Our series about the Japanese League of Legends scene continues! This time the Manager of the Okinawa no tora (Okinawa Tigers) spoke with us about e-Sports and Japanese League of Legends. Check it out and join us on Teamliquid.net
Q: Can you introduce yourself?
Shun: My name is Chayanne Tu and I go by the name シュン (Shun) in the Japanese League of Legends scene. I'm currently studying in a well-known university in Japan known as Sophia University. 3 years ago, I originally played Starcraft 2 while the rest of my friends were into League of Legends. I didn't really like the concept of playing as a team. As time passed, I started to slowly appreciate League of Legends as its popularity eventually overwhelmed Starcraft 2. Although I don't play Starcraft 2 anymore, I think of it as a starting point of me getting to know e-Sports. Perhaps it's because of my experience in playing Starcraft 2, a faster game than League of Legends, I didn't have much struggle in transitioning from a RTS game to a MOBA game.
Q: How did you end up becoming involved in the Japanese scene, despite being a foreigner.
Shun: When I first came to Japan a year ago, I was a foreigner that couldn't speak Japanese at all. I tried to join clubs in my university but at that time, all I thought about was e-Sports, which was something seemingly nobody in my school knew of. I browsed through the internet to see if I could find if there is an active League of Legends community in Japan and I was not disappointed. After a few days, I replied to a reddit post that was scouting for analysts for a Japanese team known as All for One. I did not expect to get accepted, but I did. The manager of All for One, also known as Nick, introduced me to the players and got me in contact with managers of teams such as Rampage, Peach Server All Stars (now known as Rascal Jester), and The Beastmitai. I struggled trying to communicate with the players and managers at first. Ever since then, my drive to become a proficient Japanese speaker has never stopped and will not stop.
Q: Could you tell us more about your players?
Shun: Bakudanx (Jungler), Yung (Mid), and R0J0 (AD Carry) live in Okinawa and are not Japanese. They are really friendly and play the game for fun while being able to compete in the highest level in Japan. They have all attained solo queue rank Diamond 1 last season on the North American server with 180+ ping. I want to especially point out that our jungler, Bakudanx, is arguably the best, if not the 2nd best jungler in Japan at the moment. His game knowledge and consistent performances has been a great asset to the team. Coming into spring season of LJL, we acquired AMUSE4 (Top) and Zenith (Support) to strengthen the team.
Q: How does the team communicate in game?
Shun: The players all know how to speak both English and Japanese. Shot-calling can be done in both languages. There hasn't been any problems regarding team communication so far.
Q: How would you describe the other Japanese teams and how have they improved/changed over time?
Shun: Since the scene is still under-developed and everyone is waiting for Riot Games Tokyo to settle in, players come and go easily. Currently, motivation and talent are spread across different teams. Rampage has three members that are close to getting Challenger on the Korean server. They are on a whole different level in terms of individual skill. DetonatioN FM and Rascal Jester may not necessarily have the best players, but they certainly do practice a lot. Roster changes can either hurt or benefit a team and DetonatioN's new roster has been working pretty well for them. They have secured first place for LJL this season. The rest of the teams are still scouting for players that are skilled and have the motivation to improve. This is really difficult as the player pool in Japan is really small.
Q: What does the current powerlevels look like?
Shun: Since most of the teams went under roster changes, the team standings have changed alot and are completely different from last season. Currently, DetonatioN FM is placed at the top, followed by Rascal Jester and Ozone Rampage. Okinawa no Tora (Okinawan Tigers) is struggling in the tournament as we did not adapt to our roster changes as well as the rest did.
The main problem that every team has is that they can easily lose to any other team because noone is consistent.
Q: Where does your team play and how do you train? Do you mainly scrim against other Japanese teams?
Shun: Our team plays on the North American server with a ping range from 110-180. We usually get to practice as a team at least twice throughout weekdays and once every Sunday before the LJL matches start.
Q: What is your opinion on Rascal Jesters qualifying for NLB and dropping out in the first round? What did the Japanese teams learn from that?
Shun: It wasn't a surprise to any of us. My opinion on Rascal Jesters qualifying for NLB may sound harsh, but it is too much of a difference between LJL. Winning a Japanese tournament and then suddenly competing in a Korean amateur league is not a smooth transition at all. Regardless, I believe it was a valuable experience for Rascal Jesters.
Q: What is your opinion on a Japanese server by Riot? Do you think it will be a success?
Shun: It will bring many opportunities for the scene here to grow. I am looking forward to see the server breed new talent from players that are proficient in fighting games or rhythm games. Moreover, the establishment of the Japanese server will motivate the players that have been in the scene for a long time. All in all, the competition is expected to increase. There will be many obstacles to overcome before and after the server becomes a success, but I trust Riot's judgments and I believe League of Legends will become something more than just a hobby in Japan.
Q: How is LoL perceived in Japan or e-Sports in general?
Shun: If we take into consideration that Japan doesn't have its own server yet, it is quite popular and well-received. When the Japanese try to enjoy playing a western PC game that requires a lot of communication in English, you know that they are coming out of their comfort zone to appreciate the game. When I realized this, I thought it was beautiful.
Q: Your team is currently participating in the LJL. What are your impressions of this league in terms of production value etc.?
Shun: The tournament structure is fine. Some might argue that having 4 teams in a league circuit is too less, but they have plans to increase the number of participating teams in the future. The biggest downfall of LJL is that it is not advertised much internationally. The amount of viewers can easily increase by organizing weekly reddit posts and publishing interviews or articles regarding LJL matches in English. There is a lot more that the organization is not doing what they should be doing and so far I am not as satisfied as I believe I should be. I am not the only one that hold such opinions.
Q: In terms of power-level where do you see the Japanese teams at the moment?
Shun: A level below NACS, but close.
Q: Worlds is getting closer and closer with this in mind do you think that Japan deserves a slot for Worlds 2014 in Korea?
Shun: Absolutely not. We need the scene and the players here to grow first. We need a quality infrastructure.