is bigger right now, it’s maybe not fair to compare it with a game that’s been around and attracting crowds since we were trying to decide what to call the twenty-oughts.

    • Flopper says:

      Finishing the article title….

      League Of Legends: And The 2014 World Champions Are… SOME ASIAN GUYS.

      Surprise surprise.

      • magogjack says:

        Just what are you trying to say? Would you care if they weren’t asian? if not why post at all? If so tsk tsk…

    • ssh83 says:

      DOTA2 vs LOL is like Star Wars vs Star Trek. They can all live long and prosper without murdering each other, even if fan feuds do happen.

  2. hideinlight says:

    LoL has over 100 million players each month. Officially sponsored price money scattered throughout the year so the prize pools are smaller, but more consistent.

    DOTA2 close to 10 million players a month. Goes all in with it’s official tournament each year, so one big prize money tournament a year although mostly crowed funded. DOTA2 is a big name so it gets a lot of brand sponsored tourneys with only small contributions via tickets sales (if a ticket doesn’t give the same monetary value back, people not that interested)

    HoN has over 1 million players a month, it does have tourney’s but most of those are small, insignificant compared to DOTA2/LoL and it simply doesn’t have the infrastructure.
    Sponsors don’t go for 3rd place, so can’t really make a living of it.

    • DavishBliff says:

      Are those numbers of *unique* players? Surely one in 70 people worldwide isn’t playing LoL at least once a month?

      Anyway, it certainly seems like LoL still dwarfs Dota, which I genuinely had no idea of, so thank you. I’m really not familiar with the games at all, are they really that different from one another? I assumed that with so many characters in each, there would be rough analogues for each character in either game, at least in terms of how they play at the highest level. Are there a lot of players who switch between the two games?

      • hideinlight says:

        Concurrent player for LoL hovering easily around 4 million at any moment. Taking into account there’s 24 hours a day and how to world rotates, if a different player logs in each 4 hours you already had 20+ million unique users on that day a alone.

        • trjp says:

          He said “I don’t think 1 in 70 of the world’s population plays LoL” – something I’d agree with whole-heartedly – and you explains it using a concurrent player figure and the rotation of the Earth ;0

          I don’t believe they have 100 million players or anything like it – duplicate accounts, lost accounts, dead accounts, spam accounts and ‘magic maths’ make up the majority of that number ;0

          As they don’t have subs (like WoW) or public tracking (like Steam/Dota) they can publish any number they like and be constantly tempted into making it bigger to maintain their position in the market too

          Note: Tencent (the parent holding company) claim that their QQ messaging software has 300 million users which is probably about as meaningful a figure (that’s 1 in 4 of the Chinese population!)

      • Melody says:

        When you start learning them, their differences show. It’s like, when you don’t know a genre of music, everything sounds the same, but as you get used to it you learn to differentiate. Well, MOBAs are not popular, so to the uninitiated they all look similar, but when you get into them, LoL and DOTA have very distinct identities.

        Dota is considerably more complex, and even aside from that complexity, it’s more unforgiving (e.g.: you have less mana, longer cooldowns, a spell costs more mana, so you have to make each count; or a single death matters a lot more in Dota than it does in LoL; in LoL you get some things for free, like a teleport back home and some vision) but the other side of the coin is that LoL is easier to follow in terms of “what’s going on here, why is a team winning”. Not that it’s “easy”, just comparatively easier. It’s also easier to pick up, play, learn and understand, at least at a basic level, which means more low level players (the majority) will stay

        Also in terms of champions and viable strategies, Dota has more diversity and flexibility than LoL. LoL instead has focused on making the game as readable as possible, for example differentiating and color coding spells’ special effects, giving timers for neutral monsters.

        • SpoonySeeker says:

          I feel like pointing out that while it is true that League is not as difficult as Dota, that is basically like saying something is “not quite as hot as the surface of the sun”

        • PikaBot says:

          Really? I find LoL to be incredibly visually unreadable. Their spell effects are very flashy but also look very same-y, and a lot of the character silhouettes are not particularly distinctive. Personally, I’d say visual readability is something Dota 2 does considerably better than LoL.

          • Xocrates says:

            I find that familiarity with the game has a huge impact on readability, I can follow LoL no problem, but have no idea what’s happening on a Dota 2 match – largely because the effects are more subdued to the point I don’t realise what they’re doing or where they came from.

          • PikaBot says:

            Familiarity certainly helps, but even when I was knee-deep in LoL I couldn’t tell what the hell was going on any time more than three characters were on the screen. When I made the switch over to Dota 2 the difference in terms of clarity was like night and day.

        • tormos says:

          DOTA is notable for being strategically more varied than LOL, which has placed a lot of emphasis on 5v5 teamfights with the winner claiming objectives (eg killing a tower) after the fight. DOTA has a lot more flexibility in terms of how teams can choose to run their lanes (duo lanes for both offlane and safelane, agressive trilanes, defensive trilanes, jungling or no jungler, even the occasional duo mid lane) whereas LOL is fairly static on that front, and DOTA also offers a wider and more useful variety of “special” heroes (eg Tinker who can teleport and cause havoc all around the map, or drafts that take advantage of global abilities to essentially fight from anywhere)

      • Xocrates says:

        Depends what you call “that different”, they have recognizably the same DNA but different enough design approaches to have different flows of play and audiences (though I should note I’m comparing to the original mod which I haven’t played in years. Never actually played dota 2, though I believe them to be pretty similar).

        Lol in particular puts a large focus on clarity so most of the more unintuitive or punishing mechanics are cut out – Denying being a big one, but also stuff like gold loss on death.

