With Riot’s LCS being held in England this past weekend, thousands of players descended on the capital for 2 days full of League of Legends, bright lights and the best teams the EU has to offer.
The journey started for me a few weeks back while I was traveling home from London while frantically talking on the phone with my friend. “THE TICKETS HAVE GONE ON SALE 15 MINUTES EARLY!” were some of the noises the train-going folks around me had to endure as my excitement pierced through Paddington Station.
I do admit this was quite frustrating but as I was determined to get tickets, I had to be on the ball.
However, they were advertised to go on sale at a given time and I’m sure many people missed out on tickets or ended up logging on to find all of the ‘good’ seats gone. I say ‘good’ because I feel that Riot actually did a fantastic job in terms of the layout of the venue as the screen was huge and could be seen from everywhere.
Arriving at the Arena
Getting to Wembley is a fairly simple affair if you’re a little familiar with the tube (London’s Underground) and the hordes of people going to the Summertime Ball at the nearby Wembley Stadium didn’t crowd the way too much.
Outside of the arena there were some amazing cosplays on show, particularly impressive were the Fiddlesticks, Caitlyn (KhaosKosplay) and Quinn (BinkehLoL / Group Page), as well as hundreds of people discussing their favourite champions or who looked better in a Teemo hat (I don’t even think I was close).
The queue to get in was huge, which was to be expected with an event of this size and we were very lucky that we were diverted from the back original queue for the south east entrance in through the front door as it allowed us to get in around 10-15 minutes after we had arrived.
Inside the Venue
After you got inside there was a screen showing some promotional League material as well as reminding people to vote on twitter (#GMBWin) during the games but overall the entrance area was fairly plain. After seeing the pictures from All-Stars I was hoping for a bit more of a spectacle.
Entering the arena itself was a totally different story. I’m pretty over excitable at the best of times but I could barely contain myself as we entered the arena. My friend and I actually jumped with joy at the noises the crowd was already making by the time we got inside.
I haven’t been inside Wembley Arena before but Riot had done a great job. A huge screen dominated the stage while the players sat in front of an equally impressive back drop that contained all 8 team’s logos.
Although we struggled to see the CS numbers from so far back the game looked gorgeous. All of the characters moved so smoothly and the teamfights really exploded on the screen.
I’m going to have to start saving for my very own 164” screen (and the arena to go around it).
In classic English form the crowd were determined not to be out done by our French counterparts at All-Stars and I think we gave them a run for their money especially during the final game of the day on Sunday.
The chants for TSM (or was it Tea is Yum?), Froggen to play Anivia and “Who are ya?” when Gambit’s temporary roster were announced on stage really made the experience for me, though I know there have been some divided opinions.
The cheering for ward kills had never really been my thing but you couldn’t help but get involved on the day due to the energy that erupted from the crowd. My hands and feet still ache a little from all the clapping and stamping trying to show our support for our favourite teams.
It’s hard to think of real downsides for myself as a spectator, except the lack of merchandise on sale, but I can certainly think of a few Russian pros, and their fans, who will be more than a little frustrated with the experience.
It’s a shame that this situation occurred and with the views expressed at the event itself, plus plastered all over reddit, I can’t see this problem occurring again but it did highlight an issue with the system that Riot will want to rectify.
If I had to pick a way to try and excite my friends about League of Legends the way game appeals to me, then I can think of few better ways than to bring them along to Wembley last weekend. The crowd was electric the entire weekend and it pulled the event up to the level I would expect of a big game of football here in the UK.
I’m both proud and glad to be a part of it.