||05-26-2011 04:47 PM
CLG's Statement Regarding the Dreamhack Qualifier Changes
As some of you may have heard a situation has arisen regarding the seeding and brackets for the upcoming Season 1 qualifier matches where Riot has once again in what we believe an unfair decision derived from an attempt to find an easy way out of a potential problem in the tournament.
Because of ties between Team Solo Mid and Team EG, Riot believed there exists a possibility of one team knowingly and willingly giving the other an advantage in order to facilitate a win and easy advancement through the brackets. This prompted Riot to adjust the seeding and brackets in a manner we at CLG believe gives Team Solo Mid an unfair and unwarranted advantage, pushing all lower seeded teams to their side of the bracket while CLG has to compete against the higher seeded teams which have shown time and again to be stronger and more experienced.
This situation and this decision create yet another precedent of unfair judgment calls from Riot's part that directly skew the balance in someone's favor.
We believe that given the severity of the situation and what this qualifier entails and leads up to, that an alternate decision should have been reached that didn't affect the tournament has a whole and should have been dealt with within the two compromised parties instead of giving one said groups an unfair advantage by changing the dynamics of the tournament.
To us, this feels like a band-aid fix for a problem that if the tournament turns out as expected, will potentially happen again during the finals themselves at Dreamhack.
Suspicion is not cause enough for such a drastic and knee-jerked decision.
Ultimately all the responses from Riot have been along the lines of "I'm sorry you find it unfair but we're sticking to our decision". It's sad that the people managing the event believe their course of action was the appropriate one. Almost none of the players on ANY team support riots decision and obviously almost none of the community does either. I don't believe Riot will be able to disappoint me more than they have today, this is undoubtedly the lowest they've ever sunk. As expected Riot fell flat on their faces with their responses and reasoning.
All Riots posts can be found here.
This doesn't even encompass the fact that Dreamhack was not even supposed to have a qualifier in the first place. The rules and conditions for the tournament were entirely changed at the last minute. Dreamhack spots were to be decided entirely by circuit points.
Added by Riot: RiotMarcou's Response:
I'm going to go through a detailed explanation of the situation, the action steps that were taken, and the logic around the decision that was made (as well as the decisions that were found to be unsuitable).
This is going to be a long post in the interest of full disclosure. It will be written in sections as I find outstanding topics to address. Please forgive the delay in my response as I was traveling yesterday (Thursday) and just secured stable internet.
I will form this into its own thread once I have had adequate time to address all of the sections below.
On Tuesday May 10th, one week after the Season One Circuit had closed, the top 8 teams of the Circuit were confirmed and were each emailed an initial schedule for the qualifier as well as the seedings (with Epik Gaming as #7 & WHALE as #8). Teams were told to confirm their participation and each team followed through. From that time up until now the teams have been emailed regularly with updates and clarifications. A team captain's meeting was also conducted on May 19th, to provide a forum for players to ask any questions that they had.
(2) The Situation & Initial Action Steps
On the evening of Monday, May 23rd, Riot Games was alerted to an emerging issue by the NESL regarding the integrity of the NA qualifiers. They had uncovered a situation where statements made by players of Team Solomid & Team Epik Gaming in chat and on live stream indicated that the teams might have been colluding to fix the result of their initial match. These comments alarmed several teams in the qualifier and these teams began to raise concerns to the NESL staff. Again on that evening, I spoke directly with members from SoloMid and Epik Gaming to understand their side of the story.
On the morning of Tuesday, May 24th, a final meeting with the NESL was held to discuss options. It was decided that since tournament admins had knowledge of a potential act of unsportsmanlike conduct that players within the tournament were aware of that some action needed to be taken. Taking no action was determined as not acting in the best interests of the teams in the tournament and since both teams in question had already been interviewed on the topic, the likelihood of resolving this matter.
(3) The Decision
The decision that was arrived at was a balance of (1) taking action to reduce the possibility of a fix match during a critical round of the tournament and (2) not coming down too harshly on players/teams for an unsportsmanlike action that hadn't actually occurred yet and was difficult to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt.
We came to the decision to swap the #7 & #8 seed so that the tournament paths for the #2 and #8 would only meet at either the Upper Bracket Finals or 3rd place match, where both teams would have already been qualified for the Season One Championship, or during the 4th place match where at that point the teams would only be directly impacting each other and not the remainder of the bracket.
This decision was explained to all North American teams on the evening of Tuesday, May 24th via email. No concerns were raised that day, but additional dialogue between Riot Games and some members of CLG began on Wednesday night.
(4) What we didn't do and why we didn't do it
--Banning/Suspending individual players
It could not be determined beyond a reasonable doubt that clear fault resided with individuals and that removing them from the tournament would address the problem.
--Banning/Suspending full teams and finding replacement teams
Once again, there was reasonable doubt and it seemed overly harsh to punish an entire team for what could amount to be loose comments by a few players.
