League of Legends Esports Players Vote for Walkout in Protest of Riot Games’ Decision

Hello there, my fellow tech enthusiasts! Today, we have some interesting news from the world of esports. It seems that players in the North American League of Legends esports league are planning a walkout in protest of Riot Games’ recent decision. What decision, you ask? Well, Riot Games has decided to no longer require franchises to field an amateur team, which has caused many franchises to drop their amateur teams for the summer season. This move has cut off an important development pipeline for players who want to compete in the main League Championship Series (LCS).

According to an early Monday tweet, the vote held by the LCSPA, which represents North American League of Legends esports players, passed “overwhelmingly.” It’s unclear exactly when the walkout will take place, but assuming the two sides don’t come to some sort of agreement, it seems likely it will happen at the start of the summer season (also called the “summer split”) on June 1st.

Tensions over this issue have been brewing for some time now. On May 12th, Riot Games announced that franchises had asked it to drop the mandate requiring them to field teams in the amateur league, the North American Challengers League (NACL), and that it would be dropping that mandate. In a statement that same day, players pushed for some kind of structured amateur competition, noting that “over 50 percent of current LCS pros came up through the NACL / Academy system” and that Europe, China, and Korea maintain competitive developmental leagues.

Many League of Legends players have voiced their disappointment with Riot’s decision to let franchises not field NACL teams. Some players have even taken to Twitter to share their thoughts. For example, Palafox, a player for NRG’s LCS team wrote on Twitter: “I wouldn’t be in [the] LCS had it not been for Academy.” Another player for TSM, Chime, tweeted: “The Academy / NACL system gave me the opportunity to pursue a pro career.”

However, in the days after Riot’s announcement, five of the ten teams in the LCS said they wouldn’t be participating in the NACL this summer (100 Thieves, Cloud9, Dignitas, Golden Guardians, and NRG), and the LCSPA tweeted that two more wouldn’t have NACL teams, either (TSM and Immortals). Many North American esports organizations have been struggling as of late — TSM announced it would be leaving the LCS for another region, NRG recently acquired Counter Logic Gaming, and 100 Thieves laid off staff in January — and some of the statements from the franchises noted the challenging economics of having an amateur team.

On Tuesday, journalist Mikhail Klimentov reported that players would be voting on the walkout. An LCSPA list of demands for Riot Games includes a system of promotion and relegation between the LCS and the NACL, revenue pools for NACL salaries, and guaranteed contracts for one year for the LCS players that win the summer finals. On Monday, the LCSPA asked players to not cross the walkout line if recruited by a team to play as a replacement.

As of now, Riot Games and the LCSPA haven’t responded to requests for comment. It remains to be seen how this situation will play out, but one thing is for sure – esports players are taking a stand and fighting for what they believe in.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you think that Riot Games should require franchises to field an amateur team? Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by Nuked

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