League of Legends is a game that has taken the world by storm. Since starting as a Indie game as a mod of Warcraft, this game has grown to over 30 million monthly players around the world. In season one, the prize pull for the world championship was only $150,000. Now the game has grown so much that Riot Games has rented out the Staples Center in Los Angeles and funded a monstrous $2,000,000 prize pool in Season 3. With this type of exponential growth comes new problems. One topic of heated discussion is MMR Boosting/Elo Boosting. MMR Boosting in League of Legends has become prevalent to the point that many LCS (League Championship Series) players have been caught and punished for partaking in the activity. Names like Aphromoo, Meteos, and even Rhux are some of the most renown players, but in order to fund their dreams to become a full time LoL pro, they needed to boost. Elo boosting allowed these players to forgo a traditional job which resulted in them honing their skills in League of Legends.
Although boosting is against Riot’s terms of service and is actively frowned upon, many players that feel like they are stuck in a rating that they do not belong in search for various methods to improve their rating. Websites have been created by entrepreneurial high rated players that offer services that can help these players. These services include: elo boosting, duo queue games, league of legends coaching services, private guides, and more. These websites are engaging in a highly frowned upon activity, but since they are not selling any intellectual property, they cannot be taken down. They are simply selling their time as a service and according the the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 this type of activity is legally allowable. Furthermore, Tencent, the owner of a majority stake in Riot Games, has acquired an interest in Playerauctions, which itself is a marketplace that was specifically created to cater to the world of virtual goods in video games. One such site, cheapeloboosting.com, was formed by a highly rated gamer that decided to offer customers safe and secure services. They offer services to many countries around the world: NA, EUW, LAN, LAS, OCE, and many other servers in LoL. Before the development of these sites, many players found con artists around many different online forums that would take their game accounts and their money. This results in a major headache for Riot as the amount of account recovery tickets would be extremely high. By establishing reputable sites, Riot saved resources with the resulting decrease in stolen accounts and websites created value in a market that will always remain. In my next posts I will be going over the black markets that have been established in various games. This phenomena is not unique to League of Legends with some economists claiming that the virtual goods market is a billion dollar industry as more and more players flock to the online world of video gaming.