Hi im parnellyx and ive been playing in NA high elo since s7 (challenger since s8) and recently the owners of LCS orgs has been talking about the need for more Imports in NA. I think this is extremely frustrating to hear, especially when a lot of their "supporting points" are obviously flawed and lacking in genuine substance when you look past the surface. After Reginald posted his explanation a few days ago, I felt compelled to write this up and address what is ACTUALLY wrong with NA and how LCS Orgs are using lame excuses to support the destruction of NA as a region. Some claims here will be hypothetical to an extent but a lot of the issues brought up have clear counterarguments that aren't brought up enough
- Ping doesn't excuse our poor macro
- Population size is an overexaggerated issue
- imports who HAVE come here aren't able to shine like they should
- The core problem of SoloQ is lack of rookie opportunities/player turnover causing players to abandon grinding for LCS
- LCS Orgs don't know how to scout talent, and fail to even try
- NA's inherent weaknesses (ex. population) can be made up for in other areas (ex. financial resources)
- Excessive imports HURT the region
- If unlimited imports were allowed, we still wouldn't be a worlds competitor
- NA can be saved if effort is put in by LCS orgs over the next 3-5 years
- Population size is considered by some people to be the big deal breaker that prevents NA from ever being successful. While it is certainly a problem, it isn’t as impactful as many claim it to be. Look at many different sports across the world for examples. The MLB consists of ~11% Dominican Republic players, despite the US having roughly 30x the population and more money. The state of Florida produces many of the best American football players in the US. Denmark, in the league scene itself, produces a ton of talent on its own. I also believe there is a small city/region in the world that produces an abnormal amount of fighting talent (mentioned on JRE but can’t confirm). The point is that population is one of many factors that determine a region’s talent development. While NA doesn’t have as many people in the League scene as other regions, we could have advantages elsewhere that make up for the disadvantage (ex. Money, healthier environment). This argument is also proven to be overrated as KR and EU both compete internationally with CN, despite there being an even greater gap between those regions than there is between NA and KR. Korea even became dominant early on in the league scene and started winning Worlds(season 3+) BEFORE it had a massive player base spurt. Another point worth bringing up is the fact that OCE is now included in NA in terms of LCS, thus granting us a greater talent pool to choose from. While this doesn’t improve our SoloQ population, it does provide dozens of potential players who have had competitive experience to choose from.
- Ping being high is without a doubt a problem. But where Orgs claim it is the 1st or 2nd biggest problem, it really ranks at something like the 10th biggest problem. To put it simply, if ping is NA’s issue, why is our Macro SO BAD. Compared to other regions, our mechanics aren’t even that big of a detriment, rather its is our preparation, strategy, and approach to the game that is lacking. Analysts like LS has pointed out before how there is a fundamental understanding to the lane mechanics/positioning in NA laners, which isn’t overall tied to ping. In addition, NAram is more than a meme, and Perkz recently confirmed on Crackdown that NA teams have 0 understanding of managing the sidelanes/split push. If our mechanics are going to be slightly inferior, some ground needs to be made up on when it comes to macro and teaching the game, which seems to be the result of poor coaching. We've also had servers in the same location as LCS teams before, but they still underperformed internationally. Lastly, it's hard to take the Ping complaints seriously when teams can't even commit to inhouses for more than a week, despite it being an obvious solution that 1) allows for players to practice on 0 ping, and 2) removes the delay of queue times that are often complained about.
NA SoloQ is Bad:
- First hand, I can tell you that imports have overall not helped much. There are some that excel in SoloQ and push the level of the players against them (CoreJJ, Zven, etc.) but there hasn’t been the grand revolution to Soloq where all of the NA talent is grinding at the chance to outrank the dozen of superstar players that have taken over our server. Not to mention, some are infamous for trolling/inting soloQ games (Piglet, Mickey, Ignar, Jiizuke, etc.) and have done the opposite of improve soloq. Imports have not helped much in terms of soloQ quality.
- The main problem, that NO ONE seems to talk about, is the previous lack of turnover in LCS and opportunities for new players. This is a point that I can tell you about first hand because it has affected me and the people I know, and it’s a clear effect on soloq players over recent years. If you do not believe that you will get a fair opportunity to start in LCS, regardless of academy performance, you will be less likely to feel inspired about going pro. Over the years, there have been many players stuck in “Academy Hell” and denied opportunity in favor for failing LCS veterans and lackluster imports. A lot of people in SoloQ believe that streaming is a much easier and more reliable path to success, thus that is the avenue most people have taken, including myself. Since season 7, I have seen a very noticeable drop in the amount of people actively working towards going pro. In EUW soloQ, you’ll often see players’ have references to their amateur team names like “RES Bachi” or in search of team opportunities like “Bachi LFT”, whereas in NA SoloQ all you really see is “TWTVBachi” or “BachiYOUTUBE”. If there is a clear path to success for NA players, they will be actively trying to improve and take each game seriously more than if they were streaming or simply playing for fun. Worlds results certainly affects the inspiration of SoloQ players as well, but it won’t be exciting for anyone on the server if the LCS World Champions are 5 Korean imports. To improve on NA SoloQ is to give the players a reason to climb and prove themselves, which will be seen after a couple years of NA players getting opportunities in LCS when they deserve it.
