Next week, on the 18th, the Oceanic Pro League will kick off with some big changes -- a new look, new teams, and new rules. Let's take a look at some of the more notable changes.
That's one fancy looking studio
The Ultimo headquarters has undergone some renovations, and the set where teams used to play 5v5 is now actually where the control room is housed to manage all the video feeds, instant replays, and commentary. The new stage is even sexier. Check it out below -- pretty schmick, eh?
More cash for players
Player salaries have been doubled, going from $3,000 per year to $6,000 per year. It's still not enough to live on, and playing competitive LoL in Australia is still very much a thing you do for the love of it, but Riot remains the only company paying Aussie pro players per game and advancing Aussie eSports in this area.
New teams, roster reshuffles, and Korean stars
Immunity, the LoL team with probably the most turbulent roster, was banned last season for failing to pay its players. Its spot in the league was given to its players, who decided to remain independent instead of joining another organisation. After bringing on Korean general manager Michael Choo, the Hellions were born.
Team Hellions has now recruited two marquee players from Korea to boost its chances against strong opposition in its first season. Look out for Bomb and Cookie to make some big plays.
Legacy's training squad for younger players, Genesis, has actually performed so well that it qualified for the OPL -- meaning Legacy had to actually offload the team, due to restrictions on organisations having more than one team in the league. If you love it, set it free, as they say, and Legacy sought quotes from potential buyers to try to make good on its investment. Seeing this as an opportunity to quickly and easily get a spot in the OPL, Trident eSports made the deal.
Unfortunately one of Trident's key players who had played for Legacy in the Split 2 grand final, Claire, was recently caught boosting an account and won't be available for competition in the first split of 2016.
As for key roster changes, Legacy has brought on k1ng - from the old-school Chiefs team that made it to a Split 1 grand final - to be its new AD Carry. Chiefs have picked up Cheese to be its mid laner while Swiffer is away in Europe. From what I've heard, Legacy are the team to beat this time around.
New format and schedule
All matches in the OPL will now be best of three, in an eight-team round robin.
To accommodate the matches, streams will now be three times per week -- Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays at 6pm. Split 1 will go for 10 weeks before the top four teams will meet in the semifinal and final.
Brisbane, it's your turn
The Luna Park grand final was pretty amazing, but Riot will be heading up to Brisbane for this year's Split 2 final, at the Courer-Mail Piazza on August 14th. This will bring some of the love and energy that goes into a highly produced tournament and get Brissie folks really excited about League of Legends. There will still be viewing parties at Hoyts, though, for the rest of us.
Nice place. Can I fit 5 computers against that wall?
Two of the teams in this season of the OPL - Legacy and Hellions - will be in a team house, practicing together and talking a whoooole lot about League of Legends, with regular cleaners keeping the place nice because, y'know, young dudes. Crucially, these places have NBN access so the lads can stream and build their personal brand. We're going to see about possibly having a look at one of them soon. Stay tuned!
Where's Minkywhale, and can I hug him?
The lovable, hugable Legacy star who somehow turns into a superaggressive roidrager when in-game has stepped down to focus on player development. I bet if you asked nicely in real life, he'd let you hug him.