William “Chobra” Cho and Brian “ZeroCardinality” Kim summarize their experience at Riot’s Press Day, which took place on October 12, 2012. Be sure to check back for interviews later today with Riot staff at http://youtube.com/ggchronicle
|Chobra gives an overview of Riot’s Press Day|
Riot Games hosted a large press meeting yesterday, prior to the World Championship Final on October 13th. The day opened with an introductory message from CEO and co-founder Brandon Beck, followed by presentations from the Art, Music, and Player Behavior departments. Riot also offered the press with an opportunity for an AMAA, or Ask Me Almost Anything, format discussion with both co-founders Marc Merrill and Brandon Beck.
In his opening segment, Beck talked about Riot’s immense commitment to eSports. Drawing analogies with traditional sports such as basketball and football, Brandon Beck reminded the press that eSports presents similar levels of competition and emotion for the spectator. Riot decided to take the initiative to further eSports instead of idly waiting for others to carry the torch. Their own involvement has forced Riot to expand beyond the core values of a game company into fields such as regulating and broadcasting. As witnessed this past weekend at the World Championship Playoffs, this learning experience has led to some hiccups for Riot games. Beck stated that Riot is committed to learning from these mistakes in order to further eSports as a field.
The AMAA drew some interesting answers from both Merrill and Beck. Perhaps the biggest news was the announcement of a LAN (Local Area Network) service. After the slew of issues resulting in a postponement of matches last Saturday, there was an outcry for a LAN or save-state service in order to avoid connectivity issues at tournaments. In an impressively quick response, Riot has prepared a solution for the rest of the World Championships at the Galen Center. The last quarterfinal game and semifinal matches on Wednesday at the Galen Center already showcased LAN mode. Dustin Beck, the VP of eSports at Riot games, shared that the availability was possible due to a dedicated emergency response to finish the product. It still begs the question as to why Riot did not prioritize the feature in preparation for the Playoffs weekend, but fans can rest assured that the final match tonight will not be plagued with connection issues. They also announced that a redundancy of internet has been implemented in case there are network issues still affecting the broadcast.
|Riot CEO Brandon Beck|
There were many other questions asked in the AMAA with the co-founders. Most of the responses led to the answer that Riot is focused on its own player base. Brandon Beck stated that mass market credibility is not the current goal, but rather a better experience for the players and viewers of League of Legends. The response was similar regarding drawing in fresh viewers with no game experience and also the potential of moving eSports to traditional media outlets such as television broadcasts. However, Riot stated they are losing money on eSports as they attempted to prove that Riot’s investment into professional League of Legends is not for selfish benefit, but for the growth of eSports as a whole.
Other inquiries about a Mac client and Replay feature were met with the infamous “Soon™” answer. Despite the lack of concrete responses, casters and spectators will be glad to know there is a dedicated Watch Team in charge of features in spectator mode including replays.
The departmental presentations showcased recent changes in the Art, Music, and Player Behavior teams aimed at bringing players a more engaging experience. Summoners have seen a lot of these changes such as the newer splash art, login screen music, and the honor initiative. Fans live at the final this evening will also witness an enhanced viewing experience made possible by a live orchestra performing the World Championship theme, composed by Associate Composer Christian Linke.
The rest of the day consisted of a short tour of the Riot headquarters, and a happy hour for mingling and interviewing various spokesmen for Riot games. Attendees were also invited to an extended night of conversation, showcasing Riot’s high standards of hospitality towards the media.
In the end, much is still shrouded in mystery. It is reassuring to see that Riot is indeed responding to their mistakes to the best of their ability. While some might still question the company’s preparations for the Playoffs, there is no doubt that Riot is working to improve the eSports aspect of League of Legends. Season Three will stand as a massive test for the League of Legends professional scene. Before that time comes, Riot still needs to present one of the biggest eSports tournaments this evening with the Season Two World Championship Final.