By Gio Ramon
With the Philippines acting as host to one of Southeast Asia’s largest League of Legends events, it’s undeniable that we’ve become a big part of esports in the region.
League of Legends is a team-oriented strategy game with a roster of characters to master that keeps it endlessly replayable. It’s the infinite number of combinations and approaches to winning that has captured and held millions of gamers’ interests for so long –– the game just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. It’s through games like LoL that the gaming community has been able to flourish, amassing a loyal fanbase that supports professional players worldwide.
“Esports has become a true competitive sport here in the Philippines,” says Gerry Soler, Head of Globe Games and Esports. The existence of this division in a dominant telecommunications company shows how far-reaching the industry has become. This is also affirmed regionally, with it being named a medal sport at the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian Games.
In celebration of League of Legends’ wide reach, Globe, in partnership with Garena and Riot Games, set the stage once again with Conquerors Manila. Last year’s rendition saw the top competitive SEA teams battle it out in front of a live audience, as well as inviting celebrity streamers and internet personalities for a Celebrity Showmatch. For Conquerors 2019 however, it’s now expanded to a full community-centric affair. An invitational tournament with international teams participating was still a major part of the weekend’s activities, but this year the event also celebrated the League enthusiasts and supporters by creating themed interactive spaces for gamers to share their love for the game.
All this fanfare doesn’t come without a chance to bring positive change. This year’s participants were also able to support the Hineleban Foundation, the rainforestation and environmental conservation efforts in Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur. Invited guests were given initiatives to rack wins: every opponent defeated contributes to a monetary donation to the institution.
The need to preserve our forests has never been more dire, and both establishments are finding more and more ways to get the message across. The winnings from last year’s Conquerors allowed Hineleban to plant 10K trees, and the organization hopes to surpass that number with their new projects. While the foundation is currently working on a system that allows donors to track the progress of trees planted in their name, they’ve tapped a Disney animator to create a video that shows a barren, post-apocalyptic Philippines as a creative appeal for people to act now.
Gamers everywhere are heeding the call, especially when these causes are championed by people with a huge amount of influence. In 2015, Seoul-based streamer Cowsep pulled 16M total views for his online League of Legends gameplay, and his fanbase has only grown since then. He counts himself lucky for being able to make a career out of gaming, sharing the sentiment that Esports will only continue to expand its reach and be a dependable force for raising awareness.
“Who knew that playing a game could lead to so much good?” muses the Globe Conquerors guest of honor, and with the continued success of Globe’s and Hineleban’s partnership, it’s hard to disagree. If a 10-year-old game can gain this much traction, then the future landscape –– both real world and in-game –– will only continue to grow.
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Photographs courtesy of Globe