Actually, Dota 1 (WC3) is still the biggest game in the world, there are more games being played - mostly in China and the rest of Asia every month than games of LoL.
As a competitive SC2 player, though I do recognize LoL as an E-Sport - it's approach to competition has been sort of artificial.
Riot Games padding the players to play the game, how they are so many different MOBA games out there already, and how easy it is to add content to the game without improving/altering the core mechanic. Games like LoL or CS are all team-base, while SC2 is current the only E-Sport which sustains it's depth with solo play. In other words, your success in the scene is dependent on you entirely - not a bunch of other people.
Knowing this, I truly hope SC2 will somehow attract more attention to make playing the game professionally more profitable/rewarding. Maybe it's too complicated for the casual scene, I don't know...
@Sardinar You're right about Starcraft 2 being more complicated so as a result players who don't know much about rts games in general. So much is happening so fast that they lose interest and give up because its too stressful for them to watch. So really only players who have played Starcraft or have played other RTS games are the people who will watch the live streams to figure out how to get better at SC2. That's where the main audience is I think.The thing is, Starcraft 2 requires alot more micromanagement than League of Legends. That's how its complicated and actually more stressful to play. I've played Starcraft, Starcraft 2, DOTA from Warcraft 3, and League of Legends so I'm speaking from experience. Because I find it a bit stressful to play, I can't bring myself to be competitive at it anymore, but that's just me though. I will watch SC2 matches, because I've played the game and am familiar with the general pattern of how most SC2 games go.
The thing is though, I actually enjoy watching Starcraft 2 matches more than LoL matches because an average SC2 match only takes around 10~25 minutes or even as quick as 6 minutes. For LoL, it takes an average of around 30 minutes or sometimes 55 minutes for a game to be finished. So basically I like watching shorter games. However, I like playing LoL more because its not as stressful as playing SC2. In addition, I find the updates from Riot Games more fun than Blizzard's updates.
Anyway, I'll just stop writing now since my post is already getting long enough, but these are the main points from my point of view.
I'm a MUCH bigger fan of Blizzard's approach to eSports than Riot's. Take player salaries for example. Riot is paying the pro player's salaries and Riot organizes/pays for most major tournaments. With Blizzard and Starcraft 2, 3rd party organizations are almost exclusively responsible for tournaments and pro player salaries, with Blizzard offering differing forms of support depending on the organization's needs. If tomorrow Riot were to stop pumping money into eSports, the entire LoL pro-scene would probably collapse. In contrast, the Starcraft 2 eSports scene is largely self sustaining and will continue to improve because the community competes with itself to create better and better content.
@StarSfrife Riot is owned by Tencent a company whose total assets are worth around an estimated $50 billion. They are doing it because they can do it and they have the money to do it. Everything is being closed down by riot because they want to make it structured like a real sport is. Look at NFL / NBA / NHL / FIFA. They will keep growing their numbers and get major sponsors involved. They want full control of the structure and how their pro-scene works because that is their end-goal. To make it operate and work like all the major sports do from FIFA to MLB.
SC2 might be self sustaining but it will never be able to do what riot is trying to do if it operates the way it has been. Like when the BAA and NBL merged to create a single NBA where they all could follow 1 structure with all the teams instead of separate ones. What remains to be seen is if Riot is successful in accomplishing its goals, it is by no means a small task and they need to be very smart as to how they go about it.
This is also the reason Dreamhack / MLG / ESL announced their partnership to grow e-sports. They understand they all need to work together and can't be doing their own separate thing because if they all follow 1 structure with 1 format and 1 ranking system it benefits all of them more so then if they would go on their own. Professional sports do that and it is very easy to follow them for fans. SC2, LOL, DOTA2 there is no clear cut 1 format everyone has their own formats with different schedules and times.... NFL NBA FIFA games don't have that. You know when the games are on every Sunday or Monday and what times they start, regardless of the team playing the times don't change. There is 1 ranking system where you know who is at the top of their division / conference unlike e-sports where it is very hard to tell who really is #1 because someone wins mlg one week the next week another wins dreamhack. There isn't even an overall ranking system for each scene like top 50 in Korea / top 50 in na. Following e-sports is extremely hard and annoying compared to being a fan of any sport. Try introducing a gamer who loves playing games into e-sports and see how that works out. Riot got that many people to watch their game by advertising their tournaments in their client so gamers in general who don't follow e-sports knew there was a tournament going in and they watched it.
@Evilbunz @StarSfrife Those are some really good insights you've written there. I hope E-sports continues to get more organized for every year that goes by since video games as a sport where you can earn money from is really awesome. By no means is it a stable source of income for the moment, but it could be in 5 to 10 years. Who knows what the future holds? As the cliche goes, the possibilities are endless.