Our next stop on the League of Legends World Tour brings us to Poland. With well over 1000 years of national history, this culturally rich central European nation also boasts a longstanding presence in the online gaming space.
While First Person Shooters titles were the primary interest of most Polish players at the time League of Legends launched in Europe, Poland was quick to embrace the game right when the European platform opened its doors in October 2009. Although the Polish language was added to the European platform in February 2011 – more than a year after League of Legends arrived on the continent – many Polish players were already passionate members of the community at this point.
It was this immediate show of support for the game that made Poland the obvious choice for our first post-launch European expansion. Once the Polish language beta opened to the public the response was equally impressive, and Poland has since become one of the biggest single-language territories in Europe.
Although they primarily game from home, Polish players still consider gaming a social event, and LAN parties and competitive events remain a big part of Polish gaming culture. Polish players are also some of the most competitively focused players in the community today. As a result, competitive and eSports streams are extremely popular in the region and many of the more prominent players from the Polish community regularly showcase their gameplay online.
In eSports, Polish players are some of the most frequent competitors in the global community. Online, the Polish national Go4LoL tournament averages over 100 teams each weekend, and Polish teams are also frequent competitors in the continent-wide Go4LoL series. In-person tournaments are also frequently held across the country, and local conventions and LAN parties often feature League of Legends tournaments as part of their festivities. Perhaps most impressively, League of Legends was so popular at the 2011 ESL Pro Series Final in Zabrze, Poland that the games were streamed live to a local cinema and pub to accommodate the 1,200 spectators who turned up to watch!
Additionally, Poland has already made quite the impression on the international stage. Even before League of Legends became available in their native language, Polish player Shushei helped spearhead pan-European powerhouse FnaticRaidCall’s victory in the Season One Championships. Since then, Fnatic has remained a front-runner in the Season Two Challenger Circuit, and is a sought after participant in invitation tournaments the world over. Polish national team Gameburg also rocked the international world by placing second at the World Cyber Games Grand Finals in Busan, Korea, eliminating many top contenders along the way. More recently, dedraydon was recruited by eSports landmark team SK Gaming, making him the second Polish player to earn a spot on a Challenger Circuit frontrunner.
Despite being the latest addition to the European platform, Poland has already shown us time and time again that we can expect a lot from these highly-motivated players, particularly in eSports. We look forward to hearing more from our Polish summoners as Season Two continues!