League of Legends is a top-rated online arena game. It is one of the few that defined this genre of gaming. L.O.L. invited players to its doorstep for years. L.O.L just celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2019.
The game-making company Riot developed L.O.L. Since it’s beginning, L.O.L. was able to gain a lot of attention among gamers, because of it’s a different business model and innovative in-game ideas.
This article discusses the story of how our favorite M.O.B.A. game L.O.L. came to be.
This story starts with two people Marc Merrill and Brandon Beck. Beck and Merrill were college buddies and game enthusiasts. They used to play games together for hours when they were studying Business at the University of California.
After they left the U.S.C, their passion for games followed them. They moved into an apartment and became roommates. While Beck worked as a management consultant, Merrill was looking for opportunities in business management.
But they were still enthusiastic about playing games. Merrill describes their passion as a one-way street. While they were passionate about it, their backgrounds weren’t compatible with game making.
They could still pursue game publishing types of jobs as their career choices. As they became more and more passionate about playing games, they also started to get involved in its business.
They started consulting for a few gaming companies. In particular, one company was famous for its multiplayer game, which is now defunct, had Beck and Merrill as their advisor. They both believed in the ideas of the company and helped it get investors. As Merril calls it, this experience was a defining point in their game-making career, where they learned a lot about this world.
Around 2005, the company sort of had a revival, with a new C.E.O. at the helm. The C.E.O. met with Beck and Merrill to get them on board with the company and have their valuable input about which direction the company should go.
As they started discussing it, they were fascinated by the opportunities in the sector. They dissected the trends, the industry’s future, and began to see a serious potential.
At that time, a M.O.B.A. was floating around. It was an offshoot of the famous strategy game Warcraft III. A map of the game called the Defense of The Ancients or, as famously known now- D.O.T.A.
D.O.T.A. employed a unique battleground experience viewed from above, with the players not only engaging each other with spells but also their brains’ power.
D.O.T.A. was a map mod that had to be downloaded externally. It was maintained by a group of volunteers who played the game mostly. It lacked the finishing to unleash it’s opportunities entirely.
Beck and Merril, correctly guessed the potential of such a game. Instead of buying D.O.T.A. out or investing in it, they wanted to invest in their own project to create a polished and enjoyable experience.
So, they arranged a D.O.T.A. competition at their former campus in the U.S.C. to check out the crowd. They had an ulterior motive of hiring interns who shared the same passion and enthusiasm about games.
At this D.O.T.A. playoff, they first met their future game producer Jeff Jew. Jew was one of the very few people at the competition who knew about D.O.T.A. and was enthusiastic about games like this. After the match ended, Beck and Merril met Jew. After a short interview, they offered Jew an internship position at their company, The Riot Games.
As Jew explains it, the Riot office at the beginning was like a lightless dark hole, behind a sea of cubicles. The first interns started to work in that cramped environment. They hired Steve Feak, one of the original designers of the D.O.T.A., which was a massive hire for them, and under him, the development really took off.
It was the most critical part of the process. They started this process with the name Onslaught. With Feak under their hood, the team of developers began brainstorming ideas. However, their main issue was financing.
So, Beck and Merril went out there to collect some funds. They secured 1.5 million U.S.D. from angel investors and family. But when they were out there collecting funds, some dramatic developments occurred at Riot.
Due to creative differences, all four members of the core developer team left the company. They wanted to create a more honest D.O.T.A. adaptation of the game. But others felt they should try to go a different way, create something more unique. After this incident, the development team only consisted of the interns.
Jeff Jew recalls those periods before the 2009 release. They initially had planned to use 20 champions, but Beck and Merril suggested using 40. By hiring more interns and outsourcing various items, the team worked day and night to bring this idea to fruition.
And they succeeded. Finally, the beta was opened to the players after 27 October 2009. If you want to join L.O.L., you can do so by buying accounts from aussyelo.
After the launch, the game faced a massive challenge from the rival M.O.B.A. game Heroes of Newerth, developed by S2 Corporation. The leading developers behind this game were the engineers who left the L.O.L. team.
This game was superior in graphics and artwork to L.O.L. But L.O.L. got the edge using its business model. By allowing the game to be a free-for-all, Riot had spun the stage. Very soon, after the beta stage, when H.O.N. announced its price tag, a lot of gamers, especially in Asia, turned away from it and towards L.O.L.
After this, Riot never had to look back. In 2009 Riot had made $ 1.29 million using their in-game purchase business strategy. By 2011 their earnings went up to $ 85 million. In 2018, they had earned $ 1.7 billion through L.O.L. They have an average of 8 million people playing their games every day.
Starting from a dark room, now they have a 20-acre campus, I think this summarizes the rise of L.O.L and Riot in one sentence.