In this article, we’ll delve into the unexpected turn of events as the North American League of Legends esports league players vote to strike against a pivotal rule change by Riot Games.
This change, which no longer requires franchises to support amateur teams, has already significantly impacted the league’s amateur system.
- Players have voted ‘overwhelmingly’ in favor of a walkout in response to Riot Games’ decision to no longer mandate franchises to field an amateur team.
- Riot’s announcement has seen numerous franchises drop their amateur teams, thereby affecting player development for the main League Championship Series.
- The protest is set to happen at the start of the summer season, unless an agreement is reached.
- Over 50% of current LCS professionals began their career through the NACL/Academy system, which is maintained in Europe, China, and Korea.
- Players are requesting a structured amateur competition, citing the importance of developmental leagues.
- Several LCS teams have already opted out of the NACL.
- A list of demands has been provided by the LCSPA, including a promotion and relegation system between the LCS and NACL, revenue pools for NACL salaries, and guaranteed contracts for LCS players that win the summer finals.
A Unanimous Vote for Walkout
In an unprecedented show of solidarity, North American League of Legends esports athletes have voiced their opposition to a contentious rule change.
Riot Games, the mastermind behind the popular game, recently announced a policy shift that no longer obliges franchises to sustain amateur teams.
This pronouncement has prompted a resounding response from the players, culminating in an ‘overwhelming’ vote in favor of a walkout.
It is yet to be seen exactly when this protest will materialize.
However, if the involved parties don’t reach a consensus, all signs point to the commencement of the summer season, often referred to as the “summer split,” as the likely stage for this extraordinary event.
The Impact of Riot’s Rule Change
The reverberations of Riot’s decision are already being felt within the gaming fraternity.
Since the announcement, an alarming number of franchises have waved goodbye to their amateur teams for the forthcoming summer season.
This development threatens to dismantle a crucial training ground for aspiring esports athletes who dream of competing in the main League Championship Series (LCS).
Unrest over this decision has been simmering beneath the surface for some time.
On May 12th, Riot Games reported that franchises had requested it to rescind the requirement for fielding teams in the amateur league, known as the North American Challengers League (NACL). In compliance, Riot proceeded to eliminate this obligation.
The Importance of the NACL/Academy System
The outcry from league players against Riot’s move to let franchises forgo NACL teams has been palpable.
One player, known as Palafox, publicly voiced his concerns on Twitter, asserting that without the Academy, his journey to the LCS would have been impossible.
Echoing these sentiments, another player, Chime, acknowledged the pivotal role the Academy/NACL system played in launching his professional career.
Interestingly, it’s worth noting that more than half of the current LCS professionals owe their success to the NACL/Academy system.
This fact underscores the critical role that competitive developmental leagues, such as those maintained in Europe, China, and Korea, play in nurturing esports talent.
LCS Teams Step Back from NACL
The aftershocks of Riot’s announcement were immediate and widespread. Within days, five of the ten teams in the LCS publicly declared their withdrawal from the NACL this summer.
These include 100 Thieves, Cloud9, Dignitas, Golden Guardians, and NRG.
On top of this, the LCSPA tweeted that TSM and Immortals would also not be fielding NACL teams.
This is a clear testament to the economic challenges these franchises face in maintaining an amateur team.
The LCSPA’s List of Demands
In light of these developments, the LCSPA has put forth a list of demands for Riot Games. At the forefront is a system of promotion and relegation between the LCS and the NACL.
They are also calling for revenue pools to be allocated for NACL salaries and for one-year contracts to be guaranteed for LCS players who emerge victorious in the summer finals.
In an effort to maintain unity, the LCSPA has urged players not to breach the walkout line if approached by a team to serve as a replacement.
As players unite in their pushback against Riot’s rule change, the future of the LCS 2023 Summer season remains uncertain.
As negotiations continue, it’s clear that the players’ commitment to the vitality of the amateur league and their own career development is steadfast.
With such wide-ranging impact, the outcome of this situation will undoubtedly shape the future of League of Legends esports and possibly the esports industry as a whole.
This walkout is a potent reminder that players’ voices are integral to the decision-making process in esports, as in all sports.