The next stop on our League of Legends World Tour brings us to Europe, where we’ll be making a stop in the Mediterranean country of Spain.
To a foreigner, Spain might conjure images of picturesque beaches, delicious tapas and red-caped matadors. Well, luckily for vacation planning, you will be pleased to know that Spain does in fact have all of these things. One thing you might not realize, however, is that Spain also boasts a flourishing gaming community filled with passionate and dedicated online gamers.
While gamers in Spain were initially unfamiliar with games in the MOBA genre, gravitating instead toward FPS and MMORPG titles, the arrival of League of Legends in November 2009 began to change this dynamic. Driven by the passion of its members, the League of Legends community in Spain has been growing at an amazing rate, primarily through summoners recommending the game to their friends and showing off their skills at the many gaming social occasions throughout the country.
Although they generally prefer to do their everyday game playing from home, this doesn’t mean that the summoners of Spain don’t have an extremely social gaming community. Spain is home to more LAN parties than any other country in Europe, with over 50 public events taking place each year. Some of these LAN parties, such as Euskal Encounter and Campus Party, have years of history and feature not only tournaments, but also numerous fan contests and activities. There is even a bar in Barcelona that hosts each and every major League of Legends tournament live stream, enticing hundreds of summoners to watch their favorite pros do battle with one another on the Fields of Justice.
Spain’s playerbase is also extremely passionate about the artistic style of League of Legends and has established itself as one of the craftiest countries in the global community. As a result, a huge amount of fan art and other such creations comes from this region. Cosplay in particular is a significant part of Spanish gaming culture, with League of Legends players in elaborate costumes turning out not only to their favorite gaming events, but also to other pop culture conventions. Vendors selling League of Legends themed arts and crafts in public streets markets are also a common sight.
On the competitive front, two of the most celebrated players in League of Legends reside in the country of Spain, including Fnatic’s xpeke as well as SK Gaming’s Ocelote. In addition to being two of the oldest and most celebrated eSports organizations in the world, these teams have consistently proven themselves at the most prestigious international tournaments. Fnatic even claimed the League of Legends Season One Championship!
Spain also fielded an impressive national team in World Cyber Games 2011, which included prominent Spanish players Araneae, Babeta, Exterminare and Hein. All of these Spanish players enjoy significant celebrity status within the community and can often be seen signing autographs at Spain’s many bustling LAN events.
While the growth of League of Legends in Spain has already been extremely impressive to witness, there’s still a bright future ahead. As SK Ocelote put it, “League of Legends is in a learning process right now. Now is when players are beginning to understand what it means to be a pro-gamer.” We look forward to hearing a lot more from these passionate and dedicated summoners as we go forward in 2012!