I found out by a couple friends linking the website that Riot is in the process of rolling out a fantasy League of Legends system to supplement their professional circuit. It sounds an awful lot like fantasy football in that you get a bunch of people together and then draft players off of the pro rosters. Your team then earns points based on the performances of the players you drafted. Robb thinks it's silly because the way you earn points in the fantasy scoring system doesn't line up perfectly with the way you win the actual games. (Supports earning more points for kills than assists really seemed to be a sticking point.)
The NFL really blew up in popularity when they heavily embraced the concept of fantasy football. Why? It got the 'casual' viewer interested in the outcomes and details of all kinds of games where before they would only care about how their one favourite team was doing. I ended up drafting Aaron Rodgers the year he took over for Brett Favre and he put up some great stats for me. I wanted to tune in to the games and see how the Packers were doing because I wanted to know how 'my' football player was doing. It can get even deeper though... Sometimes you'll draft two star quarterbacks but you only get to score points for one of them. You need to choose in advance which one... This causes people to not just watch the games as they're happening but to look up information on upcoming games before they happen. Is Rodgers playing against a really good defense this week? Maybe I should be playing Matthew Stafford this week? They are playing the Raiders and they're terrible...
Adding in fantasy LoL is a way to get people caring about the games not just while they're on (if Lino tells me a game is on I'll generally turn it on and watch it) but to care about them before they happen. If I get heavily into fantasy LoL I'll end up spending time managing my roster and trying to figure out who's going to have a good game... Darien is known for sometimes having terrible games where he just lets himself get killed over and over again so maybe I want to grab one of the top laners for the teams he's playing against this week? It will also get me to care about some of the matches that are obvious blowouts if I have one of the players on my team.
Robb is right in that if we were just drafting to win LoL games then I'd care a lot more about objective control and ward placements and not even a little bit about how many kills my support was getting. But when it comes to having an interesting fantasy game I think you really need an easy to understand system with numbers you can follow on the fly. I know that a kill is worth 2 points and that if Genja manages to pull off another pentakill I get 10 bonus points! So even if Gambit is losing I still have something to care about while I'm watching. Just like how I'd actually want the Packers to start losing badly because that would encourage Rodgers to throw for more yards and more touchdowns! Woo!
I don't know if the LCS will get a big boost from a fantasy LoL system (especially one that broke after Lino invited me to a draft and hasn't been fixed all night) but I'm really intrigued. Riot is even in a position where they could be giving out interesting prizes to ramp up the excitement. Temporary ward skins that can only be used if you were the top scorer in a fantasy league the previous week? Or minor IP awards?
I think it sounds fun regardless, so I'm going to give it a spin. Probably it will serve to remind me when games are on each week which means I'll spend more time watching the LCS. I guess Riot wins this round.