TEAM Secret’s Wild Rift support and captain James “Hamez” Santos didn’t mince words when he talked about the “death” of the League of Legends competitive scene in the country.
Talking in Spin.ph’s Zoom In with Team Secret, the former League of Legends pro shared his thoughts on his first esports and why he made the transition.
“Kaya lang naman po ako nag-transition to Wild Rift kasi patay na ang League of Legends (pro scene) sa Pilipinas. Walang maba-bad trip pero totoo yun,” the support player said.
According to Hamez, the lack of international scrims and difficulty in accessing foreign training resources led to the demise of the PC MOBA's pro scene in the country. Santos, who played for Liyab for five years, noted that only the top org had the opportunity to train with teams abroad.
“Kaya lang naman po namatay yung League of Legends scene sa Pilipinas kasi limited lang yung training tools na makukuha ng mga teams. Kasi pagdating ng practice, Philippines versus Philippines lang. Sobrang dalang na maka-stream ka sa ibang regions tsaka yun nga kami lang po yung number one, yung may access sa ibang regions, kaya parang unfair sa ibang teams. So parang hindi na sila nakaka-pagimprove and napag-iiwanan lahat. Kami lang umaangat,” he said.
Added the Team Secret captain: “Tapos pagdating ng (regional) competition kulang pa din training namin kasi hindi talaga kami nakakapagscrim sa ibang regions madalas."
Comparing League of Legends with the Wild Rift scene
The Southeast Asian League of Legends pro scene is played with a national league, before the top team faces other top Southeast Asian squads for a spot in the World Championship.
Then there is also the issue of servers, with each Southeast Asian country locked in its own servers. Players cannot simply play games with players from other countries, compared to titles like Dota 2 that have open servers that are easily changeable.
Fortunately, Riot set up a different infrastructure for Wild Rift, with servers open in Asia, allowing for a diverse but even playing field across the continent. Added Hamez, the fact that the game is still new means that all regions are learning the game’s meta at the same pace.
“Sa Wild Rift po kasi lahat magsisimula sa umpisa, lahat sabay sabay. And ang advantage namin is ngayon dun is nagbenefit kami na mas nauna[ng] [na]tuto sa meta and in-apply po namin sa tournaments.
“Unlike po sa League of Legends dati, parang Korea and China, 'pag nabanggit mo yung dalawa na yun matatakot ka na kasi sila yung laging champions. Pero kasi sa Wild Rift po kasi sabay sabay kaya kahit China or Korea hindi ka matatakot kasi kaya mong sabayan,” explained Hamez.
On the same day as our Zoom In, Hamez's former LoL team, Liyab, announced that majority of their pros would transition to a new Wild Rift Liyab team — affirmation, perhaps, of exactly the same thing that Hamez was talking about.