Before gaining massive popularity and tournaments that reached more than 100 million viewers, League of Legends was just a speck in the huge universe of games. It was more of an idea than an actual game. Esports has come a long way with League of Legends and gained an immense fan following over the years.

The journey of League of Legends from rags to riches was not an easy one. Even the producer of Riot Games accepted that the game was really bad for a long time. According to him, nobody at the Riot Games was willing to play it because it was horrible but they had to play it because they were forced to play.

Jeff Jew along with some other staff members used to spend their time playing other games as League of Legends was being developed. They were told to play League of Legends every day after getting busted by one of the team leads. They did play it resentfully at first but soon after they got addicted to it and started playing it regularly. All of this happened just before the launch.

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How did it begin?

According to the co-founder Marc Merril, the inception of League of Legends was more of a philosophy than a game design.

Marc Merril and co-founder Brandon Beck were college friends. These two friends started the LEAGUE OF LEGEND trend. Both of them ended up living together in an apartment in West Hollywood after graduation while doing their respective jobs.

The Idea of League of Legend

Both the whole idea of League of Legend, a video game that was sort of like a no-brainer from the people's perspective, but was very clear about how to get their ideas in shape as they had no knowledge about game developing and designing. But since they had a great interest in gaming, they ended up getting involved in different gaming companies as advisers to the board of directors. That increased their knowledge about game development and polished their skill set.

The company they were working at was already struggling at could not build a game they wanted because of the lack of the latest and mature technology. In 2005, the new CEO of that company contacted the two and asked for their help to revive the company again. The two of them were down with that idea.

Both Marc and Brandon had recently started playing a popular modification of Warcraft 3. They took the idea from there and thought maybe they'd be able to build this sort of DOTA-style game. The Warcraft 3 Mod cleared a lot of things in their head and also paved the way for the birth of a new genre of game, the multiplayer online battle arena.

According to them, a game should not be released only to be forgotten. It must keep growing and expanding, offering new content, becoming more like a television series than a single movie.

Jeff Jew met the two at a DOTA tournament at USC. Both of them were looking for passionate kids who were skilled at the game and had some skills and knowledge about game development but they failed. Jew was introduced to them by another fan named Paul Belleza.

Both of them took an interest in Jew because he had been spending 40 hours per week playing that game. They told him to swing by their office sometime.

Amidst the whole story

Soon after opening the Riot Games office, Jew became the first intern there. The office was not very fancy which made Jew think that they were really starting from scratch. Their team consisted of Marc, Brandon, Jew, an engineer, producers, and a VFX designer. Soon after, they hired someone who proved to be a very vital person for their company, Steve Feak.

Steve was thrilled when he got to know about their plans for developing a DOTA-style game. Although Steve had no prior experience of working together with a team, he had been doing well on his own. At Riot Games, he was able to experience true teamwork.

The whole team worked really hard while developing the game. They initially named it Onslaught and it was ready for demonstration. The team presented the game during GDC and met a lot of publishers. They did not want to sell the game but wanted to make a profit off the back of in-game sales.

The struggle behind League of Legends

After failed meetings with the publishers, Marc and Brandon were able to raise $1.5 million from several investors and family members. While they were travelling across the country, the team at Riot Games started to fall apart. Their ideas clashed and three of the team members left. Those who left had to start over and Onslaught finally became League of Legends.

The game was finally launched in October 2009. It took the industry by storm after its release. People loved the exciting characters and innovative gameplay and soon got hooked to it. On top of everything, it was a free-to-play game that made its access very easy. The professionals held World Championships that contributed a lot to its popularity.

The first international tournament was held at DreamHack that is still considered the most premier tournament in the history of League of Legends. It gained immense success and tournaments with more than 100 million views were held all around the world which is wild.

Apart from everything, the biggest achievement of Riot Games is that even after 11 years of its release, people still find it relevant and still play it regularly. There are still massive competitions going on with bigger and better players which are still adding to the success of this game.


The journey of League of Legends has not been an easy one. The whole team had to face many obstacles before becoming one of the best games that are still loved by a lot of people all around the World. The game is free-to-play, easy to master, with frequent updates and a lot of social appeals that has contributed very much to its immense popularity. We are sure that we are going to see people playing this game with the same enthusiasm and zeal this year as they played it when it initially came out.