League of Legends Worlds 2020 & The Pandemic - What's Riot's Plan?

This year is undeniably special. First of all, it's 2020, the start of a whole new decade. However, in addition to this, it's an extra special year for league of legends fans around the globe.


This year marks the 10th anniversary of LoL's yearly World Championship series!


But then the COVID-19 situation happened. The global pandemic has effectively upset humanity's daily ebb and flow. And with travel bans, economic slow-downs and social unrest around the globe - League of Legends players are curious.


What's going to happen to Worlds 2020?


In today's article, we're going to explore some of the most likely options that Riot may take in this matter, and what the implications of each could be for the global LoL player base this year.


Should Riot Just Cancel Worlds?

Going into the third quarter of the year, things are looking a whole lot better than they did at the start. With travel restrictions being lightened and businesses reopening around the globe, there is the fear that there may be a resurgence in the number of infections and that we may see an entire second wave sweep the globe.


As such, of course, one of the viable options is that the 2020 LoL World Championship Series would be canceled. Obviously, this would be a total upset for the worldwide player community, and this option is one that many players don't take all too kindly towards.


However, overtop of this, canceling worlds would also mean that all of the hard work, investments, and dedication put in by Riot games and the event's partners would have been set to go down the drain.


But Wait, What About Hosting It Online?

While canceling the event altogether is, of course, the last resort and an option that no-one wants to see come true - there is one beacon of hope for all of the diehard LoL fans out there.


After the Mid-Season Invitational competition was barred earlier this year, Riot ended up replacing it with the Mid-Season Streamathon where players saw the epic struggle between the Korean LCK roster and China's LPL superstars.


But, was it any good?


Thankfully, this online tournament can definitely be marked down as a stunning success. The Mid-Season Streamathon featured incredibly intense gameplay, interesting community-driven segments, and a whole host of content that had the digital masses absolutely hooked.


And with record viewership for a Mid-Season event alongside a whopping $600,000 raised, it's safe to say that the community took well to this new format.


However, despite the fact that hosting the event digitally is incredibly viable - there is one very tricky challenge that Riot will have to solve first. This challenge revolves around equalizing the ping for players across all of the different regions competing.


This was done via implementing artificial ping that would equalize the delay for players in different regions during the LCK vs LPL showdown. However, with more regions and larger distances in the mix, the whole situation becomes far more challenging to work around.


Thankfully, other industry giants have already tackled similar endeavors. A good example here would be Blizzard, who split up their world tournament into regionals for Asia, NA, and other locales. While this sort of approach may be less than ideal, it would still preserve the competitive integrity and lighten the load on Riot, making a digitalized Worlds 2020 an entirely realistic option for the developer.


Closing Thoughts

With the pandemic afoot, many LoL players around the globe are worried about the future of the 2020 World Championship Series. And while there's some discussion around whether or not the event would even run, it's highly likely that Riot games have a solution in mind.


Over the last few months, the LoL developers have shown that they are entirely apt when it comes to hosting tournaments in a digital ecosystem without compromising competitive integrity. And with regional events maintaining strong viewership, it's likely that we'll see a digital Worlds 2020 event coming this year.


So, with a new decade abound, an entirely new set of social norms and the World Series' 10th anniversary coming up - this year's LoL Worlds event will truly be special in quite a few ways. And we're looking forward to it!

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