  3. CandyAcid says:

    Just quickly, Dota’s free champion rooster is a bad thing. The fact that you have to buy a champion means you will actually spend time learning them rather than having the ability to play any champion at any time. I have played both games for many years and just find LoL’s learning curve to be better, it’s community to be better and just overall more fun to play. In regards to which will win, I don’t think there needs to be a winner. It can just be like rugby union and rugby league, very similar games with slightly different rules to cater to slightly different audiences.

    • Bakuraptor says:

      I don’t really find that to be the case, myself. Speaking as someone who learnt to play Dota by myself about a year ago, I found that the difficulty in learning the game is far less about learning the cast of characters, and far more about learning the new vocabulary of gaming actions – how to last-hit, when to fight, why you shouldn’t fight under towers, and so on (although, to be frank, they could use significantly better tutorials). The thing about having the entire cast of heroes open to all is that you have a far more diverse hero pool in an average game (although it’s worth noting that there’s a limited hero gamemode designed for newer players): what that means is that you end up learning a lot about the other heroes in the game, even if actually learning the names of their skills, mana costs, etc. comes later (well, at least I found that to be the case).

      Ultimately, setting aside the fact that it is, I feel, a fundamentally better F2P model to put no active game feature behind a paywall, I do feel that it’s not having too many heroes that’s the problem in teaching newer players to play; it’s not giving them enough guidance or advice in which heroes to choose, teaching them what are actually a pretty unique set of mechanics (even things like using the shop and the courier can often throw new players off) where Dota could do with some improvement. None of those improvements would need heroes to be locked behind a paywall.

    • jrodman says:

      Calling open-access to the entire game a “bad thing” is quite an overshoot. At best you can say it “may be bad for some people’s learning style”, but even that I disagree with.

    • jellydonut says:

      Wow, you really should lay off the koolaid for a while.

    • Carados says:

      That would be a good point if League of Legends had more then 12 effective characters.

      The free system hamstrings them into not having unique characters. If there is a strategy that can be run but requires specific characters, it makes the game more dynamic, and opens up more avenues. This means however, you actually can’t do the same things players do if you don’t actually do the grinding.

      As a result, League of Legends has very few actual unique characters, where they are differentiated is into the gimmick they need to pull off whatever they want to do. That’s because the characters are more about the “gameplay experience” rather then strategic worth. They focus on making the characters play differently, rather then actually doing different things.

      For example, someone like Zed and Talon aren’t different enough to justify being a different character (except for Ryu/Ken reskins). It’s only in the situation where you can milk more money out of players. If you think being able to grind for 6300 points (at 200 per game, that’s still 20+ games) for someone who has slightly more AoE but slightly less range is a great way of designing the game, go ahead.

      (This isn’t counting number changes which are completely arbitrary and change often.)

  4. hideinlight says:

    I’m expecting HotS do grow the genre by about 3 million a month, and to take about 2 million players from LoL and a million from DOTA2.

    So it’s impact is gonna be minimal.

    • trjp says:

      Do you have some sticks in a bag that you shake to get this shit?

      You realise people can play more than 1 game – sometimes even at the same time – yeah? :)

  5. Goodtwist says:

    1 out of 4 isn’t wearing glasses. It’s suspicious.

  6. DrGonzo says:

    Damnit I was looking forward to watching this match. Spoiler headline!

    • Okcel says:

      Yeah, how awesome would it be if people didn’t spoil the winners of a major tournament in the headline hours before the re-broadcast time for the primary audience.

    • drewski says:

      I think if sports results being news bothers you that much, you should probably stay off news sites until after you’ve watched the sports, y’know?

      Welcome to the “wonderful” world of tape delay, bane of international sports fans since, well, sports started being broadcast on delay internationally.

  7. Crimsoneer says:

    That picture…

    • LaurieCheers says:

      Clearly what they actually have there is one good player, and a chronoporter.

  8. tigerfort says:

    But is it right
    to fight
    in the stadium at night?

  9. Wytefang says:

    E-sports? LOL Yeah, okay.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Yeah it’s ridiculous how famous and rich some people can become just from playing video games. It takes hundreds of hours to HoNe your skills and you’re already in your Dota-ge when you’re like 27.

    • honuk says:

      hello 2004, how are things back there?

      • montorsi says:

        Eh, some things will never change. Nevermind the fact all of these players spend 14 hours per day practicing and training against other players, it’s not a sport. Cause he said so.

  10. haircute says:

    I think the best thing esports can do is not have big banners featuring the players. Those chinese kids looks like fucking dorks and the CSGO teams aren’t any better. I can not BELIEVE they put those fucking asian dorks up there on a banner like that. Who thinks people like that look cool? WHO?!

    • jrodman says:

      Maybe we will!

    • magogjack says:

      Of course you put the winners on the banner, they fucking won! I guess only cool people should be in pictures.

      Although its funny because Mata their support player agrees with you and thinks all their pictures look bad.

      Also they are from Korea not China.

  11. Premium User Badge

    FhnuZoag says:

    Can someone explain why Samsung White are so good? What’s their trick?

    • magogjack says:

      They are really good at predicting the other team, for example dandy (their jungler/ganker) is often able to know when the enemy jungler will gank and counter ganks them. They are so confident that the one game they lost to Star Horn was because they troll picked their team (no wave/minion clear).

      And they are masters of vision control.

    • Moraven says:

      Practice, teamwork and good coaching likely.

  12. Moraven says:

    And Starcraft WCS finals begins Nov 1st (round of 16) and ends the round of 8 at BlizzCon,

    This year they will utilize the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

    There will also be Hearthstone world finals, WoW Arena finals, and Heroes of the Storm matches. Heroes of the Storm is getting a lot of pro teams. It will be interesting to see how it picks up as the game transitions to open beta.