The Internet Reacts To The OPL And Riot Oceania’s Closure

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The Internet Reacts To The OPL And Riot Oceania’s Closure
Image: Melbourne Esports Open

After several years building up the Australian esports scene, the Oceanic Pro League — and Riot’s Australian operations — are no more. For a lot of Australian esports, the news was heartbreaking in more ways than one.

Riot’s early efforts will always leave a mark on the country’s nascent esports scene, as the league’s foundation and operations helped blood a new generation of fans into Australian esports. Players created new careers. Writers discovered a new passion, founded their own websites. Fans upskilled in graphic design, editing and production work as they helped new teams with their social presence and streams.

So Riot Oceania’s departure — and the subsequent loss of all the players and support staff involved — leaves an enormous hole. The league helped sustain team houses, created a platform for new people to discover Australia.

The initial reaction was shock, sadness and disappointment from all quarters.

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Players and observers noted that while Australia would be folded into the LCS, it effectively meant that the country was being freezed out in practicality. Any Australian representatives will have even fewer resources than under the current model, making international bootcamps and consistent support over a year-long period nigh-on impossible.

For American teams, it makes it easier for them to poach some new blood from the OCE shores. But not having a permanent, stable tournament circuit in Australia will make future talent development even harder, a fact that wasn’t lost on fans. Some even questioned the practicality of how American teams would scout Australian/New Zealand talent in the first place, given the state of the amateur/grassroots scene.

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It’s especially heartbreaking after this year, when Australia’s representatives Legacy put in a respectable performance to finish 17-18th, qualifying equal first from their play-in group before unfortunately losing to the heavily favoured LGD Gaming in the knockout stage.

Legacy Esports, to their credit, announced they would still be competing in 2021 after their international success. “Following a standout year with 2 OPL titles and a record Worlds 2020 run we are saddened by today’s news that the Riot Games Oceania office is closing and with it the Oceanic Pro League as we know it,” the team said.

“We are excited for what League of Legends in Oceania looks like in 2021. OCE will retain its Mid Season Invitational and Worlds spots and we intend on qualifying for both.”

Comments

  • Very sad for the oceanic esports scene but really not surprising; they aren’t wrong when they say we aren’t big enough to sustain such a scene. In many ways I was shocked it lasted so long. GL to all those who now have to reconfigure their lives as a result…

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