By: Jay (GrimlockTheDino9)
I recently went to the NA LCS Championship for League of Legends in Toronto. This was my first League of Legends event. My two reactions after this event were "Why have I never been to one of these?" and "When and where is the next event?!"
League of Legends has been a hot and cold game for me personally. It has a decent learning curve and the toxic community in the past made me take several breaks from the game. This last return to the game has been different. My enjoyment level for this game has never been higher. The community has improved; specifically, I can play with strangers and not be told that I should kill myself. Riot has done a great job of improving both their game and its community.
Because I have been enjoying this game so much I decided to attend my first League of Legends event. That is when Jazze (our League of Legends expert) told me about the championship event, which was only 4 hours away. We packed the SUV and made our way to Toronto.
Riot had multiple events in the city over the weekend. We attended the Rift Walk, 3rd place match, and the championship match. The Rift Walk is designed to make you feel like you are walking through the game itself and interacting as if you were part of the game. Full size creatures and props, mixed with stations to take photos and videos, all tied to a wrist band you register to your email. One day later a custom video/slideshow shows up in your inbox showing your unique trip though the Rift. The last attraction, a 15 foot tall Thresh, was heard throughout the show, but as we turned the corner he was gone. Turns out it was not just a giant statue it was actually a suit controlled by a puppeteer. We were informed that the suit was damaged and they were not sure when it would be fixed. I was super bummed, until Monica from Riot walked up to us and told us to come back later, tell anyone working there that we did not get to see Thresh, and they would get us back in line. We returned the next day, explained what happened, and Joel from Riot stood up, said "OMG Follow Me!" and led us right into the show and to the Thresh line. He apologized for the previous day and told us to have a great experience. He even let us in on a little secret: a proposal was about to happen, involving Thresh.
Riot employees throughout the weekend were a highlight for me. Their kindness and willingness to make sure the fan was taken care of was a refreshing feeling in a world of cash hungry companies that, once they have your money, they no longer care about you.
The games were just as amazing; 20,000 in attendance for a video game! The atmosphere was unlike anything I have ever seen in the gaming community; it felt like I was at the Super Bowl. Fans of all 4 teams were friendly and co-existing. I met so many fans of the game and pro league that were willing to help me understand certain items since it was my first event. I left these games an even bigger fan of League of Legends and a new fan of the LCS (League of Legends Championship Series).
Riot has made some very nice changes to their game, resulting in improvements to the community and the continued success and growth of League of Legends. It continues to find new players and fans and has brought players back, like myself, who had once felt wronged by the game and community.
Thank you, Riot Games, for an amazing event in Toronto. I look forward to attending my next one in Chicago for the Worlds Quarterfinals.