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China’s LPL squad to compete remotely in League of Legends MSI 2022

Some members of Edward Gaming with their championship medals, tags: china's lpl squad remotely - CC BY-SA

China’s LPL squad will be unable to compete in person in the 2022 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) next month. COVID-related travel restrictions and precautions have prevented the LPL winner from traveling to Busan, South Korea. Consequently, they will take part in the tournament remotely from their home country.

MSI 2022 will take place on May 10 at the BEXCO exhibition hall in Busan. Representatives of each region from all over the world will contend in this first global LoL tournament of 2022. The head of global esports at Riot Games confirmed that the LPL team will play remotely either from their team facilities or the LPL’s Shanghai arena.

“After extensive diligence performed by our technology, events, and competitive operations teams, we are able to allow the qualifying LPL team to compete remotely from China,” said Naz Aletaha in an MSI 2022 Update release on April 21.

“The team will play from either their team training facility or from the LPL Arena in Shanghai, in accordance with local health and safety protocols.”

China’s LPL team to use a special tool

Both Top Esports (TES) and Royal Never Give Up (RNG) have represented the LPL at international League events since the pandemic began. They will face each other in the finals of the LPL Spring Split on Saturday, April 23 to determine who will represent the league at MSI. RNG won the MSI Reykjavík, Iceland last year. Along with SK Telecom T1, they are the only teams to have won the tournament twice.

Riot will be utilizing a special network latency tool to limit the ping between China and Korea to or near 35 milliseconds.

“To ensure the competitive integrity of the competition, all MSI teams will be able to practice and scrim at this ping, and we will deploy referee support and monitoring throughout the tournament in both Korea and China,” Aletaha said.

This is not the first time Riot uses a special tool during a match. When the League of Legends Mid Season Showdown 2020 took place, the tournament was conducted through the internet with a special network latency tool installed. A 35-ms ping between China and South Korea is manageable with this tool.

A representative of the LPL could, however, experience much higher latency when connecting remotely to a Korean server from Shanghai. For a game like LoL, where decisions must be made in split seconds, guaranteeing equal latency is critical to sustaining competitive integrity.

In a live session, mouse clicks and skill shots are almost instantaneous because the ping is usually 0 to 1 ms. A higher ping will result in longer delays for players. In solo-queue games, these delays will not be a big deal. In professional matches, however, even small mistakes can be detrimental.

MSI 2022 will be the third consecutive edition of the tournament to be affected by the pandemic. The event was canceled last season due to the lack of participation from Vietnam’s VCS.

Other than the LPL, three other leagues, namely the VCS, the CBLOL in Brazil, and the LCS in North America, have yet to choose a representative.