13 years later, is League of Legends still Riot’s crown jewel? We head to the LEC Finals to find out

League of Legends is an esports mountain, at this point. Over the years since Western professional gaming’s primordial days, it has broken through and risen through tectonic shifts in the global scene, eventually towering over the majority of its competitors both within its genre – and without. It has even reached the lofty heights required for your mum or dad to have heard about it.There’s a good chance that if you have a sister, she’s dated a mid-laner, god help her. Walking around town with a Fnatic or Evil Geniuses t-shirt can, in certain places, elicit a similar reaction that a football (real or American) jersey can. If I see a zoomer in an NA team’s merch, I’m likely to laugh at them. If I see someone in old-school Shalke attire, I’m liable to french kiss them.

But, those plates buried beneath this world of competitive video games keep grinding, resulting in Riot Games spreading its ever growing influence to new pastures that its crown-title simply cannot reach. Valorant has erupted in popularity since its release, with fans and players of its one most notable competitor (CS:GO) jumping ship and leaving only the loyal behind. Wild Rift, the League of Legends mobile game, appears to be building to similar heights, while Legends of Runeterra is cutting out its own audience among hardcore card duelists. This once lone, daunting mountain has found itself a range of familial peaks.

This is, obviously, great for Riot and its base – but with titles like Project L and the distant Riot MMO on the way, what is the role of League of Legends in this modern landscape? Is it still as important, as paramount to the success of Riot esports? Is it as shiny as it used to be, surrounded by fresher, growing games?

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