Cameron Peberdy, head of marketing and community development at UK org Digital Warfare, and former Enclave Dusk manager, shares his opinion on the current state of UK League of Legends and whether drama (it's always happening, like it did again tonight), is a positive.
Well friends and fellow gamers, it's been more than a year since this article where I shared my thoughts on the UK League of Legends scene.
Since then I have had many opportunities to work from the inside of the scene rather than hold the previous outlook view I had before. I have team managed for Enclave Gaming Dusk and now work at Digital Warfare in marketing and community development.
I believed the challenges we faced a year ago included the prize pools being small: many UK teams could not afford to foster sustainable growth. Other issues included player poaching because many players were not contracted.
Since then I have been proven wrong in so many ways - in the scene we would constantly have the same organisations in the top four. This included teams like Choke, Manalight, Infused and MnM.
Now the scene is drastically different. There are new organisations constantly joining the scene such as Enclave, Digital Warfare, Rewind and Nerdrage. These previously unheard of organisations are making a name for themselves by fielding good quality rosters and competing regularly.
UK Masters, ESL Premiership and Multiplay’s Insomnia are a battleground for these organisations to prove that they have fight in them and can be contenders in the future.
"Some drama and banter is not too bad for the scene. It creates a healthy environment for stronger rivalries between teams, which makes for great competition."
We still have a huge issue in prize pools for the scene. At Insomnia60 the prize pool for the League event was £1,500, with the winner only receiving £750 - just enough to cover the costs of attendance at the event. Whereas Rocket League was £5,000.
Even though the League of Legends prize pool is increasing to £5,000 for the summer Insomnia61 event, the Hearthstone prize pool has dropped down to £500. Whilst my primary focus is League of Legends (this is the game I love the most), I want to see esports as whole for the UK have decent prize pools.
£500 for the summer Hearthstone is quite frankly laughable, especially considering what was done with Truesilver previously (Hearthstone had a pool of around £20,000 at i58).
We still do not have players contracts in the UK as an overall standard practice, and there has been one or two issues in the scene of managers approaching players on other teams.
However, since new teams have entered the scene who create a positive friendly environment, with other team managers such as SoV Pleppy (Adrian), Britsaint (Philip Macartney), Spaceh (Nathan Connolly), the scene seems more positive and more of a community than it did over a year ago, which is a good thing to see.
Some teams have contracted players. Even though on paper they don't seem like enforceable contracts, the players in the scene actually respect the organisations enough to adhere to them.
"The challenge is convincing non-endemic brands that not only are organisations a good investment opportunity for them, but the scene in which they operate is of benefit to them as well."
Some people in the scene still intentionally create drama for the sake of drama and initially I was pretty vocal that I didn't think it was healthy for the scene as I believed it created toxicity, but having time to reflect I now think some drama/banter is not too bad for the scene. It creates a healthy environment for stronger rivalries between teams, which makes for great competition.
I believe now the issues that we face is for the teams - not just in League of Legends but for UK esports as a whole - is attracting sponsorship and investment to local grassroots events, larger tournaments such as Insomnia and epic.LAN and for esports organisations.
Speaking to ENUK community members on the Esports News UK Discord recently, we identified the issue here is that larger endemic sponsors and brands such Razer as will only go after the bigger organisations and events simply for their prestige and following. Smaller second-tier endemic companies do not have the capital to invest into organisations.
The other issue is trying to branch out and target non-endemic companies. The thing with non endemics is they don't know much about esports. They may have heard a little but for the majority they do not have any understanding of what esports is on a global scale, let alone in the UK.
The challenge here is convincing these companies that not only are organisations a good investment opportunity for them, but the scene in which they operate is of benefit to them as well.
One thing we could all agree on is that there are a lot of people in the UK esports scene that are working on improving it, which will hopefully benefit us all.