Working 9 to 5: Immortals Reform Practice Schedules To Tackle Player Burnout

Unconvinced by the current model set in place for professional League of Legends eSports players in North America, Immortals are leading the way in reforming what is considered to be a ‘working day’. Late starts and Late finishes could soon become a thing of the past, as NA LCS competitors begin to reassess what constitutes a healthy work/life balance.

Sleeping in before cramming hours of scrims and VOD reviews into daylight hours is the practice model League of Legends eSports organisations have grown up with. It’s part of a culture that has been passed down through the generations, only recently beginning to incorporate gym session as endemic brands continue to show an interest in ‘lifestyle’ eSports brands. As relative newcomers to the NA LCS, after a year competing within the league for a year, Immortals are keen to set a new precedent for practice schedules.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Immortals outlined practice regime mirrors a typical working day, with scrims starting at 10am and finishing promptly at 5pm. Players will then have free time in which to decompress and live their lives outside of the team house, whether they choose to spend that time playing solo queue matches is entirely optional.

“It’s going to free up a lot more time to actually allow them to focus not just on the game they play, but also on taking care of themselves.

“Even just spending more daylight time with their teammates outside of the game.”

Nick Phan, Immortals General Manager

Player ‘burnout’ and a loss of competitive appetite remain as the most frequently referenced causes for early retirement. But as eSports enters a new era of investment, there has been a notable shift in accountability. In the past, the ‘blame’ for eSports professional’s early retirement age had been placed upon both the competing organisations and the wider industry standards.

Previously, teams were incentivised to push their players to the absolute limit, given that their performance in one particular season was far more important than their overall career span. Once a player had given their all, they could always be replaced with younger talent waiting in the wings; there was no incentive to consider a players potential burnout.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Immortals are keen to fight off the negative effects of player burnout, emphasising the importance of healthier lifestyles over longer practice hours.

“In moving scrims earlier and making other health/lifestyle adjustments, I think we can tackle the mental and out-of-game physical preparation that most people in eSports overlook when considering talent.

“We’d love to see more well-rounded individuals; not just them as players.

“We’re hoping to foster healthier time management that will help players balance their lives more and take more preventative lifestyle measures to fend off burnout.”

Nick Phan, Immortals General Manager

The Immortals staff admitted that the sudden change of routine has led to some sapped energy levels within the squad, also voicing concerns that earlier scrims may not sync well with the match day schedule, where games can often overrun into the later evening. The organisation are undeterred however, expecting players to adjust to the new schedule and perform better on stage as a result.

Source: Riot Games Flickr

Though their league results may not necessarily suggest that they are at the forefront of eSports innovation, it is frequently the relative newcomers to the North American scene who are looking to evolve the industry. Immortals, in addition to Echo Fox, are continually looking to create a sustainable environment with consideration to their players welfare. With a balanced infrastructure in place, the organisations will be hoping it is a matter of time until the deserved success follows.