VCT: NA LCQ Matches Paused

Published: Oct 14, 2021

The North American VCT Last Chance Qualifier event has been plagued with issues from the very beginning. Riot has been struggling to keep things under control – from maintaining a steady internet connection to organizing travel arrangements for the teams, and most importantly, they had to deal with COVID-19 and all the protocols that go along with it.

While they did manage to get the event running, they failed to secure safe travel for the Oceanic teams, forcing them to forfeit the event entirely. And to make matters worse, some FaZe Clan and Rise players tested false positive, which caused Riot to abruptly pause the event until further notice.

Image Credits | Riot Games

Disasters Keep Piling On

The esports event was initially planned to be a LAN event, and it technically still is, but as soon as players started playing the first matches they realised they were actually playing them online.

This also indirectly made Riot’s decision to cut off Oceanic teams from participating rather pointless, as the teams could’ve simply played online like some other NA teams. The Oceanic region took the news pretty badly and hearing this will only make them feel even worse.

So the event is not exactly a real LAN event, but it doesn’t really matter, right? Well, as it turns out, a lot of players have reported having connection issues. In some cases, entire teams have had matches where they lagged or had some form of delay while the opposing team had none.

Riot clarified the situation and explained their reasoning for having the event being played online:

“Since we started planning NA LCQ earlier this year, our goal was to have a LAN event. Given strict COVID protocols for in-person events, we felt it was in the best interest of all to shift to a remote server, should any need to be quarantined. This would allow for teams to continue to compete and not bring in a sub or be forced to forfeit.”

In the end, this solution turned out to be more a problem than anything else. And in spite of all the setbacks, the event continued as planned, until now. Several FaZe and Rise players tested false positive and it escalated the tournament situation even further.

Image Credits | Riot Games

To Quarantine or not to Quarantine

The standard procedure for COVID-19 cases, especially in big esports tournaments, is to immediately quarantine the player in question.

But what do you do when the player tests false positive? Riot is facing the impossible choice of whether to quarantine the players who tested false positive, and deny them the live LAN experience, or simply let them play on stage. It’s a position nobody wants to find themselves in.

FaZe babybay was one of the players who got caught into this mess and he said the following:

“I’m fully Vaccinated. I tested negative multiple days in a row. I tested positive and then negative 10 minutes after. Can’t play on stage and have to quarantine? LA covid rules are different bro sheeeeeesh.”

Not only does this bring the accuracy of the tests into question, but also puts added pressure on Riot to justify all of that has happened so far. The only move they could’ve pulled at this point was to put the entire Valorant Champions Tour event on pause.

Image Credits | Riot Games

Riot Games announced the following:

“We have decided to postpone Thursday’s matches as we continue working to implement solutions that will allow LCQ to continue safely and without compromising competitive integrity.”

Will This Impact Future Valorant Events

Needless to say, this entire chain of events started an avalanche that might leave a lasting impact on Riot. The idea of VCT making a second appearance in 2022 was already questionable, but with all of this, the odds just dropped lower.

Still, we have to give them some credit here. They’ve done an incredible job so far, especially considering this was the first year of Valorant’s esports life. It’s natural that there would be some hiccups along the way.

On the other hand, they’re a massive company with enough resources to prevent issues like this from occurring. Hopefully they’ll learn something from this whole ordeal and make better preparations next time.

Denis Alihodzic

Since: March 1, 2021

Freelance writer with a passion for gaming and esports. Loves a good old-school RPG, and enjoys spending time with his dogs.

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