After three days of complaints from players, Riot Games has investigated and confirmed that there was an issue with the reported ping at MSI 2022.
MSI 2022’s biggest story so far hasn’t been the results or the matches, but the ping. After Riot Games committed to playing the tournament on an artificially recreated 35 ping, players have spent much of the opening days complaining that it actually feels far higher.
The players' suspicions were confirmed today, when in an announcement by Alex François, global head of competitive operations, Riot Games stated there was a discrepancy between the reported ping in-game, and the actual experienced ping.
In effect, in their efforts to create a level playing field for Royal Never Give Up (RNG), who are playing the tournament remotely from China, Riot Games has inadvertently damaged the competitive integrity of their entire event. As per the announcement, RNG will now replay their first three days of matches. These matches will take place after the conclusion of this stage’s initially scheduled games on May 14th and May 14th.
An issue of competitive integrity
In his statement, François explained that “the matches involving RNG were held with an unintended disparity in latency between competing teams. As a result, we have determined it is in the best interest of competitive integrity to replay all three of these matches.”
In effect, RNG, who are reportedly playing on a natural 35 ping due to their remote status, were playing on a lower latency than their opponents. Because of this disparity, RNG and the rest of their Group B opponents will have to replay their matches. This effectively wipes all results for and against RNG off the bracket.
We’ve spoken to players for the past three days, and in almost every case, the artificially induced latency was a topic of discussion. In some cases, players brought up the ping issue themselves, while in all they were willing to vocalize their thoughts. And the overriding feeling is that the ping has affected the tournament in an adverse way.
Players have detailed individual issues, such as not being able to execute certain plays or in-game actions. But there’s also other problems, such as teams being unable to draft certain champions. There are certain champions, for instance, that are just not competitively viable on high ping. Especially those that require high-levels of mechanical skill, and rapid sequences of inputs.
"But I know that it has affected my teammates, and we have adjusted our picks in order to consider the ping that’s happening. Because the other roles play more mechanically-intense roles. So we actually have forgone champions because of the ping."
As a result, it will feel incredibly unsatisfying that only Group B gets to replay their matches. And only some of them at that. Framed as an issue of competitive integrity, it’s confusing to state that “this issue specifically affected teams playing from Busan” and then only replay three matches.
No good options
The alternative, however, is to effectively restart the entire tournament. In RNG’s defence, they’re not exactly playing under good conditions themselves. They reportedly have not received their noise cancelling headphones, and in some cases they’re playing without game sound at all.
With the ping issue now seemingly fixed, Group B’s matches today have followed their expected outcomes. And RNG have picked up another win, even if they’re had their past three wins wiped off the board. In some salt in the wounds for all, RNG’s recent Tweet stated “We will play our matches to the best of our ability even through any unexpected events or unfair treatment, because that’s what we at RNG are all about.” Many will take this statement of “unfair treatment” as more fuel for the fire of criticism levied against the team.
Overall, it’s impossible to tell how much this latency debacle has affected the tournament. In a misguided attempt to create competitive parity, it seems like Riot Games has added an asterix to the result of this entire tournament.