#266 League of Legends, Iran, and the Power Vacuum

Hey everybody, do you know what I haven’t talked too much about on this blog lately? politics in videogames. And do you know where the best place to talk about politics in videogames? Iran.

Specifically their recent announcement to ban all female League of Legends champions, except for the child champion Annie, from competitive play.  (The source can be found on the WCG official rule book which can be found here, the entire document is Persian so you might want to consult Google Translate)

In the past Riot has always tried to comply to each region’s cultural differences, in China for example all of Karthus’s skins has his cowl’s shadow mask his skeletal face because the Chinese culture have great respect for the dead and they frown on the idea of zombies or raising the dead. 

Fun fact it was also the reason why Blizzard's Wrath of the Lich King took so long to release in China

Fun fact it was also the reason why Blizzard’s Wrath of the Lich King took so long to release in China


But today, as some of you might be glad to hear, I am not going to be talking about the policy itself or the historical/political background that lead up to the decision to change their tournament rule book.

It's a bit to new and messy to write a proper post about within the first day.

It’s a bit to new and messy to write a proper post about within the first day.

Instead I want to focus on the impact it will cause with for future professional WCG League of Legends matches with a most of the female champions banned from playing. In my travels on the internet I stumbled upon a very nice article by Noah Kantrowitz that breaks down the gender ratio in the current roster of League of Legends champion.


The post goes into more detail about the breakdown of champion’s genders in each class role.

That means that about 34% of the player pool is gone and in a game that puts a lot of emphasis on champion picks, counter-picks, and banning other player’s favorite champions this could be disastrous to the Iranian League of Legends end/metagame. Imagine if out of the blue, and in mid-season no less, a region of the world banned 6 out of the 18(33.33%) Pokemon types from all of their tournaments or they removed more than a fifth of the colors cards from the Magic the Gathering card game, it would completely skew all future games for everyone 

In the competitive games I just mentioned, game developers takes great strides to make sure that everything in their games interacts with everything else in the way as it is intended, especially when there are legions of players theroycrafting the best possible way to get a competitive edge over the enemy team. To create a sudden widespread power vacuum in the game could prove dangerous for the state of league of leagues in the nation of Iran and internationally if any of these Iranian e-athletes face off against other professional players outside of Iran.

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3 responses to “#266 League of Legends, Iran, and the Power Vacuum

  1. Cao

    The most likely reason that WCG Iran (and very likely all other LoL LAN events on Iranian soil) banned almost all female humanoid champions is they have revealing attire and therefore violate hijab (Muslim veil). I think only Karma (pre-rework) and Quinn (Classic skin) follow the ruling of most Islamic scholars on what type of clothing every Muslim woman should wear. I am so embarrassed about anti-Iran and anti-Islam comments all over the internet on this issue but I still respect the WCG Iran organizers’ decision. Did you know that the Qur’an instructs both Muslim men and women to dress in a modest way. IR of Iran encourages ALL WOMEN in its territory to wear hijab in public.

    Anyway back to LoL, how about a new game mode that only champions of the same gender (selectable by the host) are allowed?

    • My apologizes. I forgot to mention in the post that the catalyst behind the recent ban was based on the Qur’an, I thought everyone could figure out the reason of the ban when the announcement came out. When I was writing this post my indention was to stay politically neutral by not talking about the reason behind( or my opinion) of the ban but simply what this would mean for the end game and meta-game in that area. I’m sorry if you thought this post had any hint of an anti-Iran or anti-Muslim message to it, that is something I would never write.

      On the topic of Riot creating new gender-bending game models for the female champions I do not think it would happen because it would take too much time/money/resources away from the company to properly justify that sort of project.

      Going back to the Chinese Karthus example, all that Riot needed to do was black out his face and possibly recolor his arms and hands. For this project Riot employees would have to create all new male models from scratch while still making it as close to the original characters look/movement so that the enemy team can quickly recognize what champion is it and assess the risk of engaging with that enemy in a within moment’s notice.

      That would be asking way too much of Riot to take that much time away from any current projects (champions or maps) that they are working on.

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