League of Legends and the Unrest in North American Esports

League Of Legends Pro Players Strike
League Of Legends Pro Players Strike

The world of esports has been set aflutter as professional players from the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) have elected to down their tools and go on strike. In a move backed by the vast majority, the LCS Players Association, the representative body for North American League of Legends professionals, has agreed to take action following Riot Games’ recent overhaul of its developmental systems.

The Roots of the Dispute

Riot Games sparked controversy in November 2022 by introducing the North American Challenges League (NACL), slated as a key element of its 2023 esports agenda. This newly-formed league was set to succeed existing developmental initiatives like Academy and Proving Grounds, boasting a roster of 16 teams. Ten of these would be “Fixed Teams,” essentially a reinvention of the Academy teams linked with official LCS outfits, supplemented by 6 amateur “Provisional Teams” earning their spots through qualifying rounds. The NACL is scheduled to kick off on the 10th of June.

The proverbial storm began brewing when Riot Games dropped a bombshell on May 12th. The developer announced a significant overhaul of NACL, removing the obligation for LCS organisations to field NACL teams. This revision extended to making all NACL teams susceptible to relegation, encompassing those associated with LCS. The fallout led to the disbanding of seven LCS developmental teams, including 100 Thieves and Cloud9. The LCSPA, feeling the brunt of the decision that saw upwards of 70 players, coaches, and managers suddenly unemployed, immediately suggested several corrective measures. When Riot remained largely indifferent, the players resorted to the nuclear option and voted to strike.

The Ramifications of the LCS Strike

While the decision to strike has prompted a dialogue, Riot Games’ response has been somewhat muted. The LCSPA put forth demands for a $300,000-per-team revenue pool among other conditions. Riot, however, countered with a $100,000 prize pool for the entire league alongside a revenue-sharing programme. It is worth noting that this financial stalemate caused the early casualty of Tiktok Tony Top, a top contender in the NACL 2023 promotion tournament, who opted to disband rather than participate.

An Uncertain Future for the League Of Legends LCS Season

As the commencement of the League of Legends North American league’s summer season looms, Riot Games is warning of cancellation if the LCSPA does not resume duties. Consequently, Riot has decided to push the LCS season start date back by a fortnight. Any further delay, according to Riot, would make it “impossible to run a legitimate competition.” The developer also threatened to revoke LCS teams’ participation in the 2023 World Championships if the season were to be axed.

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The LCSPA is set to officially commence their strike on Thursday, June 1st. Despite a fortnight’s delay and the threat of an entire season being canned, there is no immediate solution in sight. Riot’s rebuttal of the LCSPA’s five strike demands, opting instead to inject an additional $300,000 into the NACL, suggests the ensuing two weeks may not suffice to quell the unrest. Amidst the controversies already marring League of Legends LCS in 2023, Riot Games’ current choices appear to be causing a further stir among fans.

League of Legends is currently playable on PC.

About The Author

Stephen is the proud owner of a popular gaming news website GLN, where he provides the latest updates on everything gaming-related. With a passion for video games that dates back to his childhood, Stephen is dedicated to sharing his knowledge and expertise with fellow gamers around the world.

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