/RIOT SUSPENDS LCK INDEFINITELY DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
According to multiple journalists covering the league, Riot Games has suspended the LCK indefinitely as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. The league is often viewed as the best in the world, and will shut down after the first round of games on March 6. In addition to the competition, “Sunday Night LCK,” the league’s weekly talk show, will also be suspended.
From the big dogs: Riot Korea also commented on the subject, “Due to the on-growing Corona19 epidemic, in order to ensure the safety of the members of the league, we have decided to have the LCK and Challengers Korea go on an indefinite hiatus. Currently, we do not have a set return date, and will keep a close eye on the epidemic to choose the appropriate date of return.”
Things continue to escalate: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a level three travel health notice for South Korea, which means travel should be avoided unless deemed essential. This region alone has more than 4,800 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, with 28 deaths attributed to the virus. Additional countries that have received a level three warning includes China, Iran, and Italy.
How this affects future competitions: The LCK joins myriad other events that have been postponed or outright canceled due to the outbreak. China’s LPL recently announced an online-only league after weeks of delays, so it may only be a matter of time before the LCK follows a similar route. However, this does mean that the regions will be greatly hindered when it comes to preparing for the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), which is also in an unknown state.
/WALMART TEAMS WITH ESPORTS ARENA TO HOST EVENTS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA
The massive supermarket chain Walmart is bringing esports to a wide range of players by teaming up with the first dedicated esports facility in North America, Esports Arena. To accomplish this, they’ll be opening official esports facilities in more than 10 locations across the States. You can check here to see if you’re close to one of the locations.
What this entails: Esports Arena is launching a first-of-its-kind, semi-professional league that will offer compensation to 40 competitors. The league is called “Series E” and will begin in Mary 2020. Qualifiers commence February 6 through March 27 in select locations, whereas player draft day is April 18, which marks the beginning of weekly league play. These events will be streamed on both Twitch and Mixer.
The events that will take place: Each day of the week features a different game that competitors will play. The current lineup is for Monday through Friday and includes:
Hopefully this is just the start of a massive partnership. There’s a Walmart nearly everywhere, so we’d love to see this become available in every city.
/SUPER SMASH BROS GETS $250,000 TOURNAMENT CIRCUIT
|The Smash World Tour has been announced this last weekend and will create a year-long series of tournaments throughout the world for both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. After more than 15 years of competition, we now have a much-needed global tournament circuit.|
Specifics about the circuit: Players will be ranked based on how well they perform at specific tournaments. The final tournament will take place with the top 31 players that qualify and they’ll be competing for a $250,000 prize pool. Prior to the finals, a Last Chance Qualifier open tournament will take place to round out the bracket to 32 competitors.
Nintendo nowhere to be seen: The structure of this circuit is similar to most major fighting games. However, the major difference here is that the game developer (Nintendo) is not partnering with the tournament. According to the circuit’s official website, “As of now, The Smash World Tour is not associated or affiliated with Nintendo or Nintendo of America – though we hope to team up with them in the future! One of our goals with the Tour is to offer a unified way for Nintendo to directly support the competitive scene.” This is a rather disappointing announcement, though it comes as no surprise that Nintendo continues to ignore the esports world. Twitch and tournament organization platform Smash.gg are currently listed as Smash World Tour’s official partners.
Who knows, maybe they’ll change their tune after they see the turnout created by this circuit.
IEM Katowice loses arena audience due to Coronavirus threat (Dexerto) — Amid coronavirus concerns, the local Polish government announced Thursday that there would be no live audience for IEM Katowice, one of the world’s largest CS:GO events. This news comes on the heels of various cancellations and postponements of other esports events, and suggests a material risk to in-person esports for the remainder of 2020. Shares of MTG, the parent company of ESL (IEM Katowice’s event organizer), traded off 10% Friday. MTG generated $181 million in esports revenues for 2019.
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/LPL INCREASES BROADCAST SCHEDULE TO MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME
Word is out now that the League of Legends Pro League (LPL), the official Chinese competition, will be drastically increasing its number of daily games played. According to a Chinese journalist on Twitter, they will now be holding three best-of-three’s (Bo3) per day, every day of the week. This change takes effect the day the LPL resumes, which is Monday, March 9.
Why the change: The main reason for this change is to make up for the significant amount of time lost due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The LPL originally began in January, but due to the epidemic taking place throughout China, the Spring Split was postponed indefinitely. Thanks to efforts by the government to help get esports back on track, matches will now be held online.
How things will proceed: Games will continue as of March 9, however English broadcasts of the LPL will not take place until March 15. Teams will be expected to occasionally play three series per week, which will make for a somewhat rigorous schedule. Assuming no further delays occur, the Spring Split will end as of April 9. Each team will also have its own on-site referee to assist in case of technical problems.
Circuit point adjustments: Additional changes may be taking place to the circuit point system for the LPL playoffs. This was revealed by a journalist close to the LPL (see above) indicating that the system could see a massive overhaul, which will be revealed just ahead of the Spring Split Playoffs. This will drastically impact which teams qualify from China to the 2020 League of Legends World Championship.
/RIOT GAMES TO IMPROVE GAME CLIENT
No game is without its issues, and League of Legends is no different. Riot Games is more than aware of the game client’s shortcomings, and recently made the announcement that they would be starting a six-month campaign to improve the client experience. This initiative has been named the “Client Cleanup Campaign.”
What the campaign is focusing on: There are two main tasks that Riot will be focusing on, namely booting up and locking in a selected champion. The developers want the client to take no more than 15 seconds to boot up and become usable. However, many players experience delays of up to a minute before access to all functionality is established. As for locking in problems, there is something of a delay experienced between clicking the “Lock In” button and an actual lock-in occurring. The typical wait is around 300 milliseconds (with some extraneous waits of up to 800 milliseconds), which Riot thinks is too high.
More to say on the subject: Not only will developers be focusing on these two issues, but they’ll also be working to address the myriad additional bugs and problems many players constantly face when trying to play League of Legends. The developers explained further, “The reason is that, in the process of addressing bootstrap time and champ select lock-in time, we’re going to be cleaning up and reworking certain fundamental aspects of the client’s architecture. We believe that we’ll be able to opportunistically address bugs, memory leaks, and crashes while pursuing these targets.”
It may take longer than six months to address some of these issues. But at least we can rest easy knowing that Riot Games is on a bug-attack strategy.
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