Elements to bench Wickd, set to pick up Kev1n

Thumbnail image courtesy of Team Logos / lolesports.com

European LCS team Elements is set to replace their top laner Mike "Wickd" Petersen, multiple sources tell theScore. Many sources state that the team has been scrimming with Kevin "kev1n" Rubiszewski and will be the most likely replacement.

So far this season, Elements, who rebranded from Alliance in 2014, have been struggling. The team suffered a major setback last week when they lost to both Gambit Gaming and H2k Gaming in convincing fashion. Elements has been criticized for their passive playstyle, and Petersen in particular has come under heavy fire for his performances throughout the 2014 League of Legends World Championships and the 2015 LCS Spring Split.

While the reasoning for the benching is unclear, a source told theScore that it may have been due to stylistic clash between Petersen and the rest of the team. The source alleges that Petersen’s aggressive and reckless playstyle did not synergize with their more passive midlaner Henrik “Froggen” Hansen and AD Carry  Martin "Rekkles" Larsson.

Hansen and Petersen have been on the same team for over three years, spanning multiple organizations such as Counter Logic Gaming, Alliance and Evil Geniuses.


Riot Esports directors talk sustainability, building a premiere sport and third-party arbitration

by 6d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Riot Games

Riot Games' Esports co-directors, Whalen Rozelle and Jarred Kennedy, discussed community feedback and sustainable business development with Yahoo Esports' Travis Gafford following the announcement that team revenue-sharing and crowdfunded prize pools would be coming League of Legends esports in 2017.

RELATED: Riot reveals revenue-sharing for teams, crowdfunding for Worlds and MSI prize pool

The hour-long conversation was wide-ranging, but Rozelle and Kennedy were especially clear on two points: that League of Legend's tremendous growth must be managed carefully and that they need to communicate with the community better.

"The goal is: how do we go from where we've been over the past several seasons, which is multi-platform distribution on a regional basis to potentially multi-platform distribution plus maybe some global sponsors, right?" Kennedy said. "Could we do that, could we have a sponsor that goes across leagues? potentially. what would that look like, how would it be structured? how would those flows work? We've got thirteen leagues around the world so it's hard to solve these types of problems at the business level but we're actively working towards it and we're excited about the potential."

The duo also talked about exploring new revenue opportunities beyond digital goods, such as skins and icons, to more physical merchandise, such as jerseys. They stressed that Riot's plans go much further than 2017 and that their goal is to make League of Legends a sport on the level of the NBA or MLB.

"One common factor is we have to set up a system where everyone is incentivized for the success of the league and everyone has to be thinking along the same time-frame," Rozelle said. "Whether it's split over split or five or ten years out, right now I think we have a system where you know its not bad but at the same point there are these problems where maybe not everyone is incentive for the long term success of the league versus thinking short term because of the relegation system we have now but how we navigate out of that is incredibly complex which is why we stated it's going to take some time to figure out, the solution is going to differ from region to region."

While the new announcement seemed to hit on many of the points brought up by team owners during the public feud between Riot president Marc "Tryndamere" Merrill and Team SoloMid owner Andy "Reginald" Dinh, Rozelle and Kennedy say these plans were in the works long before the firestorm erupted.

"This is not a direct response to any one thing, as we mentioned in the post, we've been on this journey for a long time and we've been targeting getting to the status of being a premiere global sport," Kennedy said. "But we could have done more to share how we were thinking about things and help teams understand that path."

RELATED: Reginald on how Riot’s major patch changes hurt LoL’s competitive scene

While Riot's relationship with its community has become strained as public figures, such as Duncan "Thorin" Shields and Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles, criticized the company during the Tryndamere-Reginald debate, Rozelle says they go to great lengths to listen to the community and take their feedback.

“I’m proud we do react to the community, right?" Rozelle said. "Whether it’s the community blowing up and getting angry at us, I’m proud to react to that. I’m proud when the community has a great idea and we’re like ‘yeah, that’s a pretty good idea, let’s integrate that” into whether it’s our broadcast or our game or something, I’m proud of that."

Rozelle and Kennedy also say that the new revenue-sharing opportunities are the first steps in building stronger partnerships with LCS teams, but they are not ready to talk formal arrangements, such as franchising, until 2018.

"I think in general we want to move away from the supplementing model, where the teams are able to go and thrive independently and also in partnership with Riot and with the league they’re a part of," Kennedy said. "And we’re always looking at our schedules, we’re always thinking about what’s the right way to structure this. We have an entire dedicated to try and optimize this for that ultimate goal, which is to get us all to the place where we’re a sustainable premiere sport that lasts a really long time."

Beyond discussing yesterday's announcement, the two responded to a community question about Riot's controversial arbitration system and announced early plans to look into third-party arbitration for major decisions, such as banning a team from the LCS, as early as 2017.

