Dropping Best-of-3's for 'League of Legends' Shows Casuals Back in Charge


A less rigorous competitive format might be bad for the sport, but it could be good for the show.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/ne7kxx/dropping-best-of-3s-for-league-of-legends-shows-casuals-back-in-charge


I think this is a damn shame. I really enjoyed watching the ways teams would adjust based on previous games in the match. To me, this would be like tennis matches being one game long.


Hello, I am a stranger in a strange land and my curiosity doth overtake me:

  1. How long does one competitive-level LoL match usually last?

My experience with watching ~competitive games~ ranges from things as short as Crypt of the Necrodancer Cadence races (<10 minutes a run means Bo3s are over in under half an hour) to things as long as TF2 Highlander payload matches (Bo3, but each single “match” is actually two payload matches back-to-back with the attacking/defending positions reversed). Both of these “scenes” are small and low-key compared to things like LoL, and I don’t know how much those kind of things factor into not feeling overwhelmed.

  1. In high-level LoL matches, how much side commentary is there, typically?

When I watched some Overwatch tournament videos on Youtube some weeks ago (…despite never having played the game), I was mildly surprised by how much fluff there was in terms of talking heads, interviews with everybody, pre-recorded clips of the team members, etc. Is that just Overwatch/just that one fancy tournament in particular, or is this typical of highly commercialized “esport” game tournaments in general?


Average match time is probably around 35 mins, but can easily climb to 50mins-1hr if the teams are well-matched or really bad at closing out games. The real killer is that the time between matches is usually 20 minutes minimum between drafting, analyst desk and just random idling. And there are fairly frequent pauses for technical issues with the player’s equipment or in-game bugs that can run anywhere from 5 to 20 mins.

Also, not mentioned in the article is that the current format showed the NALCS on two concurrent streams which meant that the average viewer, even if they watched games for 6 hours on a Saturday afternoon, would only see half of the schedule. The Korean and Chinese leagues got away without this by showing series 5 days a week. With the big-money investment coming into the scene next season by way of franchising, there’s no way Riot could get away with some of the viewer splitting that they had in 2017 and keep to a 2-3 day schedule.


I don’t know if they still do it but at one point I watched a Chinese Dota tournament where the finale was a best of 7, where it ended up going for the full series of nine matches. I fell asleep at around game 2, woke up 7-8 hours later when the final match was just ending.

Playing 8+ hours of top-level competitive Dota sounds like the legal definition of torture to me.