Chauster: Life of an LCS Player

Chauster's Thoughts on Season 4

 

While I cannot say I share the same experiences as all LCS players, I speak for the majority of them when I tell you that being an LCS player is incredibly hard work. You put countless hours honing mechanics and decision making into a video game where the rewards are not grand for the majority of players. You can’t summarize a player’s life by simply stating that all they do is play video games for money. There is a long list of responsibilities and expectations that make life a lot harder than it seems on the surface.

Being on a professional team, you are expected to perform. The bare minimum amount of time that most pro players put into the game number at least 8 hours. This will be time for scrims and replay analysis and random solo queue to learn new champions and match-ups. The scrim block is always in the afternoon because League of Legend players err towards the side of terrible sleep management. Teams simply do not schedule scrims before noon. This means that most teams start their work schedule after lunch and finish near midnight. There isn’t much time to do anything else. After a long day of grinding League of Legends, going out also becomes a chore. For anyone who wants to be active, you have to go to the gym either late night or in the morning (death to most players). Sponsor obligations add onto the workload as randomly throughout the month you will have to make a number of instructional videos, teach classes, have photo shoots, make appearances, the list goes on.

As you can conclude from the previous block of text, LCS players do not have much free time. This has lots of implications for everyone participating in the LCS. Any relationships you have will be impacted negatively due to the time commitment. Any time spent away from League of Legends is seen as unproductive. This is snowballed by the fact that job security is non-existent in League of Legends, at any day and time you maybe replaced unless you are the star of your team. You have already sacrificed a lot to be a part of the team as you live in a gaming house with a multitude of people that you have only recently started interacting with. The thing that keeps you going through all the tough times will be the competitive drive that got you into the professional scene in the first place.

The drive to be the best is what keeps most players going. Pretty much every LCS player strives to be the best at what they do, and that is what fuels their desire to play the game and succeed where their peers could not. This is honorable, but the road to the top is fraught with many hardships that most people typically gloss over. Every loss hits hard in the LCS. Every game that I lost in the LCS (especially games where we were the favorite) I would be devastated. It is very obvious to the players what the problems were in game, the process of fixing  them then becomes the issue. It doesn’t help that you have thousands of arm chair quarterbacks who think they know better than the players who have devoted their lives to the game. The only thing you can do is try to improve and hope that things in the long run will come together.

The purpose of this small blog wasn’t really to tell the world how LCS players have it rough. When I was playing as an LCS player, it was my dream come true. I was glad to be able to live and play games for a living while traveling the world and gaining fame along the way. I just had a lot of trouble trying to tell people with ten seconds of my time how playing video games for a living wasn’t as simple as sitting in front of a computer screen and giggling with your teammates about how much fun you’re having. Playing competitively is a ton of work;  League of Legends will become your life. Outside of scrimming, playing solo queue, sponsorship obligations, and researching other region’s games, time for yourself will be limited. I respect LCS players for being able to dedicate to something they believe in, and hope that with these few words that more people will recognize the amount of effort they put into being an e-sports competitor.

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by Steve Chau, on February 13, 2014