This week’s Exit is gonna be a little different. Over the past couple weeks we have talked about a variety of topics and even told some fun (and horrible) solo queue stories. This week we are going to delve into a topic that I don’t often write about: esports. You see, the 2017 League of Legends World Championship is going on right now. For some of you, that is very exciting. Others, not so much.
The idea that this Worlds isn’t getting people very excited is a common one I’ve seen.
i think this is the first world tournament i'm not really excited to watch? i'm hopeful things will improve but heal/barrier botlanes zzz— Scaryzard (@ScarizardIn2017) October 5, 2017
While someone like ex-rioter and streamer Patrick “Scarizard” Scarborough may have very specific reasons for not being interested this year, you might have you own. Maybe you can’t watch live because the tournament is in China. Or maybe you are brand new to League or the esports scene and don’t even know whats happening.
Either way, there is a secret to watching worlds this year, so lean in real close and let me tell it to you:
Being a casual fan is totally OK
Seriously. October and November are very hectic months for a lot of folks, including us here at the Rift Herald. You may be excited for Worlds but unable to watch, or you may be able to watch but not be excited for Worlds. The beautiful thing is that you don’t really have to commit. You can just watch one or two games when you have the time or feel like it.
For me personally, I can feel like a sub-par fan if I’m not watching every game, which can then lead me to giving up on watching any of them. Maybe that is a me problem, but I sure want to believe that it isn’t. Just know that even as a casual fan, you can follow along and still have some fun. Don’t hamstring or punish yourself because of your lack of availability or interest.
If you are new to sports or new to League, you may be struggling with who to root for, and not having a team of your own is a great way to bounce off of something like Worlds. If you are a North American (or a European if we’re being honest), this may pull you into an age old League of Legends trap. “I’ll root for one of my home teams,” you say, setting yourself up for disappointment. This is a great idea, but if you don’t have a back-up, you will be horribly sad.
You see, when it comes to international competition, the Western teams don’t have the best history of success. So while rooting for your home team is grand, it can lead to some sadness if you really believe in them and only them (I still hold a grudge against C9 for their performance in my first Worlds). The moral of this story is to root for the team you want to see win with all your heart, but try and have another, better team to fall back on.
This leads to the question of, “who should I pick?” Finding a fun team to watch that has a strong chance of making it far is easier said than done. That isn’t to say that the tournament favorites aren’t fun, simply that picking three-time champions SKT may not be the most interesting strategy.
Luckily, someone who knows a lot more than me about Worlds this year (and every year tbh) has agreed to share some brief thoughts on a good Eastern team to root for:
Esports lead Austen Goslin:
I think investing in a team only to be disappointed by them is a quintessential part of being a sports fan (e or otherwise). That being said, if you are simply on the hunt for a team to root for this year, look no further than Longzhu Gaming. They are smart, fast and exciting and have four of the tournament’s 10 best players, including the best bottom and top lanes and arguably the best mid laner, the wunderkind, Kwak “BDD” Bo-seong.
Finding a team to like that won’t just disappoint you is hard but doable. Then again, the long-suffering sports fan is a cliche that is pretty fun to play into (speaking as a CLG fan). Picking a team to root for in each matchup has always helped me enjoy watching esports and traditional sports. Call me a sucker for the old “good guy/bad guy” thing, but having someone to hate and someone to cheer for is what makes these events awesome.
For anyone reading this who has always had an interest in sports going “did you just say that narratives is what makes sports fun to watch? No shit,” I’m sorry. As a late-comer to the world of sport-like competition, it was a lesson learned more recently than I care to admit.
Sports are cool and fun. If you care too much about one team, you can get heartbroken. If you don’t care enough, events can get boring. Finding that sweet middle ground between loving a team and just loving the game is key. Hopefully you can find someone here that you think is fun to watch and can find success.