Controversy marred a world championship competition yesterday when a team allegedly threw a game in the Little League Softball World Series to ensure a rival wouldn’t advance in the group stage.
If something like this can happen at an event like a little league tournament, imagine the possibilities at a multi-million dollar event like the League of Legends season finale, the Riot World Championships. Well, Riot Games did, and it’s updated its format this year to randomly select knockout stage matchups, meaning opponents won’t know which teams they’re slated to face in the bracket until after the group stage. That removes the incentive for any of the hinky tactics employed at the softball competition.
That’s the biggest and most important change to the World Championship format as Riot Games released details outlining the 2015 version of the event today.
The format itself will mirror previous versions of the event, with a group stage spanning two weeks where four teams in four groups will play a round robin and potential tie breakers to decide which two teams per group advance to bracket play. But this year, Riot will introduce some more transparency into the group selection process.
The company will broadcast a live Group Draw, where qualified teams will be seeded into the group stage, following a rule that attempts to “maximize” the amount of international play: no group will have more than one team per region.
Then, once the group stage is complete, the quarterfinal matchups will be determined by another random selection, this time with the stipulation that two teams from the same group will not face each other in that round. In the past, those matchups were set before the event began, with Group A’s winner playing Group B’s runner-up, for example. But that set up the potential for a team to throw a game if they perceived a runner-up as a tougher matchup.
These are two welcome changes to the format of the biggest esports competition of the year. One ensures competitive integrity, something with which competition formats from events of all sizes and all sports often seem to struggle. The other sets up the Group Draw as a perfect launching pad into Worlds coverage and absolves Riot Games of any niggling doubts that it’s set up supposed favorite sons Team SoloMid with a sweet draw.
Photo via Riot Games/Flickr