3 Reasons Why Korea Dominates League of Legends

SKT T1 2013
SKT T1 win Worlds in 2013. This was the beginning of a new era. (Credit: Riot Games)

League of Legends is a game enjoyed by millions of people all over the world. Many players have risen the ranks and even made careers out of the game, but there are certain regions that just stand out as the crème-de-la-crème of gaming and esports.

Korea and China have pioneered in esports becoming the top-tier esports regions in the world. How come these regions stick out so much? And how did such dominance even come to be? Today we take a look at a few reasons why Korea is so much better at League.

Why is Korea Historically better at League of Legends?

Reason 1: History of Gaming in Korea

Old School PC Bang
This is where it all started. (Credit: AP)

Korea has a vast history in regard to competitive gaming. Already in the late '90s and early 2000s players could compete in professional and semi-professional settings thanks to the creation of the PC Bang, which refers to a modern internet café.

In the late ’90s when Blizzard’s Starcraft was first released, copies of the game were given to PC Bang owners. People who came to these institutions to play didn’t have to pay for their own copies. Due to this, the game became immensely popular and through that, the gaming culture we know of today began.

Reason 2: The Normalcy of Gaming

As mentioned above, PC Bangs have been a part of Korean culture for 20 years already. Many people who are in their 40s now began to game in these social settings and thus gaming, in general, is less stigmatized.

Since every street corner has a PC Bang and esports players are regarded as celebrities, gaming and esports were able to be integrated into society, which has helped grow League of Legends into a massive spectator sport in Korea.

Reason 3: Esports Culture

The culture of esports is very different in Korea than in North America or Europe. Players who have high ranks in Solo Queue get invited to join a team as a trainee, this system is eerily similar to that of Kpop trainees even.

Korean players also play insane amounts of hours of Solo Queue each day, foregoing sleep even to practice. They often choose not to be in relationships to focus solely on the game. Not to mention the quality of Korean Solo Queue.

Many western players go to Korea in the off-season to practice, since the skill level of players in Korean Solo Queue seems to be higher than that of other regions.

2020 World Champions DAMWON
DAMWON brought the Summoner's Cup back to Korea in 2020. (Credit: Riot Games)

Overall, there are great players in every region, but due to a historical and cultural difference, Korea has had a lot more time to cultivate their gaming sector and thus, have produced insane esports talents. In Europe and North America, this normalcy of gaming is only just beginning.

European esports has also had a surge in quality thanks to European esports organizations taking necessary steps to help young hopefuls along. Creating a solid base for young talents to thrive is key and thanks to the regional European leagues as well as the EU Masters, players are able to also reach new heights in Europe. We’ve seen the result with Europe making it further and further each year at the LoL World Championship.

Will this be the year that Europe wins the 2021 League of Legends World Championship? Or will Korea and China continue their dominance? We will have to wait until October to find out.

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