The 2022 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational is already off to a rocky start, with China’s Royal Never Give Up having to redo three of their opening matches due to ping discrepancies found with the players competing in Korea.
Before the tournament began, Riot Games created a new “special network latency tool” that allowed RNG to compete remotely from China, since the team was prohibited from traveling due to COVID-related restrictions. This tool applied an artificial 35 ping environment for all players at the tournament, so every team was playing on an even game state. One day into the tournament, however, players in Korea reported the ping felt higher than 35 and that it was negatively affecting their gameplay in both on-stage matches and in practice servers.
Riot ruled RNG would replay their first three matches of the tournament after finding “unintended disparity in latency between competing teams” during RNG’s games. RNG’s record dropped back to 0-0, and the results of their first three matches were voided.
RNG voiced complaints about the ruling on social media, saying the decision was “too much” because three days had already passed before Riot made the choice to redo matches. They also mentioned the team considered dropping out of the tournament, but would continue forward. Meanwhile, many people are discussing whether the games should have been erased in the first place.
The main reason why these games had to be replayed is to maintain competitive integrity. Although RNG was playing at 35 ping, their opponents were playing at higher latency than promised. Even though RNG were overwhelming favorites in a majority of their matches, this difference in latency still gave the LPL representatives an unfair advantage.
It might be inconvenient for RNG to continue playing games in their busy schedule, but this is the only solution to ensure the playing field was even for each team, no matter who wins or loses. There’s nothing to blame but the current system in place, how it was implemented, and how long it took for officials to realize how disadvantageous it was for the other region representatives.