Esports Roundup: Riot take two steps forwards, one step back

Hello friends!

Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Esports round-up! This week, Riot Games are shutting down grassroots League of Legends tournaments in the UK. Also this week, UKEL expand its services in a new partnership with Playbase.gg and Wolves Esport dominate the mobile esports scene in China.

If you have an esports story that you would like us to feature, email mat@geekybrummie.com.

  1. Riot Shutdown Grass Roots Tournaments in the UK
  2. UKEL Partners With Playbase.gg
  3. Wolves Esports Dominate Mobile Esports in China

Riot Shutdown Grass Roots Tournaments in the UK

League of Legends
(Image Credit: Riot Games)

Several popular UK amateur circuits for League of Legends have been shut down, causing a lot of uproar in the LoL community. Tournament organisers like Leagues.gg and UK Esports League (UKEL) have halted any plans for a 2022 season following format changes of official Riot tournament guidelines.

What has happened?

Riot Games, the publisher of League of Legends, and Freaks 4U (F4U) Gaming have changed the official guidelines which affect rules on duration, structure, and prizing of official tournaments. This has now resulted in various tournament organisers from across the UK, Ireland, Nordic and EU having to delay or halt plans entirely for breach of guidelines.

What is the impact?

UKEL confirmed last month that it would not be running a League of Legends tournament in 2022 citing that the format changes have made their previous tournament structure unviable.

League.gg was about to begin its spring 2022 season before it was halted. In a statement last Thursday (27th January), League.gg comments “These changes mean that Leagues can no longer run our league systems in LoL as you know it, but will instead be limited to only make tournaments according to the Riot Games guidelines.”

The organiser voices frustration at the “sudden changes” that have been “forced” on them by Riot and F4U, but promises to bounce back. For now, however, they have confirmed that the spring season will be put on hold until they can move to a tournament structure and format which adheres to the new guidelines.

Thankfully, Esports News UK reports that collegiate League of Legends leagues, like the NSE, NUEL and British Esports Student Champs are unaffected, and are continuing as usual.

Why does this matter?

Reaction to the news has been strong, and you can see why. League is one of the biggest esports out there.

The changes make it increasingly harder for established grassroots tournaments in the UK, Ireland, and Nordic regions to grow. It forces many of these to change the formats on which their tournaments have been built upon. It also creates an increased monopoly by requiring conditions around prize money and duration to be met and approved by Riot.

I’m glad this doesn’t affect the university leagues, of which the UK scene really revolves and relies heavily on. However, it does impact the pro scene in each region by giving Riot and F4U the absolute authority to dictate how League is to be played and not allowing the space for organic growth by grassroots organisations.

All I’m saying is Riot, don’t forget what happened when Blizzard tried to dictate how their MOBA needed to be played. Remember HotS? Yeah, didn’t think so.

UKEL Partners With Playbase.gg

UK Esports League Logo
(image credit: UKEL)

Speaking of UKEL, they announced yesterday that they have plans to expand their operations following a new partnership with Playbase.gg.

In a press release on their website, UKEL has announced that they have partnered with tournament platform Playbase.gg and moving their operations over to that platform. Historically, UKEL only ran League of Legends tournaments – becoming one of the most popular amateur tournaments in the UK.

However, prompted by their announcement that they will not be running a LoL series in 2022, they now hope this move will help them to achieve their aim of aiding the growth and development across UK Esports.

What will this move do?

They state that the platform will allow them to run open leagues and tournaments for players and teams to join. They plan to move their closed tournaments over to it as well. Playbase.gg will also track the stats of players so prospective teams can see how well players have been performing.

While they have confirmed that tournaments will remain free to enter, the platform allows them to monetize using adverts and to sell products, which will help with running costs and prize pools in the future.

They state the eventual goal of using this platform is to provide ‘pro’ leagues with participation funds as well as prize pools, and subsequent leagues below with a promotion/relegation system and prize pools at lower levels as well. They will also be looking to run off-season tournaments to keep everyone engaged and well-practiced.

What games and tournaments they have planned have yet to be announced. Overall, however, it’s something they’ve said they wanted to do from the get-go so I look forward to seeing how this plays out and wish them all the best!

Wolves Esports Dominate Mobile Esports in China

Wolves Esports Identity V team winning the championships
(Image Credit: Wolves Esports)

It appears Wolves Esports are dominating the mobile esports scene in China. Their latest success comes from their back-to-back wins in Identity V Summer and Autumn leagues.

For those of you who don’t know, Identity V is an asymmetrical multiplayer RPG video game on android and ios developed and published by Hong Kong developer NetEase. Mobile gaming is huge in China, and therefore, so is mobile esports.

About the Identity V League

The Identity V League (IVL) is the game’s tier-one professional league in China, and the main way teams can qualify for the Call of the Abyss World Final (COA). The IVL prize pool currently stands at 4m CNY, with Wolves taking home 880,000 CNY, which works out at roughly just over £103,000 from their most recent win in the Autumn season.

About Wolves Performance

The members of the Wolves team who play survivors in the game worked together brilliantly and the hunter was dominant in many of the matches. Together, they made for formidable opponents, who proved one step above the rest throughout the season.

The team entered the play-offs in great form and never really looked like slowing down as they charged through the upper bracket, passing the likes of GG and MRC, while facing, and defeating, long-term rivals DOU5 in the final!

Not only have they been crowned champions in back-to-back seasons, but they have also secured qualification for the last-16 in the COA.

Wolves are confident their team is currently the strongest professional Identity V team in the China scene and continues to go from strength to strength as they bring home the silverware for the team. Wolves are one of the only UK organisations to have success in China. It’s great to see not only a UK brand but a West Midlands one to boot, succeeding in one of the biggest esports markets out there.

That’s it from me, friends. I will be back later this week with a write-up of the Warwick Esports Speed Typing Tournament which went down last weekend (it was wild). Until then don’t forget to watch out for me on Mondays over at the Geeky Brummie Twitter or follow me on my personal handle @MrMatLovell. Adios!

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