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A league of their own: the League of Legends Community at ASU

ASU club connects players of one of the biggest online games ever

ASU League of Legends Club members freshmen Matthew Chau and Anthony Chau warm up by practicing before the LAN Event held in the Education C-Wing Building in Tempe, Arizona, on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2016.
ASU League of Legends Club members freshmen Matthew Chau and Anthony Chau warm up by practicing before the LAN Event held in the Education C-Wing Building in Tempe, Arizona, on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2016.

Online gaming is an ever-growing facet of pop culture and competition. These aren't your parents' games.

The League of Legends Community at ASU is a club in its fourth year, dedicated to connecting players of one of the biggest competitive online games in history.

For those not familiar with online gaming, League of Legends is a competitive online game that sees approximately 100 million users per month. Two teams made up of five people face off with the objective of destroying each other’s base.

“It’s a game that was developed by two college roommates who formed a company called Riot Games,” Syndey Hiar, club president and senior graphic information technology major, said. “The actual game itself is classified as a five (versus) five ‘MOBA,’ which means multiplayer online battle arena.”

Hiar said the club exists as way for players to connect with each other.

“The community at ASU is just us celebrating our love for this game," she said. "Basically we get together and play the game on a bi-weekly schedule. We just all bring our computers and play.”

Every other Wednesday from 7-10 p.m. in EDC 117, the club services a wide array of players in-person, from competitors who play at a very high level, to casual players and who are just starting off.

That is not to say that the club isn’t competitive because they also run the Division I collegiate League of Legends team at ASU.

“We actually just held our tryouts for the division one collegiate team,” Hiar said. “So there are parts for competitive players.”

Ben Duan, sophomore chemistry major, who plays on the Division I team, said that his love for the game is due in part to the friendships that he has made through League.

“League has created a lot of sustainable friendships,” Duan said. “Like, I’ve made a friend in Korea. Over the summer I went and visited him in Korea, which is something that really wouldn’t have happened without the League club.”

Duan believes that it is the ability to connect and include that the game and other eSports have that makes it so popular.

“I think that eSports is growing because it's relatively interesting,” Duan said. “It’s something that people can get into — anyone of any gender, race, any background. It doesn’t discriminate against people with disabilities, it’s just a thing that everyone can enjoy.”

Thi Le, sophomore biomedical sciences major as well as the team manager for the Division I team, agreed with this inclusive enjoyment of the game and added that the club smashes stereotypes about gamers.

“Everyone was actually very open,” said Le about going to the club’s local-area network events. “The stereotypical image for gamers is that we’re shut-ins and all we do is play video games by ourselves, and we don’t really talk to people and socialize. But the moment you enter that room, that stereotype is just destroyed.”

The club’s LAN parties offer gamers the ability to play the game with one another in a large group setting.

“You see people talking to each other, greeting, meeting new friends,” Le said. “And they’re all talking about League of Legends, and it’s just all around a good time.”

Le’s advice for those who may have started playing but quit the game early on, is to continue playing. Le admits that it took him a bit to get hooked.

“Honestly, it’s kind of like an adrenaline rush once you play the game for a while,” Le said. “You’ll have those games when you look back, and you’re just like ‘Oh man I totally dominated and outplayed the other opponent.’”

Le said that above all, participating in the worldwide League community and the League of Legends Community at ASU are both a way to alleviate the stresses of life by sharing a common interest with friends.

“The reason I like being at the club is that it’s just a stress relief zone for me,” Le said. “It’s a place where I can be myself.”


Reach the reporter at jdarge@asu.edu or follow  @jeffdarge on Twitter.

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