--Moving the #1/#2, #2/#3, #6/#7 seeds
Several problems here:
(a) moving these seeds around didn't provide the full solution identified in (3)
(b) Moving these seeds had implication in the first ban/first pick order of several matches and put teams in disadvantage situations that they didn't deserved (e.g. If CLG was a #2 seed, then they'd lose an advantage in the 1v2 match; If Epik was a #6 seed, then they'd potentially have an advantage in a lower round match)
(5) CLG's Statement
Riot Games appreciates and respects all top tiered playersí opinions on the competitive scene and decisions that are made. We frequently seek advice from these players on a myriad of topics via the Council & Town hall style meetings that are periodically conducted.
I fully intend to reach out to Hotshotgg personally as soon as we can connect to discuss further, but I'd like to directly address some of Hotshotgg's statements publicly, since I was not available to address them in private today due to my travel.
(a) "Riot has once again in what we believe an unfair decision derived from an attempt to find an easy way out of a potential problem in the tournament."
--I am not clear as to what 'once again' refers to
--I hope that based on the descriptions listed in (1), (2), (3), and (4), I have clearly indicated that this was neither an easy decision nor a kneejerk one
(b) "This prompted Riot to adjust the seeding and brackets in a manner we at CLG believe gives Team Solo Mid an unfair and unwarranted advantage, pushing all lower seeded teams to their side of the bracket."
--The seeds had been clearly determined using the Season One Circuit standing as of May 10th with no complaints or questions. Riot Games did not stack seeds based on any random or personal preference.
--Hotshot's statement implies a personal bias. He views the seeds of #3, #6, and #7 as "weaker" even though that those seed were determine in the same manner as all seeds and the #3 seed is clearly higher than the #4~#8 seeds (i.e. the #1, #2, #3, and #4 seeds are not in the same grouping)
--The statement is focused on the fairness towards the CLG & TSM teams. It does not comment on the fairness that is required for all teams nor does he speak to the unfairness that existed towards all teams if a match was thrown at all.
--Clearly every team will have a personal opinion on which teams they would like to face and avoid during a tournament. Seeding is not conducted via a popularity contest.
(c) "This situation and this decision create yet another precedent of unfair judgment calls from Riot's part that directly skew the balance in someone's favor."
--Again, I am not clear on what other decision this might refer.
--Note that this decision was not made with Team Solomidís interests in mind, but with the interest of maintaining integrity and fair play.
(d) "We believe that given the severity of the situation and what this qualifier entails and leads up to, that an alternate decision should have been reached that didn't affect the tournament has a whole and should have been dealt with within the two compromised parties instead of giving one said groups an unfair advantage by changing the dynamics of the tournament."
--All decisions by an admin team (see 3 & 4) would affect the tournament as a whole and alter dynamics. The only decision that arguably would not alter the dynamics of the tournament would be "to do nothing." Hotshot would you propose that Riot does nothing when informed of actions that would compromise a very important tournament? Riot Games took action immediately and was transparent with a decision instead of taking a stance where it may have been swept under a rug.
--Many alternative decisions were considered, none were found as suitable (see 4).
(e) "To us, this feels like a band-aid fix for a problem that if the tournament turns out as expected, will potentially happen again during the finals themselves at Dreamhack."
--Collusion and match fixing during a tournament is not easy to monitor or proactively address 100% of the time.
--If this situation were to arise at a larger tournament like the Season One Championship, then there are several other mitigating factors:
(i) The prizes for the qualifiers are fairly binary with the exception of RP. You either earn the prize of a trip to the Season One Championship or you don't. At the Season One Championship, there are layers are prizes that would dissuade similar risks from being considered in early rounds.
(ii) Additionally, the option to punish a team via an x% reduction in their prize purse becomes an option to deal with tournament offences rather than the extreme responses of do nothing/ban players or teams
Personal Note: In this paragraph, I am as respectfully as possible trying to show potential flaws in a statement and why I disagree with it. Hotshot has always been very well mannered in our private discussions and I'm sure if we had a chance to chat prior to this public post, that we could have addressed a lot of misunderstandings early.
(6) The Purpose of this Qualifier & Format
The purpose of this qualifier is to have teams compete head to head for the right to represent their respective regions at the Season One Championship instead of a more indirect system of inviting teams. The bo3 double elimination format is to reduce the fluke of an undeserving team advancing over another.
Regardless of a teamís seeding or perceived strength, if they lose two matches in an eight team regional field, then itís a fair indication that they werenít of a high enough caliber on that day to rightfully claim a spot in a worldwide championship,
As much as this is a difficult subject to tread, I am amazed at the depth of productive discussion and support for competitive League of Legends. I believe that a lot of the arguments made were done in good faith and with the best interest of the competitive scene.
I hope I have provided enough insight into this particular decision and why it will stand. The goal of Riot Games' eSports program is to continually raise awareness of the League of Legends competitive scene and make it clear, fair, and respectable so that it can continue to grow. I hope that my candor is evidence that we do take our competitive scene as seriously as any other feature that we provide to our community.