Week 3 of the LEC Summer Split 2019 this past weekend played host to a different type of match, when teams of talented female League of Legends players met in a showcase organised by Riot Games and the non-profit Women In Games Esports – live on stage in Berlin.
The goal of the event was to bring more diversity on the professional stage and, says Floriane Zini, one of the key members of the organisation, address under-representation in the industry.
In this case, a team of five talented female League of Legends players was selected from a pool of sixty candidates. Each was paired with a top coach for individual training over the course of four months to help them make their next step in their journey towards semi-professional status. The team then combined for the Berlin Bootcamp Project this weekend to give them the experience of playing on stage – as well as learning from the game’s stars.
According to Floriane, this project will help talented women join more semi-pro or pro teams.
“There is absolutely no reason that a women-led team or a mixed team would be less effective than a full men roster,” she says. Another hope is that this event will inspire more women to pursue League of Legends professionally: seeing women in professional teams would encourage others to step up and feel more confident about becoming pro players.
The games took place on Saturday on the LEC stage in Berlin. LEC teams are used to high stakes on the stage, but this was more of an exhibition match – observing the same set-up, of course. Both teams were composed of players, coaches and WiG staff, as well as Rioters.
The WiG teams received the full LEC treatment, complete with lights, branding and cameras. This was a unique opportunity for the group to get a sense of what it means to be a pro player. "For me," Floriane adds, "it’s also a kind of dream to finally discover what the LEC is really like behind the scenes."
The experience didn’t end there however. As well as enjoying all the Friday games live in the studio, the WiG team then went backstage to meet with the stars of G2 Esports and Fnatic.
Then on the Sunday, they headed out for a team house experience, meeting with the players and staff of Rogue Esports and Misfits Gaming, and scrim with the players in an invaluable training session.
“This weekend was absolutely amazing and probably beyond our hopes,” says Women in Games’ Alex Carrete. “First, for the players but also the coaches, they got the opportunity to discover the pro player world. Having the chance to glimpse this universe will certainly boost their confidence, hopes, and willingness.”
“We are thrilled and confident about diversity in esport in the future.”
Meet the team
WiG coach Adrien "GotoOne" Picard has been involved in League of Legends for almost eight years now and coaching for the past two. He was previously involved in the French scene as a player, playing for teams like Millenium and LDLC.
What GotoOne said he was looking forward to the most was getting a feel of the real deal – what is the LEC environment like, what do the players go through while they are there, playing on the stage? "I'm also excited to speak to and hear as much as possible from the people working in the industry," he told us before the event.
As WiG coach, GotoOne has echoed some of the things we’ve heard from LEC coaches in the past. “The most important thing,” he says “is that you have to understand the human being in front of you. Everyone has their own past and their own personality. Never try to change someone – listen, suggest, adapt and repeat.”
Margaux “Skoryss” Mulot meanwhile, one of the WiG players, has been playing League of Legends since Season 2 and was itching to try her hand at professional play.
When asked what she was most looking forward to during the event, Margaux simply exclaimed: “Everything!”. She previously attended the Worlds semi-finals in Brussels in 2015, but this time she got to see everything from the inside, behind the scenes.
“I really want to see how the players live and train, too. I wish I could have been a member of a gaming house. That would almost be like a dream come true,” she said.
If there’s one thing this weekend’s match showed, there’s no reason that dream can’t come true.