I am watching the closing ceremonies of the League of Legends All-Star event and thinking, “Man what a great year.” I’m not sad my team lost (spoiler alert, Team Blue wins) or broken up about NA continuing to not win any international event. I’m just sitting there, listening to the music of the game being played by a live orchestra and enjoying the wonderful year it was in League of Legends eSports. I do not get these feelings watching All-Star games in traditional sports.
All-Star events, in traditional sports and eSports, are a celebration of the game. The best of the best come together, not playing on their normal teams, but with other players considered to be the pinnacle of their respective sport. You get your dream matchups. In hockey Crosby can play with Ovechkin, in League of Legends Faker can play with Smeb, in football Aaron Rodgers can play with Julio Jones, etcetera, etcetera. The biggest difference between eSports and traditional sports in this case – people can actually try in eSports.
There is an inherent risk of injury in traditional sports in every game. So during the All-Star event, you do not get anyone trying all that hard because it just is not worth it. The chance to lose out on millions of dollars and missing games for your club team is not super appealing to football, basketball, or hockey player. The most common complaint you hear from fans watching All-Star events is that people do not touch each other and it looks nothing like the sport they love. All-Star games end up being a joke and every league in traditional sports keep trying to throw gimmicks at these events to make them more entertaining but, frankly, they are not for many people.
While there are basically no stakes for winning or losing an All-Star event, the League of Legends one gets to be exciting anyway. These players would likely be playing games at this time anyway if they were not coming together for an event so it is not like they are at greater risk than usual of say a wrist injury. So they can go full try-hard at All-Star events and you get to see awesome things. Sure you might see some more troll or fun things happening (Garen mid anyone?) but you can still see these players try to the best of their abilities and it is great to watch.
Story lines still happened at All-Stars that do not feel contrived. We got to see the hometown hero in Enrique “xPeke” Martinez play incredibly well in the 1v1 tournament and style on his competition to the delight of the fans. We were able to see Korea flex their dominance on the rest of the world because they did not have to worry about the risk of trying and showing off. We got to see our favourite players go out there and have fun but also try to win this game. It’s not a chore to be at All-Stars like some professional athletes treat All-Star games in traditional sports. It was fun and it was great to see these players actually go out and have fun for a change.
Jonny eSports is the Senior Editor of eSports here on AYB and makes eSports videos that appear on Thursdays during the AYBTV Live Podcast on twitch.tv/AYBTV. He also streams on AYBTV on Tuesday evenings. You can follow him on Twitter @jonnyesports or on Facebook! He could watch 1v1’s all day and kind of wishes it was a regular tournament instead of just once a year. He is also prepared to 1v1 any of you (and probably lose).