League-of-legends-logo

This is your Gaming on Data: League of Legends and Selecting a Champion

It’s not about your potential power, but the power that you display.

                Selecting which character you want to spend your gaming life with is a difficult choice, no matter how temporary the experience. You choose your character depending on what you think looks cool, what role you want to play as, what you think will get the job done when push comes to shove, how well you can synergize with your teammates. You’ll be spending the next game life becoming accustomed to your character and your team’s characters so you want to choose someone that you won’t regret spending that life as.

League-of-legends-logo

League of Legends is no exception to this, and with over 100 characters to choose from, 5 roles and a number of different play styles for each character and role, a player has a lot of choices to make in deciding how their next gaming-lifespan will be experienced. Not all play-styles work so some people take up the task of writing up guides on how they play, what works for them, what items to pick up and contingencies based on who you are playing with or who you are playing against. Sites like Champion Select, Solomid and Mobafire where guide writers impart their wisdom with certain characters and prospective new comers learn and rank what guides work best.

I’m not here to talk about which guides are better than others, but to research and impart knowledge of which characters the League Community likes best.

League of Legends Google Trends: "Mobafire " Too many characters, not enough time.
League of Legends Google Trends: “Mobafire ” Too many characters, not enough time.

Singles found at the bottom

Disclaimer: Data is from Google Trends which reports data as a percentage of searches over time compared to a search’s best frequency. If you had a 100 in week 1 and a 10 on week 2, that means week 2 had 10% of the searches compared to week 1.

There is no easy way of showing the frequency of the 100+ characters of time, but we need a way of talking about the types of characters that players are interested in and in a meaningful way.

Those that we want to try

 

Those we try, but something never realy clicks with most of us.
Those we try, but something never realy clicks with most of us.

The characters that players try often are those that don’t see many searches outside of their free rotation week. The trend we see for characters in this category is something like this:

 

Nautilus - A Cool idea, but damn you be slow. I know you walk like you're underwater, but that being slow ain't fun, dude.
Nautilus – A Cool idea, but damn you be slow. I know you walk like you’re underwater, but that being slow ain’t fun, dude.

We only really see a surge in player’s interest when the character is free, otherwise only a small pocket of players might actually play the character.

[gallery type="square" ids="743,739,749,748,756,754,755,757,762,766,761,767,775,784,786,797,806,810,820,823,838,843,848,851,852,853,854,856"]

Those that we love to play

 

You probably have one ore more of these characters in your roster, and you probably play them regularly.
You probably have one ore more of these characters in your roster, and you probably play them regularly.

There are characters that get picked more consistently than the last category. Characters that are easier to play, easier to dominate others with, better at working well with an unknown team composition. These are the characters that we love to play and are spread across the community a bit more evenly.

 

LeBlanc - We hate to play against her, but when someone on your team has her, you are generally in good hands
LeBlanc – We hate to play against her, but when someone on your team has her, you are generally in good hands

LeBlanc is one of these kinds of characters. Sure, she gets as much interest when she’s free like the previous category, but she is consistently picked more often than the previous category when she isn’t free. Her ability to burst down opponents gives her great offensive advantage against most that she has to fight against and having a great distance closer which doubles as an escape mechanic gives her great situational utility and survivability. And these mechanics get translated to those players that play her during free- week so her popularity sticks and she becomes someone that you see fairly often in a game of League.

Those too OP to not play

 

One or more of these characters get banned or picked in everygame and you hate the person for picking them. Unless they bad, then don't care.
One or more of these characters get banned or picked in everygame and you hate the person for picking them. Unless they bad, then don’t care.

These are the characters that get picked not just consistently, but you’re hard-pressed to find a game without them in it. They have something that makes them an essential part of any team, either because they syngergize with whomever they work with, are a great counter-strategy against nearly anyone they play against, or can just dominate/help dominate the game regardless of the situation.

 

Gem is outrageous, simply outrageous
Gem is outrageous, simply outrageous

Taric is a character that didn’t get a lot of love early in his league career, much like LeBlanc. In late 2011, Taric started getting a surge in play and until earlier this year was one of the go-to support characters to play and you would almost always see him a game either as an ally or enemy. Able to stun and weaken opponents, and abilities buff and heal your teammate? Of course he would be picked why wouldn’t you pick him? Oh wait, Thresh was released January 2013? Might explain something…

Thoughts

It’s weird seeing that certain characters are more popular than others in a game that wants to be touted as balanced. That being said, there are a lot of characters in both the Too OP and the We Love sections so there are a lot of options for players to choose from, so in that sense the game is pretty balanced.

In the days of DOTA, there were really only a dozen or so characters that were played competitively and playing outside of these characters was essentially pointless unless you find some synergy to exploit.

In a perfect world, all characters would have equal popularity and picked equally often so that for both Riot and the players purchasing these characters they feel that the expense is worth it. You as a developer don’t want to devote thousands of man hours developing a character that no one will play, just like you as a player don’t want to spend money on a character you don’t want to play unless you have some OCD about having all of the champions in your collection. I may or may not fall into this category, but I will neither deny nor acknowledge this at the moment. </Shift eyes>

I think the take away is from this post and this data is to find try and find a balance, someways of getting he We Try category higher in standing so that they don’t become a wasteland on failed attempts.

