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ASUS ROG CUP

The ASUS ROG Champion’s Cup concluded last week with the final match going 3-1 in favour of underdog League of Legends (League or LoL for short) team Missing in Action (MIA). It was rather one-sided and was a strong demonstration of how strategy and tactics out-scaled raw individual skill.

While the games were quite exciting, the true triumph was the demonstration of how far the League of Legends scene in Malaysia has come. In many ways, the ROG Champion’s Cup was a wildly successful event, but, like many other events and conventions, it had its highs and lows. Here are five of them.

1. Location was spot-on

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The event took place on Sunway Pyramid’s ice rink, and that was pretty cool. Not only did the ice rink have plenty of space for the 1,500 or so people that turned up, but passersby could also tune in on the action from the floors above (which they did) and cheer along with the rest of the crowd.

I think that hosting it in a shopping mall was a great move because you can generate a lot of buzz. People start posting details about the event on their social media and could bring more fans to the venue. It’s also easily accessible with plenty of parking and an abundance of food for quick lunch breaks.

2. The crowd was amazing

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Speaking of the crowd, they were pretty amazing. Not only were they sporting and rather friendly, a big majority of them were pretty invested in the games. I loved the oohs and ahhs after every play and the collective gasps when someone gets caught out.

It was awesome. All the energy and hype and excitement added another layer of enjoyment to watching competitive League games.

3. Unfortunately, the games were on a 3-minute delay

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I get that delays are a necessary part of live broadcasting. It’s there for the broadcasting team to recover from any technical difficulties and to keep the games competitive. If the games were played live, the audience’s reaction could ruin the competitive integrity of the games.

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But 3 minutes seems a little excessive. That’s the standard delay Riot bakes into the League, spectator client. I have been told by reputable sources that the international standard for a live League match broadcast is about 5 seconds which is more than acceptable.

A short delay benefits both the crowd and the players. When players make a good play, they can revel in the cheers of the crowd and build off that positive energy. Likewise, the players’ reactions won’t feel disconnected from what the audience is seeing on a screen.

Just picture being able to hear all five players yelling in triumph as they get a clean team fight or whatever, but all you see on screen is Graves picking up the Blue Buff, and you’ll get a general idea.

4. The broadcast screen also leaves much to be desired

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When you’re watching a competitive League game, there are several things you should keep track of to make sure that you understand the context behind each play. Besides watching what’s happening on-screen, you should also be paying attention to the minimap (so you know where everyone is), the buff/objective timers, and the items/gold differential between the teams.

The unfortunate thing is — due to the placement of the large screen, the placement of the teams and how the audience was seated — you could never see all that information at once.

Both MIA and Raiding Squad (RS) were playing on a stage and were blocking at least one-quarter of the broadcast screen. That means, all the information at the bottom (minimap, items, CS, gold) was completely obscured.

5. But, the worst thing by far were the shoutcasters

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Yep. At this point, I feel like a broken record because whenever I talk about local competitive League tournaments, it always ends with: The casters were bad. And this was no exception.

Both casters made plenty of mistakes when it came to play-by-play casting like calling out wrong moves an inaccurate portrayals of champion strengths. They even messed up how many champions were killed in each fight. I mean, the champion portraits are right there next to the screen, guys, come on.

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What shocked me was when one of the casters started complaining (borderline whining, actually) when the game was paused to sort out some technical issues. Usually, casters would use this time to analyse the game, make some predictions or theorise a way that the losing team could come back from the deficit. Heck, you could even tell a funny story, but please, don’t kick up a fuss and yell “RITO PLS” into the microphone.

I could go on, but at this point, I’m willing to chalk the other borderline sexist remarks and feeble attempts at creating friendly banter down to inexperience. I’ll even forgive the lack of in-depth game knowledge because it seems that they’re both play-by-play casters (as opposed to one colour and one play-by-play). But please, for future events, I’d love to see a more solid casting duo.

But, at the end of the day…

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I’m still mighty impressed by the event. It’s one that ASUS can look back and be proud of. The turnout was incredible; the games were exciting, and the fans were awesome. Oh, and did I mention that there were cosplayers with super awesome costumes? Well, there were.

The one or two hiccups are not enough to pull focus away from how enjoyable the event was. I walked away a happy LoL fan, and I think that that’s all you need to take away from this event. Kudos ASUS, this was hugely fun, and I’d love to attend more events like this in the future. Just maybe try and get better commentators OK?