While in China for the League of Legends [official site] Mid-Season Invitational, I spent some time talking to Whalen Rozelle. He’s Director of Esports over at Riot and a lot of the conversation ended up being about creating connections. That’s a focal point for League of Legends at the moment – finding ways to forge personal connections between the professional scene and the viewers and the non-professional players.
Before I get into the Q&A itself I just wanted to say that I think this is one of those peculiar by-products of the way intellectual property and esports collide. There are multiple MOBAs which involve a lane-pushing element but they’re divided up into separate sports because they have different characters, engines, map elements, balancing and so on. Their complexity and their proprietary nature means you need to buy into a particular company to participate, either investing money or time or both.