Riot Addresses Allegations of Cheating and Network Failures During League of Legends Championship Tournament

The playoffs in the League of Legends season two championship began on Thursday and were scheduled to conclude on Saturday, but ran into a series of troubles along the way. The first day went smoothly, as did day two. On Saturday, though, matches had to be paused and restarted more than once. Streaming and play were eventually halted and rescheduled due to a series of technical and connectivity issues, and allegations of cheating began to surface.

During the many pauses in play that the technical difficulties caused, players from teams Azubu Frost, SoloMid, and World Elite reportedly snuck glances in at the large screens showing off the tournament to attendees, which allowed players on those teams to see the mini-maps showing off where their opponents were hiding.

Riot's VP of esports, Dustin "RedBeard" Beck, took to the League of Legends forums to address player and audience concerns about the playoffs. He apologized to the community, saying, "We're trying to deliver an extraordinary experience for viewers, and yesterday didn't live up to our goals."

While specific incidents of peeking were addressed with game restarts during tournament play, Beck acknowledged that the system leaves potential for the perception of unfair play, and needs to be changed. "In hindsight, the potential visibility of minimap screens for players was a mistake," Beck said. "Despite on-site referees, close monitoring of player cams backstage, and stage design that ensured players would have to turn more than 90 degrees to be able to catch a glimpse of the minimaps, even the possibility of unfair play was simply unacceptable. We're taking steps to ensure the minimap screens are not visible to players."

While Beck added, "We are taking steps to completely ensure the screens are not visible to players at the conclusion of the Playoffs and Finals," he also stated that hardware and connectivity issues are harder for Riot to promise to prevent. "Video cards can explode. Network cables can short out. Headsets can die."

As to the disconnections that plagued play on October 6, apparently they were the result of a string of failures, rather than a single, specific event. A power failure and two separate "internet connectivity incidents" contributed, all of which are still being looked into. "It sucks that this happened," Beck said, "but we're going to dive deep into the root cause to see if there are any other redundancies that could safeguard against this in the future."

The date for the rescheduled last game between Team WE and CLG EU, as well as the semifinal matches, remains unannounced, but Beck said that Riot is aiming for Wednesday (October 10) as the makeup date if all goes well. The championship's final round, which will reward the victorious team with a $1 million grand prize, is scheduled for next Saturday, October 13. As a token of apology to the community, Riot will also be rewarding players with double the normal level of influence points for a 24-hour period after the finals conclude.

Our Thoughts on Playoffs Day 3 [League of Legends forums]