This week saw the start of the NGL League of Legends Online League 2012, as all 32 teams who played in the seeding tournament in February have now been placed into their respective division. We chatted to the two Head Admins for the league, Frans “A10 Greep3r” Scheepers and Marnewicke “Switch19″ Loubser to get some insight into how League of Legends is faring in a competitive environment in SA.
NAG: The official online league kicked off this week. How successful was the Seeding Tournament in placing clans in their respective divisions?
A10 Greep3r: The seeding tournament was very successful, and from the start we saw that the placing of the individual groups into their respective seeding groups was a winning idea. Each group had their tough opponents, and most of the expected top seeds in the groups came through and made it into the Premier Division. All in all we have a very tough Premier Division and the top seeds in the First Division stand a good chance of going up into Premier Division with the end of Leg 1 relegations.
Switch19: The seeding tournament was a huge success, and the top team shone in their groups with the remaining teams battling hard for a spot in Division 1 and 2.
A10 Greep3r: The teams ending 1st and 2nd from each of the four groups were placed in Premier Division and the 3rd and 4th placed teams from each group were placed in First Division. The teams that finished 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th on the total log were also placed in First Division to get to the total of 12 teams. The remaining teams were then placed in Second Division. It was also decided that if there were any one of the two teams in positions 2 and 3 in their respective groups that ended on the same log points, head to head results would be used to determine which team would go into Premier and First Division. Head to head results is the result that these two teams had when they faced each other in the seeding rounds, where the winner of that game was chosen as the entry into Premier or First Division. There were only two teams that ended on the same points in Group C that had to play a final head to head qualifying game at the end of the seeding matches because they never faced each other in the seeding leg to determine the final placement for Premier and First Division.
NAG: What is the standard of play in each division, and is there a big difference between divisions?
A10 Greep3r: The Premier Division teams’ gameplay can be best described as players that know their characters well and can play well as a team. They will do their homework to find out what the opposing teams strong and weak characters is and then pick and ban accordingly. The same can be said for the top part of the First Division teams. For the bottom part of Division 1 as well as Division 2, the players know their characters well enough to play a competitive game but will at some points struggle with their item build and team play. The biggest difference between the divisions at this stage I think is knowing when to push a lane, back off or take the opposing team down when the opportunity presents itself.
Switch19: Due to the lack of many close games we could see that there is definitely a skill difference in the divisions, but I think that this gap will close pretty fast the more the league progresses and the more games teams start playing.
NAG: Based on the seeding games that took place during February, are there any standout teams to keep an eye out for?
A10 Greep3r: I do not think there is any one team really that can be seen currently as the standouts. Rather look at the teams on the top of their individual divisions as the top seeds for those divisions. If I had to choose though the teams would be Renegade Gaming, KK Pwnage, Winning Tigerblood and Pro Noob Gaming, as they did not lose any of their seeding games.
Switch19: The four teams who won their groups look very strong: Winning Tigerblood, KK Pwnage, Renegade Gaming and Pro Noob Gaming. I’m really looking forward to watching these teams go head-to-head.
NAG: A number of games were live streamed and shoutcasted during the seeding tournament. How has this been received by the community?
A10 Greep3r: The streaming has presented itself with a lot of challenges due to the availability of high-speed internet access locally, and we had to sacrifice on the quality of the streams to enable the viewers to watch the streams. Every game that was streamed had an average of about 30 viewers at any given time. All the seeding games that were streamed were also uploaded to the NAG Magazine Youtube channel where the average views for the games is about 40+ with some of the games being viewed 100+ times. The total views on the Own3d TV live stream channel for the month of February since we went live with the streams totalled ± 7300 views before the stats were reset for the new month. This indicates a big interest from the community in the live streams.
Switch19: We have had so any enquiries about the livestream – people wanting to watch, shoutcast and who want their games streamed. This has been very well received and I’m sure the numbers will continue to grow.
NAG: Are there plans to continue with live streaming throughout the online league, and how will this work?
A10 Greep3r: The streams will continue with the online league and we expect a bigger audience with the streaming of 3 concurrently played games on any one of the 3 live streams of the Own3d TV NAG Gaming channel. The links for the live streams will be posted on the NGL and LoL in SA forums before the games start. The matches have been set for a specific date and time to enable us to have a set time for streaming of the games as well. So Premier Division games happen on Tuesday evenings at 20h00, First Division on Wednesdays at 20h00 and Second Division on Thursdays at 20h00.
Switch19: Yes, the livestream will be running throughout the league. We are also planning to run streams at the rAge finals as well. We will select games depending on availability of streamers and teams. We encourage teams to notify the admins of game times so we can make the necessary arrangements.
NAG: What if new clans are interested in joining the league – will there be another seeding tournament for this at any stage?
A10 Greep3r: As it stands we have reached and actually exceeded the maximum number of teams for this tournament. If there is any more teams that want to enter through the course of the tournament they will be allowed to enter into Second Division, but only if any of the currently registered teams withdraw from the tournament.
Switch19: There will be an opportunity after the first leg for teams to enter into the second Division, but this number will be limited based on what slots open up.
NAG: What advice would you give to clans looking to ‘up’ their game?
A10 Greep3r: Practice, practice and more practice. They can also go watch the previous Intel Extreme Masters games that were played during season 6 for pointers on what can be done with specific champions and team strategies.
Switch19: Talk about League!!!! Playing and improving is fine, but if you don’t understand the game and don’t communicate well, things will always be difficult. There are players in the community that have so much knowledge about champs, items, gameplay etc. and learning from them can improve your skill level a lot.
NAG: How do you think SA teams compare to international teams in terms of teamplay, dynamics, strats and skill?
A10 Greep3r: Teamplay for the top teams is on par for dynamics, strats and skill but we still fall behind a bit seeing that our local community is still growing and they do not get the same exposure as the American and European teams.
Switch19: We still have some work to do but I think some of our top teams will be able to compete internationally in the near future.
NAG: How can individual players looking to join clans get involved in the SA LoL community?
Switch19: The LOLinSA website has a dedicated forum section of clans looking for players. Some of the more established clans are also expanding their teams so there are always opportunities.