Esports News UK's Dom Sacco interviews Riot Games' long-standing UK community manager John King, aka Riot Bolton, about the upcoming Clash mode, his favourite champions, and what we can expect to see from future Riot UK events in the future.
As a key part of Riot Games' community team in Europe for the past four years or so, Riot Bolton has seen the UK League of Legends scene evolve first-hand.
Now, having relocated from Dublin to London to work from Riot's relatively new UK office, he's working on a number of new UK-centric activities.
The first of which is an event to mark the upcoming launch of League of Legends new 5v5 Clash tournament mode.
A good mix of League players and special guests including content creators Kiandymundi and Roosboomsocks are in attendance at London's Server bar in Shepherd's Bush.
"This event is all about Clash, something we've been waiting for," John tells Esports News UK. "We really wanted to bring the joy of tournaments and 5v5 and all the structure, depth and competitiveness that comes with Clash, and give it to the League of Legends community, play with their friends and have an amazing time."
Can we expect similar events to this in the future? What will Riot's UK office be working on?
"I think we're looking at doing events, promotions, partnerships with other organisations," Riot Bolton answers. "The London office has unlocked so much bandwidth and ability to focus for us.
"Before we were an English team handling Nordic countries, Ireland, Benelux and all these places, now having a focused office with the core goal of delivering the absolute most amazing League of Legends and community experience to our players possible, has really unlocked a lot of capabilities for us. You're seeing just some of the tastes of what those capabilities are for events like this with Clash.
"The UK is a special place, it's not like anywhere else in Europe or the rest of the world. People might take the piss out of each other in the UK, but ultimately there's this camaraderie and togetherness that you really don't find in a lot of places."
John King, Riot Games UK
"We're trying to address all the layers. As a London team we have our own private projects, Forge of Champions - you'll be hearing more about that soon. And other UK initiatives like that where we're driving it all ourselves, you're going to see the full weight of our office coming into action.
"We really want to make it an incredible experience that other countries in Europe and across the world will look on with envy."
Riot Bolton continues: "It's not about just trying to provide a great experience for a few players, but an amazing experience for as many players as possible. That's why it's important to have that spread [of events]. We can do events like this with 100 or 200 players that might cycle through, then we can do online incline events for all of the UK, or city-based events for London, or Birmingham or Glasgow or cities like those.
"Really, the sky's the limit and we've unlocked so much capability now with a very focused team to deliver UK initiatives."
Riot has other country-specific offices across Europe including those in France, Germany and Spain, while its existing Dublin office will continue looking after the rest of Europe.
The UK, France, Germany and Spain are obviously key territories for Riot in Europe, but why the UK? What makes it stand out?
"The UK is a special place, it's not like anywhere else in Europe or the rest of the world," Riot Bolton explains. "The players demand a level of specificity and catered service that the lineage of the country demands.
"People might take the piss out of each other in the UK, but ultimately there's this camaraderie and togetherness that you really don't find in a lot of places."
Finally, and importantly, what are Riot Bolton's favourite champions - and elo?
"I usually say Nunu," he says. "It's one of four: Nunu, Udyr, Malphite, Master Yi. The Nunu/Udyr is more new-school love, the Malphite/Yi is more the old-school first champions I played.
"I'm Gold V unfortunately, but this season I'm shooting for Platinum. I failed my Plat promos eight or so times, but this year is the year I make it!"
Watch the video interview with Riot Bolton here
Check back on Esports News UK soon for our recap from the Clash event and a report covering what we learnt from exceL Esports' coaches on the day