Riot Elaborates Measures Taken to Ensure Competitive Integrity at MSI 2022
The competitive integrity of the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) 2022 has arguably been the hottest topic about the tournament, ever since Riot Games announced that the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) representative – Royal Never Give Up (RNG) – would be participating in the tournament from China because of COVID-19 restrictions.
In order to keep the competition fair, Riot stated that it will be using a network latency tool to maintain a ping as close to 35 ms as possible for all teams throughout the competition. So, all the teams have been playing on an inflated ping at the MSI 2022.
RNG played its first match against Istanbul Wildcats and the League of Legends community was quick to point out how the RNG members were playing without headphones and how they did not have individual player cams. This led to the fans questioning the fairness and competitive integrity of the tournament.
However, League of Legends esports personalities like Barento "Raz" Mohammed and Indiana "Froskurinn" Black rallied in support of the Chinese squad stating how dire the COVID-19 situation is in Shanghai, China, and how the team does not have a choice.
Raz , “There's some misinformation and undue hate to RNG & the LPL that needs to stop. The people that want to be at Busan the most is RNG themselves, but cannot leave Shanghai because of the lockdown that has been in place since April 1st. It has nothing to do with Asian Games.”
All these narratives being stirred on social media forced Riot Games to make a on the competitive integrity of MSI 2022.
Riot Games addresses the situation
Global Head of LoL Esports Naz Aletaha reflected on Day 1 of MSI 2022 Group Stage and said, “The challenges have been real. Some have been preventable, and we take accountability for those. Others have been unpredictable, but with some nimbleness and creativity, not insurmountable. I’d like to provide more context on some of these challenges and share how we are approaching them.”
Firstly Aletaha explained that Riot originally stated that everyone at the venue – including the pros, staff, crew, audience, and also RNG – was required to wear masks while on stage. She added that the rule was not clearly communicated and that it caused a lot of confusion and frustration among players. Riot Games apologized for the unclear communication and stated that teams can now wear masks on stage at their own discretion.
Talking about RNG’s remote play, Aletaha stated that locations in Shanghai, including RNG’s facility, have been faced with a stricter no-traffic lockdown and that was the reason why referees were not allowed inside the facility. As a result, Riot is monitoring RNG’s games virtually by providing referee support and it has also placed multiple cameras and microphones to monitor the match room.
Clarifying why not all of the players have face cams, Aletaha stated, “We have also prioritized a single “look in” camera instead of the usual five player-facing cameras to ensure that there is enough available bandwidth to maintain consistent ping for the matches.”
Additionally, Riot could not dispatch stage headsets to the players and allowed them to use their personal ones, which means that they are not of the same standard. To combat the echo that arises from lack of proper gear, Riot has allowed players to mute each other in the software and communicate within the room. “For clarity, RNG players only mute the incoming audio from their teammates -- all voice comms are still transmitted to our referees for monitoring. This is a departure from the on-stage environment in Busan, but it is a necessary one to ensure that RNG is able to communicate with the same clarity that the players on stage are.”
Aletaha reinstated that Riot was committed to maintaining the competitive integrity of MSI 2022 and that it shall continue to monitor matches in Shanghai and Busan accordingly.