In addition to causing some problems, this artificial ping system, developed during this MSI 2022 following the inability of RNG to be able to travel to South Korea, arouses many reactions from the League of Legends community. Now it’s up to Montecristo to express his point of view during an interview with our colleagues on the Inven Global site.
For starters, what do you think of Riot’s decision to replay Royal Never Give Up games?
I think that’s the only solution to the problem and it’s a good move on Riot’s part. Because if there are technical problems caused by you as a tournament organizer that create an unfair playing environment, the only reasonable and fair solution is to replay those games. So I think it’s the right decision.
If you look at the whole situation, what course of action would you have taken?
My first decision would have been to not play RNG in this tournament and proceed without them. Because this is a LAN event and should be played on LAN in a fair competitive environment for all teams involved, without punishing the teams that are there, for a team that cannot be there.
The problem with Riot is that they just aren’t being honest in their decisions. And I understand why they want RNG to participate. Because without RNG participation they probably lose 80-90% of their audience to this event, it causes commercial problems in terms of sponsors. There are very good financial reasons why RNG needed to be able to participate in this event.
Now, we can argue that they shouldn’t design formats or systems where this is possible. Because then some regions have an excessive priority, which breaks the integrity of competition. The format is therefore defective for this reason. The structure of the world system is imperfect for this reason.
If you want RNG to participate, I think you need to make them play on the server ping, while everyone else is playing on the low ping. Make RNG connect to the server no matter what ping they have and the onsite teams play with the onsite ping (effectively zero). There is no reason for all these other teams to adapt the choices and strategies of the champions to play at a higher ping, especially when 90% of the tournament games will be played without RNG playing on the server.
I don’t understand the logic behind creating an artificial ping. It is no longer fair; it’s just fairer for RNG. It is bending everyone to a situation that unfortunately affects a team when it can deal with it.
What kind of format change do you suggest?
First of all, even if Chinese teams couldn’t compete in the World Cup, there would still be a decent event because it would be competitive. When you actually only have two competitive regions (China and Korea), only one team represents each of those regions, and one of those seeded regions cannot participate, the tournament suddenly becomes meaningless because there is no real competition.
You have to find a system that increases the number of truly competitive teams, which means allowing more Chinese and Korean suits; because if you had two Korean seeds at this event, you’d at least potentially have an attractive final between T1 and Gen.G, for example. There would be some excitement.
The problem is that the Chinese seeded gets all that power by not being present to bend or break the integrity of the competition at the event. In fact, they could just hijack the event if they wanted to. They don’t, but they can make all kinds of ridiculous requests. I think you can’t have competitive integrity if the tournament organizer doesn’t have enough power and the power imbalance is in favor of the LPL and LCK seeds. Regardless of the team, the top seeds hold those powers, and that’s a problem.
This is therefore an incredibly useless format problem. Not only from the point of view of the imbalance of power, but also from the point of view of competitiveness, as we are forced to watch all these terribly irregular matches during the first phase of the tournament. It is actually useless. No one I know in the industry, myself included, has seen all of these games. What I mean is that if all of your gaming experts refuse to watch every match at one of the only two major international events of the year, this is a serious problem. I can’t even find guests for my shows after this stage, because not everyone has seen the matches. I can’t find a person.
To be the devil’s advocate, would that make a big difference commercially? You would have more fun matches, but if all the Chinese teams were out, the spectator and sponsorship problems would still be there.
Maybe, but there’s also a huge Chinese fan base watching the LCK, so even if you had an all-Korean final, I think you’d still have a good audience in China. Obviously not so much. I can’t know because Riot doesn’t release those numbers and the Chinese viewer stats that are publicly available are incredibly dubious and likely faked. We know this from our exchanges with China. So I think it’s hard to say; I don’t have the information necessary to do this. There would certainly be a drop, but not as much as if RNG wasn’t at MSI.
Do you think the other teams had enough influence to prevent this from happening?
Sure. There are 10 other teams playing MSI locally. It’s very simple: these teams refuse to play in these conditions. It is not difficult. Just say, “We don’t. RNG can play ping, we won’t play artificial ping.” End of the story.
Do you have any other opinions on this topic?
I think Riot needs to study Worlds and MSI very carefully and adapt the formats. They clearly understand which formats are best when they watch VALORANT, so there’s no reason it shouldn’t change. It is embarrassing that the circuit works this way, and it is embarrassing to see the level of competitive integrity that has been sacrificed for this event.
And not only for this event, but also for the existence of the Asian Games, which this season have seriously compromised the competitive integrity of the LCK. And now they’ve been canceled, so it was all in vain in the end. You shouldn’t prioritize tournaments that aren’t part of your official tour over tournaments that are. It’s incredibly dishonest, and Riot has to decide if it’s a marketing tool or a sport. Because right now it’s not a sport, it’s a marketing tool and I would like them to take steps in terms of format and competitive integrity to change that.
Why do you think they have been so stubborn in not changing anything in terms of formats?
I have not the faintest idea. I don’t know if they have any data that says having these smaller regions helps their audience or builds engagement in their game. As far as I know, they have data that says that during MSI, when ORDER is played, sales in Australia go up. Maybe it exists. Maybe there is a financial incentive they understand that I don’t know about. However, I don’t care how many skins they sell in Vietnam or Australia. What interests me is watching a good League of Legends. And this is not the case here.
Source Inven Global