Amid ongoing pandemic challenges, the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) representative for the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) 2022 will be unable to travel to the event and instead compete remotely from China, Riot Games Global Head of LoL Esports Naz Aletaha announced Thursday.
With MSI 2022 set to be hosted in Busan, South Korea, Aletaha noted that the infrastructure to support remote play and the "manageable" ping from China will enable the LPL team to compete from their training facility or from the LPL Arena in Shanghai for the event.
"For the last two years," Aletaha's statement reads, "the global COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the live events landscape in unprecedented ways. Throughout, our goal has been to produce safe, fair events with as little disruption as possible to the overall fan and pro player experience. Today, the hurdles presented by pandemic-related travel restrictions and constraints are still very real and dynamic with impacts felt across our ecosystem.
"Currently, the LPL (our Chinese regional league) is facing ongoing pandemic challenges, and as a result, the league’s MSI representative will be unable to travel to Busan, Korea. However, 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."
According to Aletaha, many factors were considered before implementing this decision including safety and location, as well as competitive integrity.
In order to keep the competition fair, Aletaha added that Riot will be using a network latency tool to maintain a ping as close to 35ms as possible for all teams throughout the competition. All MSI teams will be allowed to practice and scrim at this ping, and Riot will deploy referee support and monitoring throughout the tournament in both Korea and China.
The tool was also said to have already been used to maintain ping between China and Korea for the LPL vs. League of Legends Champions Korea
(LCK) Showdown during the 2020 Mid-Season Cup.
"These past two years have been turbulent," Aletaha said, "but the passion we share for League has been constant. To our fans, teams, pros and partners, thank you for staying nimble with us and for your support as we’ve navigated these unchartered waters."
At the time of publication, Royal Never Give Up and Top Esports are set to battle for the LPL's MSI 2022 spot in the LPL 2022 Spring Playoffs Finals on Saturday, April 23, at 5:30 a.m. ET.