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Elden Ring Industry Analysis

How Elden Ring Makes “Hard Mode” Work

After one of the most successful launches in history, Elden Ring has shown astounding success as an adventure game known for its absurdly brutal difficulty. Elden Ring has already sold over 12 million copies within a month after release. But when looking at competitors, Elden Ring seems to stand alone in its approach to adventure game design. Many players are asking the question, why is Elden Ring so difficult? And why don’t they offer an “easy mode” like other adventure games?

The Competition

There are seemingly endless examples of open-world games that hold the player’s hand throughout the journey. A recent example of this is Horizon Forbidden West, an adventure game that was released a full week before Elden Ring. While the launch of Horizon was dwarfed by that of Elden Ring’s, it was still able to take second place on the charts.

Horizon takes a much more traditional approach to adventure games, offering to hold the player’s hand throughout the game. Looking at the world map, Horizon chooses to guide the player with a simple look with every detail on display so the player can avoid danger or face challenges as they see fit. Elden Ring, however, chooses to use a very weathered world map that does not outline the majority of the encounters you will face during the game. Since it is harder to navigate and predict danger, players can often find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Elden Ring’s world map (left) compared to Horizon Forbidden West’s word map (right)

Building A Brand

There is no question that FromSoftware, the developer of Elden Ring, has done a great job developing a unique brand for their games. While not all of their games terrorize their players, notable titles such as the Dark Souls series, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, or Bloodborne, stand out as games suitable only for the bravest of gamers.

(Image from @DuncstarTV)

The difficulty of their games scratches an itch for a different type of gamer. While games like Horizon focus on task completion, Elden Ring focuses on presenting a challenge for its players to overcome. This change in direction is why Elden Ring players have become forgiving of the game’s lack of polish, where poor game design has become part of the challenge.

Effects on the Game

Ubisoft is a company known for creating easy open-world games. While titles such as Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs, or Far Cry can be challenging, these titles allow the player to lower the difficulty. It can feel as though the player is never free from an endless amount of guidance via waypoints, mini-maps, objectives, etc. With the success of Elden Ring, which features none of these options, the gaming community has backlashed against companies like Ubisoft for their lack of challenging gameplay.

“If Ubisoft Made Elden Ring” (Image via @DreamcastGuy)

Elden Ring has reminded gamers what it is like to be faced with a challenge and face it without easy solutions. While spending 12 hours grinding and improving your skills to defeat a single boss may seem ridiculous to casual players, this gameplay has allowed Elden Ring players to develop a sense of pride in their achievements that easy games fail to grasp.

While this sense of achievement allows players to feel a real sense of achievement, the level of difficulty also serves as a deterrent to casual gamers who don’t have the time or skill to overcome the challenges. Over time, this will likely result in organic filtering out of non-committed players. but it is safe to assume that the die-hard Elden Ring community will stay loyal to the brand for many years to come.

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News Rocket League

While Daniel is Rocket League’s Hottest Prospect, he is not Rookie of the Year

Where does the hype come from with Rocket League Championship Series rookie Daniel? Daniel Piecenski entered the professional Esports world in 2020 when he was just 13 years old. He reached Rank S in Rocket League 6 Mans, putting him at RLCS level. The minimum age to play in RLCS events is 15, so Daniel wouldn’t join the league until this year. He signed with Spacestation Gaming and is already competing at what many would say is at a “Rookie-of-the-year” level.

Despite his fanfare, Daniel has stiff competition for Rookie-of-the-Year. Daniel may be a top prospect, but other rookies like Seikoo and Vatira are performing well above what many would say is prospect level. Seikoo led Team Endpoint to wins in two of the three Fall regional events, making his team the top seed in Europe. Meanwhile, Daniel’s stellar play culminated in a peak of second place at the Winter Regional Event 1 – X Games Open.

During the Winter Europe Regional Events, Vatira made his case for Rookie of the Year. Team Queso took first place in two of three regional events, including a win over Team Endpoint in event three’s Grand Final. This matchup saw Vatira come face to face with his Rookie of the Year competition in Seikoo. Although Team Queso walked away with the victory, Vatira did not massively outplay Seikoo. Seikoo’s score across seven games was the highest on his team, with many asserting that Vatira got more production from his teammates.

Where was Daniel in all of this? Spacestation Gaming was bounced out of the playoffs in round one of the third North American Regional Event. The squad finished in 10th place, which is a bit of a regression from their performance in the Fall regional events before Daniel joined. Daniel has put together a great first showing, especially considering how young he is and the improvements he’ll be able to make from playing at RLCS level. But compared to others in the Rookie of the Year race, his team hasn’t accomplished enough to overtake players like Vatira and Seikoo.

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News Rocket League

Boston Scott’s Eventful History with Rocket League

During the day, NFL running back Boston Scott is hitting the gym, practicing with his team, the Philadelphia Eagles, and scoring touchdowns on the field. At night though, he’s grinding on Rocket League where he ranks in the top .52% of players all-time. Scott has been a long-time Rocket League enthusiast, and his hard work culminated when he officially entered the esports world! Scott recently signed with Dignitas to play for their Rocket League team professionally, making him the first two-sport NFL and Rocket League pro. Here is Boston Scott’s eventful history with Rocket League

During the 2021 NFL off-season, Scott began streaming Rocket League on Twitch with content creators like SunlessKhan. When training camp began, his streaming grind slowed; but he made it clear how much he missed playing the game live. He formed a relationship with Gridiron Gaming Group, promoting and competing in their Rocket League tournaments. He showed great interest in not only the game itself but the esports scene and its surrounding culture. Following a tough loss on the NFL field, playing Rocket League was Scott’s distraction of choice.