Imports would be better for NA:
- First of all, it’s no secret that the most generous scenario would be that teams get leftovers mixed with random super stars, like what AfreecaFreecs is now. There isn’t going to be anything like the full Damwon roster being here. Also, Reginald says that the good NA players would still flourish regardless of the player pool, but this was proven wrong in recent years, as many NA players were stuck in “Academy Hell” and not given a chance in favor of CLEARLY underperforming LCS veterans. Obviously, if an org thinks a player like ABlazeolive or Diamond is overrated and they don’t believe in him, that’s fine, but it’s the fact that they were willing to go with guaranteed SUBPAR players over testing the waters that is telling. Why would they suddenly try out NA players if they could import more?
We have imports that drop in quality in NA/cant do well at worlds with 4 or 5 imports:
- This idea of full import teams isn’t even a mystery anymore as recent years has had multiple LCS teams with 4 or 5 imported players. Sure, there is a difference between buying 4 korean players that are coming off a hot year over someone like Impact, who won worlds almost 8 years ago, but these seasoned imports falling off in their international level cannot be considered a coincidence over infrastructure problems. A player like Impact or Bjergsen would have likely been better overall players had they not left where they came from. Every time a big name comes to NA, everyone hypes them up as if they will change the region completely, but so far dozens of names have failed to match the expectations or even got worse when coming over, including Bang, Kobbe, Ssumday, Broxah, Piglet, Mickey, Mithy, YellowStar, etc. Some of these players were solid and sometimes even really good relative to most of the league, but the only two players that have had a real impact on LCS overall were Bjergsen and CoreJJ. It doesn’t seem likely that all these players failed to dominate or improve because of coincidence, bad luck, or culture change (although this definitely affects some). It seems that there is some internal incompetence across the league that makes it hard for star players to shine.
The laziness of the owners in trying to tackle the problem really shows with primary excuses they make for why the region is bad. They are offering nothing inciteful, and just citing trending narratives that are easy to point out aren’t the core issue (as seen in this thread).
- Professional League of Legends is by no means a solved game. There will still be massive improvements that will be seen 5 years from now that have room to grow. For example, say every aspect of Pro Play has a rating of how close to perfect Pro Teams are. So on a scale of 100, Micro = 70, Macro = 60, Draft = 50 in-game, and out-of-game Money = 70, Culture = 50, etc. There is still room to grow in each category, and even though LCS is at a disadvantage in the Population aspect, we are still ahead in the Money aspect. Proper investments combined with hard work could elevate NA’s macro, for example, above the rest of the world so that even if our mechanics are worse, because of soloq ping, our strategy and rotations will be superior due to better planning and practice in this aspect. Owners shouldn’t simply be throwing more money around and expecting results. Instead, this could be a classic example of working smarter, not harder. My overall point here Is that the League of Legends scene isn’t super established and optimized by anyone, including the best in the world. Meaning that there are advantages our region can get to make up for our disadvantages, like a lowish server population.
- There really isn’t much effort being put into ACTUALLY fixing our problems. The orgs simply want quick fixes/cheat codes that can somehow turn things around. The problem is that they are looking for some that does not exist. Investment has to be made into developing talent and properly coaching/managing LCS teams or else, as we can see, everything will collapse, regardless of what new superstar import comes over to “save the day” and accomplish little. Research needs to be done by the orgs to figure out how to improve the region. Reginald claims that a lot of money is going into development of talent yet no improvements have been made, thus it's a lost cause. But I don't think that these investments are going into the right areas. Helping out the 5 players that go on a KR bootcamp only supports the development in talent at the top, not from the bottom. Players should be brought up gradually over time, like in EU, where LEC rookies usually have at least 2-3 years of regional league experience under their belt. In China, players in Diamond and Master Tier are being brought into Team training systems to help motivate the players and also introduce them to competitive league of legends. In LCS, 0 Master or Grandmaster players are scouted before they prove themselves. In Korea, Chovy was said to be a Master tier (I think?) Cassiopeia one trick when he was reached out to. They saw something in him before any casual spectators could. Meanwhile, in NA, TF Blade reached rank 1 and then streamed for an entire year before anyone took real notice in him, and say what you want about TF Blade now, it is undeniable that when he first came up as the 18 year old rank 1 akali/irelia player, he had a lot of potential that could have been molded into a really great player, but instead he was already committed to streaming. In Asia, Orgs sometimes see POTENTIAL in a player and try to pick them up and shape them into a future star, whereas in NA Orgs always wait for a player to PROVE themselves before they show interest, despite the players not having an effective way to prove themselves.
- LCS Orgs don’t even have to commit to picking up a player for their team to invest into NA Talent. Simply reaching out to Master+ players and offering coaching, inhouses, interest, advice, etc. could work wonders at inspiring players so that not only could some become solid future LCS players, but also make them want to take SoloQ more seriously. LCS Orgs need to learn how to scout for talent and also invest more into their future players.
The Future NA LCS and League as a whole if Import rule is lifted:
- An unlimited import rule would have a massive negative global effect on League of Legends. Essentially, NA and China would absorb half of the talent, and NA would still fall behind the other regions (except maybe EU) due to infrastructure issues. China would be heavily favored in every single international tournament until the end of time. LEC and LCK would become less interesting and competitive, and if it gets bad enough interest in the video game might entirely dissolve over time. On NA, not only would it be a little bit less interesting to watch fresh foreigners represent the region over natives, SoloQ would take an even more massive hit as nearly no one would think about going pro. Removing or reducing the import rule would destroy NA, EU, and KR over a few years, crippling the game in its entirety. It makes no sense in comparison to other competitive sports. If anything, import restrictions should be INCREASED to improve the future development of NA and the integrity of the region.
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