I have to go on a bit of rant today, because if there’s one thing that sets me off like no other issue, its region locking. The biggest story in Europe right now has nothing to do with the economy. Nothing to do with Greece or the Chinese investments. This year we will live through the breaking up of Europe, as it exists in League of Legends server regions.

They already have US and EU regions as English speaking options. League is a very latency dependant game, so I can definitely see the benefit of a local region. I choose to play on my local EU server as often as I can. Unfortunately and like many people, I have gaming friends in America, this forces me to have 2 accounts. Its a free game so that isn’t a massive deal, but it takes months to get level to 30 in League and unlock many of the features.
Spending real money is an option to fast track the grind, but it would feel like a slap in the face to do this because I have already spent upwards of 50 dollars on the American server. I cant access any of that content I paid for when I login to my Europe account, so I am likely to refuse to buy anything out of spite to be honest. It would be a waste to have spent that money for my local server rather than the American one, because most of my community is on the US side, what is the point of having a cool skin if your friends cant see it?
So now that I have explained why the region locking really sucks, I can talk about their decision to divide Europe, creating more locked regions. I wont deny that it is necessary, certainly League of Legends’s explosion in popularity has caused the European region to be largely unplayable at prime time for over a month now.
I am just a bit surprised that this is the best solution they could come up with. They are generously offering a free transfer for anyone who wants it, I am also excited to see the servers deliver a better experience, but… I just don’t like region locking. I can accept free to play, micro-transactions, PvP, grind, just about all the modern tropes of online gaming, but I find it hard to accept Region locking when they are taking away so much that we used to take for granted. I met many of my American friends playing games such as PlanetSide, where they offered players a choice of server, no locking people out. Now of course its different, the internet has gotten faster, people have friends all over the world, so of course we need to limit peoples options for no particular reason.
Now I have the hassle of constantly jumping between my 2 copies of StarCraft 2, when in the past, battle.net just let me switch. Soon I will have to figure out whether my friend in Norway is going to be on the same server as me on League after the breakup. Why do developers think I should be forced to make these choices? Why is gaming going in this region locking direction?