After two days of smooth sailing during the World Playoffs, Day 3 was disappointing. We've spent today investigating and reviewing the problems, and I'd like to go through and address some of the community's big concerns surrounding yesterday's issues.
In hindsight, the potential visibility of minimap screens for players was a mistake. 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.
We are re-examining photos, videos and renders of the stage layout to definitively understand sight lines between the players on-stage and the minimaps overhead. We're taking it a step further moving forward to completely ensure the screens aren't visible to players.
Forward-facing camera angles can be misleading and we want to make sure everyone has the full picture before drawing any conclusions. This is something that we believe requires a comprehensive investigation but we absolutely understand why it's cause for alarm.
In the meantime, here's a quick overview of the two primary minimap incidents we've been reviewing:
Azubu Frost had a microphone issue that didn't allow them to communicate during the opening of the game. As a result, the game was paused.
It was noticed that both teams had players that were shifting their bodies during the pause. Blanket warnings were issued to both Azubu Frost & TSM.
Referees decided to issue a restart, as a) Reginald & Chaox had concerns about screen looking and b) Azubu's communications disadvantage could reasonably be interpreted as requiring a restart under tournament rules.
No further incidents of screen-looking were witnessed during this match.
Team WE/CLG.eu game
A player from Team WE was not facing forward for a moment during the 3rd and final restarted game before we wrapped for the night.
We've reviewed the existing footage and firsthand accounts from our referees, and we believe the player's head turn may have been in response to a loud vuvuzela and crowd cheering. We haven't found conclusive evidence either way and are continuing to investigate.
Those are the primary incidents that have been reported, but we are also investigating other alleged instances. More importantly, we are taking steps to completely ensure the screens are not visible to players at the conclusion of the Playoffs and Finals.
Hardware and connection issues are harder to prepare for. Video cards can explode. Network cables can short out. Headsets can die. While we can pause and restore games, if any of those things happen in the middle of a teamfight, it will impact the course of the game dramatically. Long-term, we know we need better solutions for this and it is a priority.
Regarding yesterday's connection failures, we had a string of issues including a power failure, and two internet connectivity incidents we are continuing to investigate. It sucks that this happened, 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.
We're trying to deliver an extraordinary experience for viewers, and yesterday didn't live up to our goals. We're going to take everything we've learned from the Playoffs and strive to make the remainder of the Quarter- and Semifinals, as well as the Finals, as great as we can make them.
In the long run, looking to season 3 and beyond, we're always learning and we're reading all your feedback and taking it to heart. We believe the most important concern here is about fairness, and we're going to do everything we can to preserve that moving forward.
League of Legends as an eSport is young, and we're learning a lot with each event. This is the run-up to our Super Bowl, and we've really been pouring our blood, sweat and tears into it. We're as disappointed as you are that yesterday had so many issues, but we're committed to improving, so that's what we're going to try to do.
Right now we're focused on setting up the conclusion of the Playoffs, and we'll have more details on that shortly.