"Since essentially the Renegades/TDK ruling and onward is that, y'know look, we believe in the ruling, right? We believe in the policies that we have, the process that we have, but we also think that, y'know, this is not the ideal situation, we believe it can evolve as well," Rozelle said. "And so, we believe enough in the ruling that we have that we're willing to begin exploring how can we bring in a third party to help validate, or arbitrate, we don't know exactly the system yet, but we do want to do that as early as 2017."

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.

Riot reveals revenue-sharing for teams, crowdfunding for Worlds and MSI prize pool

Thumbnail image courtesy of theScore esports / Riot Games

Riot Games has promised some major changes for LoL esports in 2017, including revenue sharing for team-branded in-game goods, and increases to Worlds' and MSI's prize pools through skin sales.

"As we move into 2017 and beyond, we’re continuing to take steps towards a future where top LoL players have very well paid, long careers doing what they love - and where LoL esports team organizations are thriving businesses led by empowered owners who share responsibility and accountability for the long term prosperity of the sport," the announcement says.

"To help get us there, we’ll share LoL esports revenue streams and collaborate with our partners to develop new business models and actively shape the league. We want these partners to have permanent stakes, to be invested in a stable future and to profit from the continued success of the sport."

While the statement says revenue sharing will begin with 25 percent of Team Championship skin revenues going to the teams they're based on beginning with this year's Worlds, Riot will also be introducing new team-branded in-game content in 2017 and increasing the percentage of summoner icon revenue that goes to the teams.

In addition, 25 percent from Championship skin revenue will go towards increasing the prize pool for Worlds, similar to Dota 2's Compendiums and Capcom's Capcom Pro Tour DLC pack, which added $90,000 to this year's Capcom Cup prize pool. Twenty-five percent of Challenger skin sales will also be going towards the Mid-Season Invitational prize pool.

"As we invest and build towards the future, we recognize that the current ecosystem isn’t consistently profitable yet for team owners or for the league. Costs have risen — namely in the form of player salary increases and support for those pros — mainly as a direct result of significant external investment and interest in the scene," the statement says.

"This part of the journey isn’t unusual; escalated investment is a natural occurrence in a growing ecosystem, and is a sign that our initial approach has been working. However, we recognize that we can help rebalance the scene by accelerating some of our longer-term economic tactics to help address short-term pain felt by many of our partners."

As new revenue-sharing ventures find their feet, Riot will also be giving teams a lump, minimum income in 2017, to be determined on a league-by-league basis.

"In 2017 each league will set aside a guaranteed minimum to each of its teams as it determines appropriate based on regional needs. For example, the EU LCS will have a minimum revenue amount of €100,000 per team for the full season, of which 50% will go to players as supplemental income on top of their existing salaries. Even without counting the retroactive payments to past champions, this will contribute millions of dollars in additional revenue to teams and pros each year."

The promises of revenue-sharing and increased prize pools could go a long way towards alleviating the concerns of LCS team owners brought up during the public feud between Riot president Marc "Tryndamere" Merrill and Team SoloMid owner Andy "Reginald" Dinh that resulted in several in several LCS teams sending a proposal to Riot for better cooperation.

RELATED: Reginald responds to Tryndamere: 'It’s irrational to invest even more money into LCS, given how restrictive LCS is'

While Merrill ultimately apologized for launching personal attacks on Reginald on Reddit and promised new revenue-sharing opportunities for teams in 2017, today's announcement tiptoes around actually giving teams a say in the LCS through formalized partnerships. While the statement says the company is building plans for partnerships, nothing major will happen on that front until 2018.

"Nailing fandom and strong economics is important for a thriving sport — but stability, with partnered organizations and the right structure, helps create a healthier environment in which our sport can grow and evolve over the longer term," the statement says.

"We’re not yet at the stage where we can describe exactly what long-term org partnerships will look like; we’re not sure how they’ll work, or even if there will be the same structure in each region. Creating long-term partnerships across the globe is complicated — legally, financially, operationally. That said, the first step is securing those partners and putting the right structure in place. We will be looking to make this step in 2018."

However, Riot acknowledges that these moves are the first steps on a longer path towards developing a mature sport and a mature business model.

"We believed the future was bright for LoL esports in 2012 — and it’s even brighter today as we take our most significant steps yet. As we face additional challenges and future unknowns, we’ll continue to stick to our core beliefs; to put esports fans first, to build a great ecosystem that keeps the sport you love around for the long-term, and which fans, pros & teams all aspire to," the announcement says.

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Introduction to EU LCS, LPL and LMS jungle pathing assessment

by 14h ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of 刘一村 / LPL / 刘一村's album

The jungle is playing a massive role in the upcoming World Championship. Speculation ranks this year's talent pool as one of the deepest jungle pools at a major League of Legends event in history.

But exploring how junglers work within a team is difficult and nuanced. The days where junglers were solely rated on their ability to impact their lanes have waned. Using junglers as a more integrated part of the team has become the norm, and assessing what decisions a jungler makes and what style he plays can give an individual insight into how a team operates.

