The Week 7 LCS match between GIANTS! Gaming and Team Vitality started off fairly innocuously, with GIANTS! poised to claim a 2-0 victory. When Vitality’s Nukeduck paused game 2 at 26:15, the score was 0-7. Here’s a screenshot of the game state to give you an idea of how hard Vitality was losing when the pause occurred.
After a considerable delay, Riot caster Drakos announced that the players would be remaking the game due to a visual bug that was causing “Orianna’s ball to be invisible on Orianna,” preventing Giants from tracking the ball and presenting an unfair advantage to their opponents. See the clip here.
Personally, I’m having a hard time understanding the statement from Drakos. If Vitality were gaining an unfair advantage in a losing game, why is it their decision to ask remake? Riot didn’t spend much time dissecting the aftermath, preferring to steer discussion towards the next game instead. In the end, Vitality staged an impressive comeback to secure a win in the series.
The story doesn’t end there. Here are some highlights from the ensuing Twitter shitstorm:
• Giants Gaming tweeted that they did not agree on remaking the game, and that only Vitality agreed on the remake.
• Team Vitality added that they did not specifically ask for a remake and were just following the bug protocol, which means players should immediately pause the game when a player encounters a bug.
• Mark Schnell, EU Esports Product Manager clarified the situation by explaining that Vitality players were not able to see Orianna’s ball in certain circumstances from 25:52 onwards, putting Vitality at a disadvantageous position. Vitality was given the option of remaking the game, and they accepted.
• Giants top laner Flaxxish countered that when Orianna cast Command Protect, they also couldn’t see her ball.
Mark Schnell’s clarifications indicate that Riot Drako’s did indeed mispeak on the live broadcast–Vitality was the “disadvantaged” team, not Giants. But according to Flaxxish, Giants couldn’t see Orianna’s ball under presumably the same circumstances. Aren’t they playing with a disadvantage as well? Did Flaxxish speak up to the judges, or did Riot consult with Giants?
Nukeduck gains an advantage by being able to control an invisible Command Protect. And since Nukeduck can communicate where Orianna’s ball is to his team, the players most disadvantaged by this bug are actually Giants, who are forced to play blindly against Orianna. The truth is that bugs are common enough in professional play that you can’t remake every game because of them. Just look at all the bugs from when Altec played Mordekaiser last week.
Just before the pause, Giants had killed Graves in his top jungle and had 4 pink wards covering every entrance to Baron, which they were probably gearing up to secure. Was this a sure win for Giants? Most likely, but according to EU LCS rules, Giants weren’t dominating enough for the officials to grant them a win. In the event of a game restart, the League may award a victory to a team if the game time has exceeded 20 minutes and any of the following rule 7.10.8 criteria are met:
• Gold Differential: the difference in gold between teams is more than 33%.
• Turret Differential: the difference in remaining turrets between teams is greater than seven.
• Inhibitor Differential: the difference in standing inhibitors between teams is three.
Giants weren’t close to fulfilling the turret or inhibitor differential requirement, and to have a 33% gold differential, they needed to have a 50.5k gold by 26:15. The problem with the LCS rules is that they were written before the elemental dragon changes, back when dragons gave global gold to the teams. A 33% gold differential might have been reasonable when Dragons rewarded global gold, but it’s borderline impossible now that Elemental dragons award buffs instead of gold. The total gold value of the stats provided by two Infernal Drakes and a Cloud Drake might amount to the 3.8k gold required to bring Giants up to the 33% gold differential. It certainly brings Giants much closer to this criterion.
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Riot hates discussing game remakes and bugs on their livestream–it’s a waste of time and it makes them look bad.. Unfortunately, it makes them look worse to grant remakes under dubious conditions. It’s not clear to me if Riot offered remakes to both teams or just to Vitality. Obviously, Giants would not choose to remake a game they are certain to win, and I can’t fault Vitality for accepting Riot’s lifeline. But why does Vitality’s vote matter more than Giants? Riot doesn’t seem very impartial if both teams were indeed affected by the bug – at least flip a coin to see who breaks the tie. It’s not fair to offer the losing team a chance to remake after 23 seconds of inconvenience. Teams should be able to know the rules well enough to know when–and how–they can ask for a remake.
For the sake of competitive integrity, Riot needs to:
• Better define the term “disadvantaged.” Teams can’t be equally disadvantaged.
• Update the LCS Rules. 33% is an enormous disparity in modern League of Legends, and Riot needs to be diligent about revisiting the rulebook after large patches come out.
• In order to restore public trust, Riot should clarify if they knew whether Giants were affected by the bug as well, and inform fans if a remake was offered to Giants.
• Fix the bug. (Oddly enough, this might be the easiest thing for them to take care of.)
Giants felt robbed of a win, and Vitality looked downright sheepish when they shook hands with Giants. Reddit and Twitch weren’t satisfied with this series. I know I wasn’t.
Hopefully Riot can hurry up and get Chronobreak ready for EU play, because they really needed a better way to respond to this kind of situation. Game remakes and long pauses should be avoided at all costs for the sake of the broadcast, and if Riot wants League of Legends to remain successful, competitive integrity must be a priority.