If you want to see the last League of Legends Data Post, find it here.

Other gaming data posts can be found here.

League vs Dota by County

This is your Gaming on Data: League of Legends vs Dota Trends

Search Trends of Google

Insight on what’s popular                                                   

But only relative

 

The popularity of the Action Real Time Strategy (ARTS) or MOBA games have shifted around between two main contenders ever since the genre took off with DotA (Defense of the Ancients) in 2004–2005 as the popular Warcraft 3 mod and picked up as standalone games due to their popularity. Now there are only two contenders for the most popular ARTS/MOBA games, League of Legends and DotA 2.

What I originally set out was to see how popular these two franchises are because in the US and much of the gaming communities that I frequent, there is a very strong influence of League of Legends and Riot Games over DotA 2 and I wanted to see if this was persistent across other areas of the world.

M. Bison vs Balrog

(what do my headers even mean)

 

Search Frequency based on Google Trends
Search Frequency based on Google Trends on a week-by-week basis

 

This graph is pulled from Google Trends which is a bit odd to understand at first. The way Google Trends data works is based on search frequency and a max frequency of searches on a week by week basis. A score of 100 means that this term was searched for the most compared to all other weeks that you’re comparing.

 

Dota 2 Annouced. Look at how high my spike went. (Innuendo not included)
Dota 2 Annouced. Look at how high my spike went. (Innuendo not included)

This disclaimer is important because if you see the spike in 2011 when DotA 2 was announced at Gamescom 2011, there is an enormous difference search traffic for DotA then there ever was for LoL at even its best times of year. This is partly due to the evolution of MOBAs where much of the LoL community originally started with DotA and was eager to jump back into something familiar, but the shift in philosophy of MOBA mechanics had already set in and many players didn’t want to go back to the slower paced, more punishing DotA franchise.

Around the World

(on repeat)

League vs Dota by County
League vs Dota by County

What I found interesting was the global difference between the popularity of both franchises. The first answer is yes, LoL is more popular across much of the industrialized world spanning its search traffic across 5 continents and emerging on the sixth (Africa). But DotA isn’t counted out considering they have a large presence in high density countries like China and the Philippines but also seem to penetrate areas that LoL don’t have good coverage in. Burma, Mongolia, Bolivia and Peru seem to be much more invested in DotA than LoL. This could be due to the free to play nature of DotA, but I don’t want to insinuate too much without more data, saving this thought for another time. (checkity check)

But what’s more interesting is that the US isn’t even the biggest consumer of League of Legends traffic. This title is left for the majority of the EU, plus the Philippines (why so popular to Filipinos?!?). The US is actually rated 28th in search traffic for LoL.

Region league of legends dota
Brunei 100 12
Greece 81 4
Bulgaria 79 5
Philippines 76 100
Portugal 65 1
Sweden 65 5
Denmark 64 3
Serbia 63 7
Czech Republic 61 5
Poland 54 2
Lithuania 53 3
Estonia 51 4
Guam 51 5
Norway 51 3
Canada 49 3
Brazil 46 5
Macedonia (FYROM) 46 10
Montenegro 46 5
Croatia 45 4
Iceland 44 3
Romania 44 6
Germany 43 2
Aruba 42 0
Chile 41 4
Cyprus 41 2
Hungary 41 2
United States 37 2

Possibly due to the split nature between World of Warcraft and the many games that get pushed on the US market compared to the rest of the world

Look at the WoW traffic decline. Riding the rails into the grave, I see. Good going Simpsons
Look at the WoW traffic decline. Riding the rails into the grave, I see. Good going Simpsons

Surgance

League World Champs Search Increase
League World Champs Search Increase

LoL is still picking up popularity over the years though. They are even peaking higher than before even before World Championships this year. Traditionally the highest traffic for the year comes around World Championship season when gamers and viewers gather on twitch and watch the best teams in the world compete, which can be seen below.

Considering this data is all prior to the 2014 World Championships (happening on Oct 19, 2014), it will be interesting to see by just how much the viewership increase will affect the graph.

Ground the Catch up

(All aboard the Hype Train, choo choo)

Other Mobas compared to LoL and DotA
Other Mobas compared to LoL and DotA

There are still new MOBAs coming out, some from first timers and one from heavy hitter Blizzard with Heroes of the Storm, but coming in many years after LoL has assumed such a large audience, and an audience that doesn’t seem to be slowing down, it going to make it hard to make a dent in its audience.

 

Competition? Sorry HoN, you ain't.
Competition? Sorry HoN, you ain’t.

Early competitor Heroes of Newarth tried to compete but didn’t pick up its fan base quick enough and LoL just kept picking up new fans with their Katamari of Characters.

Look at all of these players that I keep picking up. My katamari is never satiated.
Look at all of these players that I keep picking up. My katamari is never satiated.

But we’ll see if there’s a game that can generate the momentum necessary to compete with the two big boys, if it’s even possible. A game would need to wait for the popularity to dwindle and change up the genre just enough to get people interested again, just like what League of Legends accomplished. But who knows when that will be. Only time + data will tell.

Meanwhile, keep generating that hype!

All aboard the hype train!
All aboard the hype Gary train!

 

Check out other gaming data posts here.

Comments and Discussion in the place for it. Twitter here.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 122 other followers

%d bloggers like this: