The production throughout the 2020 League of Legends World Championship in Shanghai has been fantastic, and has even featured augmented reality segments to enhance the viewing experience in real time. However, perhaps the coolest cultural impact is in the concrete ways that the city of Shanghai has changed in commemoration of hosting the event. League of Legends is massive in China, and there's plenty of sights around Shanghai that represent its cultural significance.
Throughout the streets of Shanghai — most in close proximity to Worlds 2020 venue Pudong Football Stadium — manhole covers engraved with logos of all 22 teams who have competed at the World Championship adorn the sidewalks.
The manhole covers aren't the only physical transformation to occur in Shanghai this October. The city has slowly taken on characteristics of Summoner's Rift as the event has continued. Throughout the city, items such as Gangplank's barrels, Garen's sword, Thresh's lantern, and Vision Wards can be found. Certain references to professional players can be found on city street signs as well.
Other miscellaneous Worlds 2020 easter eggs are also present. A poro manhole, K/DA ALL OUT-branded cutouts, and more are scattered throughout the city. However, Riot Games saved the best for last.
Since its inception, the Elder Dragon neutral monster has been a keen focus of any virtual reality production at the League of Legends World Championship. However, ahead of the finals, Riot Games took things a step further by unveiling a massive Elder Dragon statue. Don't let your eyes fool you — this Elder Dragon is real, and while passersby must keep some distance from the statue, it is viewable and photographable in all its gargantuan glory at the foot of the Oriental Pearl Tower.
Each World Championship brings unforgettable moments and a new frontier for competitive League of Legends, but to see Shanghai transform during the event hammers home the Worlds 2020 TAKEOVER theme in excellent fashion. Riot Games deserves credit for not simply resting on its tech and digital production for its first Worlds during a pandemic, and bringing realistic elements of League of Legends to the living world has only enhanced Worlds' cultural impact.
All images by: LPL English
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