As an experiment, I looked at the junglers from three regions (the EU LCS, the League of Legends Pro League and the League of Legends Master Series) that will attend the World Championship. I went over and took pathing notes based on the decisions and types of actions each jungler made for the first 10 minutes of every game on Patch 6.15 (the region's playoffs and Regional Qualifiers). There was a focus on the first 10 minutes, since it is at this point in the game that the junglers are generally on an even footing. The early game also provides the most insight into a player's jungling style, as opposed to after more turrets fall, and the jungler's role more resembles that of his teammates

Due to the time required to path these junglers, I limited my approach to the junglers I was most familiar with and LMS junglers. As a next step, one would want to expand the sample to NA LCS, Korean, and Wild Card junglers.

This exercise helped me better understand how each jungler works with his team and also how the patch may have started impacting how teams play around their junglers.

Methodology note:

Each jungler's decision-making was tracked in Google Sheets, and then gone over to note what the jungler did in tandem with his opponent. Qualitative assessments will be discussed by jungler along with simple quantitative notes.

In a somewhat crude attempt to quantify jungler decision-making, types of actions were counted. This is mostly supplemental to the exercise of pathing and observing junglers from more qualitative perspective, but it’s a guide that can help one judge subtle differences in what a player prioritizes.

An action is mapped as “farm” if a jungler clears a camp or clears a wave in a lane. If a jungler only gets part of a camp or a wave due to splitting it with another player on his team or counterjungling, this is half a clear.

An action is mapped as “vision” if a player places a ward or kills an enemy ward. Securing a scuttle crab is counted as a warding and not a farm action because it provides relatively less experience. An action is a “buy” action if the jungler backs to base to buy, but not if he dies first.

Confrontational actions include initiating a gank, hovering around a lane as if to look for a gank, or answer an opponent jungler if he ganks first. Ganks can be simple entries into lanes to force a laner to back off or surprise ganks with the obvious intent to go for a kill, but won’t include simple “pass through” actions.

All data are subject to interpretation and recording error, which is why these measures should only be considered crude observations supplemented by analyst observations. Detailed pathing sheets will be linked in each jungler’s section for further observation. Note that, because of limited data, some observations will be more complete than others (for instance, junglers with only five games on the new patch vs. junglers with 20 games). Observations will also be supplemented with general notes on jungler tendencies from the regular season.

Average amount of action lines in the first 10 minutes by category for EU LCS, LPL and LMS junglers at Worlds

Jungler Farm Vision Buy Confrontation Gank Countergank K/D/A
Avoidless 12.96 9.14 1.93 4.43 1.64 0.43 2.36
clearlove 12.88 10.50 2.00 3.38 1.00 0.75 1.63
Jankos 13.30 9.17 2.25 2.67 1.75 0.25 0.67
Karsa 13.63 11.00 1.75 2.50 1.13 0.13 1.25
Mlxg 12.94 7.75 1.88 3.13 1.13 0.63 1.38
Mountain 13.64 8.21 1.86 2.57 1.21 0.00 1.36
Trashy 13.93 8.79 1.86 2.86 1.43 0.50 0.93
Trick 14.63 8.75 2.00 3.63 1.88 0.63 1.13

These values will be discussed in more detail, especially pertaining to proportion of jungler actions, in each individual player's section.

EU LCS junglers

LPL junglers

LMS junglers

Image credit: 刘一村

Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore esports. You can follow her on Twitter.

Watch: UC Irvine becomes first public university to offer LoL scholarships

by 1d ago

On Sept. 23, 2016, the University of California, Irvine, debuted their 3,500-square-foot iBUYPOWER esports arena located right in the heart of their Student Center. Equipped with 80 gaming PCs, the arena will serve as a home base for UCI’s official esports team to train, as well as the UCI gaming community. Earlier this year, UCI recruited five students based on their League of Legends abilities and academic record to play on their competitive team.

Players received scholarships to help with tuition, totalling about $15,000 and can keep any winnings earned from matches. UCI has become the first public university in North America to implement an esports scholarship program. With the program expanding, there are an additional five scholarships up for grabs.

For more video interviews and highlights, be sure to subscribe to theScore esports on YouTube.

Riot and CSL partner for 2017 uLoL Campus Series

by 1d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Collegiate StarLeague

Riot Games and The Collegiate StarLeague are working together for the 2017 season of CSL's collegiate level League of Legends league.

While CSL have worked with Riot in the past on the uLoL Campus Series, this will be the first season that Riot are involved as partners. Duran Parsi, CEO of the Collegiate StarLeague says, "By creating this partnership, CSL and Riot are bringing together our expertise and relationships to push collegiate eSports to the forefront of peoples’ minds."

The new season doesn't kick off until Jan. 14 2017, but registration begins in just over two weeks and will remain open until Dec. 5 2016. The league will consist of a round robin group stage, the top teams advancing to the single elimination playoff bracket followed by a LAN final.

Annabelle "Abelle" Fischer is a writer for theScore esports with a love for Dota 2, birds and cheese. You can follow her on Twitter.

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