Solo queue, regardless of where you live or the level you play at, can be frustrating.
Annoying teammates are critiquing your every decision. There’s that one player who tells you 40 seconds into loading the game that they have to leave in 10 minutes, effectively wasting an hour of your precious lifespan. And if you’re really fortunate, you’ll get the player that gives up after missing their first cannon minion and proceeds to throw themselves into the enemy tower lasers, begging the rest of the team to forfeit.
The same rage and ladder fatigue you feel is shared by the best players in the world, especially at the 2021 League of Legends World Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland. As players have now been in Europe for weeks — some of them over a month at this point — we asked the top League players in the world how they’re handling playing on the European (West) server.
“I am in pain from time to time, but I decided to have as much fun as I can while I’m here,” DWG KIA’s talisman Heo “ShowMaker” Su told Upcomer. “I’m just trying to focus what I want to practice.”
ShowMaker’s one-two punch partner, Kim “Canyon” Geon-bu, agreed with his teammate’s sentiment.
“There are a lot of for-fun players more so than try-hard players,” Canyon said. “So sometimes I’m really annoyed, but sometimes I think it’s pretty funny.”
Hanwha Life’s mid laner Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon has enjoyed the robust and more free-flowing nature of the EUW server compared to back home in South Korea.
“You know, there are some plays I want to pull off but I can kind of sense the slight difference of the ping so the input and casting time is a little bit different,” Chovy said. “Sometimes I can’t really execute the play that I want and that’s a bummer. Other than that, I think they have a lot of fights on Europe’s server.”
Chovy’s jungler, Kim “Willer” Jeong-hyeon, agreed on the ping differences.
“First off, we can’t communicate, so that was a hardship,” Willer said. “The ping is also pretty high here, so it was hard to adjust to it, but now I’m used to it. I actually think all the players are always working really hard.”
“It’s pretty much similar to the Korean server,” Gen.G’s Park “Ruler” Jae-hyuk said. “I used to get stressed out playing solo queue in Korea, and here it’s like 1.5x more stress. But I also think the users or gamers in Europe are super funny. So yeah, it’s been enjoyable.”
PSG Talon’s Huang “Maple” Yi-Tang found a unique way to cut through the chaos that can come with being a known figure on a foreign server during the world championship.
“Everyone really likes to type a lot in EU solo queue and they just berate each other constantly,” Maple said. “But since I can’t understand most of it, I just respond with smiley faces.”
For 100 Thieves substitute player and one of North America’s highest-rated prospects, Milan “Tenacity” Oleksij, the EUW server has gifted him the opportunity to face players he’s modeled his top lane game after.
“I was definitely fanboying [over playing Jang “Nuguri” Ha-gwon] at the start of the lane,” Tenacity said. “I was really nervous, and I couldn’t control myself. I was playing Irelia vs. Graves, and he solo killed me at level 2.”
One of the main common points shared by most pros, especially from Asia, was how European players don’t surrender in perceived checkmated positions as quickly as they would back home.
“I feel like all the players in the EU server are very passionate,” Edward Gaming’s Tian “Meiko” Ye said. “I can feel the passion from them and they treat every single game carefully, and they don’t easily surrender. So in the EU server, I’ve had a lot of interesting experiences.”
“[The] players have so many different choices in their champion selection,” Meiko’s teammate Zhao “Jiejie” Li-Jie said. “So there are many uncommon picks that appear in the EU server.”
But even through the games held hostage, the trolls and downright annoying pestering, there was good to be found by some of the pros. In particular, LNG Esports AD carry Wang “Light” Guang-Yu had a pleasant time with his experience on the EUW server.
“EUW is very interesting,” he said. “We meet some new teammates in the EU server who say ‘hello’ or ‘I love you’ to me, so I’m very happy and enjoying it.”
E.G. Kant was a contributor to this feature
Tyler Erzberger is entering a decade of covering esports. When not traveling around the world telling stories about people shouting over video games, he’s probably arguing with an anime avatar on Twitter about North American esports.