He’d often post highlights from his games, and tag Rocket League‘s official accounts to share his passion. Later in 2021, Scott expressed his disappointment when he wasn’t invited to participate in the Gridiron Games. Fans were just as confused and disappointed, but this was just the beginning, with more opportunities lying ahead. In early 2022, Scott took to Twitter to declare Rocket League a top-five Esport. He, himself, would join the Esport shortly after, signing with Team Dignitas.

Scott noticed the increasing popularity of Rocket League among NFL players and pitched a Twitch Rivals streamer bowl featuring NFL athletes. He’s remained heavily involved in creating a bridge between the NFL and Rocket League esports, working behind the scenes on a to-be-announced project. He should have fewer issues getting invited to events as he’s proven his commitment to the Rocket League Esport and community. Factor in the fact that he’s pretty good at the game, so Dignitas certainly has an interesting journey ahead with Boston Scott.

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League of Legends News

How Riot Games Dominated Tournaments During a Pandemic

With the outbreak of the Covid-19, esports, like the rest of the world, ground to a halt. Starting with IEM Katowice in 2020, hundreds of events were canceled, switched to online, had their crowds removed, or were otherwise changed in response to the coronavirus.

But even as the rest of the esports world was canceling and moving their biggest tournaments online, Riot Games managed to put on three enormous tournaments: Worlds 2020, Mid-Season Invitational 2021, and Worlds 2021. But how did Riot Games succeed where so many other tournaments, such as Dota 2’s The International and CS:GO’s Majors, were forced into cancellation?

The feat of Worlds 2020

Image via Riot Games

Riot Games and their League of Legends competitive scene was not immediately immune to the cancellations that ripped through the esports world in the wake of Covid-19. With their leagues moved online, taken out of studios, and in some cases, postponed, competitive LoL and the newly revealed Valorant competitive scene suffered in early 2020.

Most notable was the cancellation of MSI 2020. The Mid Season Invitational 2020 was initially scheduled for May 2020. But after the outbreak of the Pandemic was canceled in April of that year. It looked like, in all likelihood, Worlds 2020 would share the same fate. After all, several massive international events like Worlds had to be canceled that same year. 

But Riot had an ace up their sleeve: The backing of parent company Tencent. It’s impossible to know just how much sway the state-backed Tencent corporation pulled to ensure that League of Legends got its Worlds 2020. But suffice to say, Worlds 2020 was held in China, with a limited crowd for some days. 

But beyond just greasing the gears with some corporate connections, the measures taken to ensure a safe environment were astronomical. Taking place on a closed set in the Shanghai Media Tech Studio, teams traveling to the event were all placed in the same hotel. Each squad was forced into a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Employees faced similar strict restrictions. Ultimately there were no reported cases during the event.

Many would criticize Riot’s all-spanning control of the competitive scene for League of Legends. But when faced with needing to operate an international tournament in a bubble, it’s hard to fault the total control.

Iceland saved the day in 2021

Image via Riot Games

With the Pandemic continuing into 2021, instead of the eight or 12-month crisis, many had initially predicted, more competitive events would have to be scaled down or canceled. With Riot’s newly launched VCT for Valorant and the new 2021 season of League of Legends starting, it looked like the continuing Pandemic would scupper it. But for several reasons, that wasn’t an option. 

In many ways, Riot Games was snookered by its past decisions. To have held Worlds 2020 and set expectations of what could be achieved in a pandemic so high, only to scale things back in 2021, would be unthinkable. It would have sent two messages: Firstly, Worlds 2020 was a mistake; an event born of hubris and brute force (accurate on many accounts). And secondly that it was a one-off miracle and not something that could be replicated by Riot Games again. Especially not outside of China, without the influence of Tencent on its side.

Scouring the globe, the ideal venue for Riot Games 2021 events became clear. Iceland and its capital of Reykjavík was the perfect location. Nominally a European location, but with enough restrictions and a small population to have prevented huge numbers of coronavirus cases, Iceland was ideal for esports events.

Valorant Masters, MSI 2021, and Worlds 2021 were all hosted in Reykjavik in the Laugardalshöll arena under similar lockdown conditions to Worlds 2020. As a result, the three huge events were pulled off with no press, no audience, and just players and staff isolated in arenas.

Looking ahead to MSI South Korea

Image via Asia Tech Daily

With all these successes, it’s no surprise Riot Games is again looking to hold an event during a global pandemic. This time it’s rumored to be in South Korea, with the League of Legends MSI 2022. What measures Riot Games will put in place remains to be seen. The company has operated well with strict measures, but the overall attitude to the Pandemic has changed over the past two years.

We live in a world where most competitors will be double or even triple vaccinated against the virus. The cases in South Korea have steadily increased over the past months, but so has testing. And in many cases, the Omicron variant of Covid-19 seems to have less severe symptoms, especially for the vaccinated. Under these conditions, Riot Games once again attempts to hold an international tournament. Over the past two years, they’ve proved they’re more than capable of doing so.