League of Legends. Perhaps it is the biggest multiplayer game on PC for a very long time now since its rise in popularity in 2009. Taken from the concept of a Warcraft mod which included playing a single hero with a particular set of skills to fight an opposing team in a 5v5 defense tower survival multiplayer game, Defense of the Ancients, League of Legends is the reigning multiplayer game with the highest player count of over 100 million active players per month and a constant activity of around 7.5 million to 27 million players each day.
In 2012, it was regarded as the most played PC game on North America and Europe, followed by millions more in Asia and Oceania. With the release of Twitch in 2011, it was the most streamed video game up until now. League of Legends is also one of the biggest subcategories in the Gaming community spread across all social media platforms, especially on YouTube.
Riot Games, the creator of the moba game, has received multiple awards including Best Multiplayer Game, Best Ongoing Online Game and Best PC Game, along with a 2017 BAFTA Award and 2016 INC. Company of the Year. The studio is beloved by its massive fanbase due to their active feedback and support for the players including a tight ban system for toxic players and tons of fan service including merchandise, top quality videos, animations, events and the ever-growing eSports.
The League community is undoubtedly one of the, if not, the largest gaming community ever to peak in its genre. You can see League of Legends everywhere on the internet, from fan art, to unofficial spin-off games, cosplays, commercials, videos, references and even porn. Yes, porn. That’s rule 34 for you, but even that is also extremely big just for a smut parody based off a game.
It is a game that only features one main map but delivers thousands upon thousands of ways to play the game—creating various item builds, synching combo attacks and utilities with certain Champions, possible role variations for a Champion and the many ways to win (or lose).
So how did Riot Games pull off just a singular multiplayer game into making them one of TIME Magazine’s most successful companies? It was through the ever-growing changes to the game as well as the constant listening to dedicated players. Seven years have gone by, yet the game still feels refreshing in small pockets. One could say that League has gotten repetitive, but undoubtedly, Riot Games continuous updates keep the game looking and playing fresh.
Due to the competitive aspect of League, on March 2013, Riot Games has established an eSports league (no pun intended) throughout the continents, making it one of the biggest competitive sports in the video game world.
On Twitch, the audience count is constantly massive, housing almost a hundred thousand on a dull day, but can rise up to even more than even a million if there is an eSports event.
In the 2017 Worlds Finals in Beijing, China, League of Legends broke the record for most viewers in an eSports event with a behemoth number of 60 million unique audiences, defeating the numbers of the MLB Finals.
However, on the recent rise of Battle Royale games, especially with Epic Games’ Fortnite, League of Legends has been on the struggle of becoming the #1 on Twitch alone—some days, you get to see League on the #1 spot with around 150,000 to 200,000 up to 600,000, and on some days, you should be witnessing Fortnite constantly on the leaderboard with even up to 300,000 views. Ninja, the #1 most followed Twitch user right now, even peaked the number of viewers with up to 430,000 during a live stream with Drake: Canadian rapper and one of the biggest artists in the music industry today.
Lots of people have been saying that League of Legends is going to die down one day, especially this year since the ever-growing popularity of Fortnite. They could be right, but, personally, League of Legends is an evergreen game. Why? Because it keeps changing—it morphs and adapts to current competitors to whatever genre and they consistently hear important suggestions and criticisms from the fanbase. Sure, Fortnite is the in-thing for multiplayer games nowadays and numerous League players have gone off to migrate to the most trending battle royale game, but it can never topple the consistency that Riot Games delivers every month.
Sure, you may say that League of Legends is one of the dirtiest and most messed up communities for video gaming (which I cannot deny), but the game itself is amazing. It has stood the test of time, a test in which 90% of video games cannot cope up with. Look at Counter-Strike: it is still the number one FPS on PC, because it keeps evolving as a shooter and as a competitive right-in-your-face game that is strategic in its own form and nail-biting tensions in the game.
Fortnite may have current active users of over 3.4 million daily, but will it be as constant as League? Only time will tell. But the fact is, battle royale is pretty much still a trend. Realistically, that hype will fade away, just as any trend, be it fashion, food, media and even gaming. League may soon lose its title for most active players, but that does not mean the game is going to fade away anytime… unless it becomes like Runescape, which destroyed itself and its fanbase.