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ESL releases statement about APAC Playoffs ping issues, promises improvement

The tournament organizer took responsibility for the situation.

Disclaimer: SiegeGG is owned by Gfinity, a tournament organizer with a digital media arm that competes with ESL

ESL released a statement May 16 concerning the latency issues that had marred much of the APAC Playoffs in the lead-up to the Six Charlotte Major. Three Korean teams, DWG KIA, SANDBOX Gaming, and Talon Esports had been affected, alongside the eventually Charlotte-bound Chiefs ESC.

According to Chiefs ESC coach Todd, latency issues had surfaced during the team's APAC South game against Elevate but had been mitigated to a "normal level" by ESL-provided VPNs. However, the issue resurfaced again in the warmup prior to Chiefs' game against Talon in the playoffs.

In the statement, this situation was considered "severe, and negatively impacting on the competitive integrity" by the tournament operations team. ESL then attempted to implement a fix at the Internet Service Provider level, but there was no appreciable effect.

According to Todd, the Oceanic players were barred from using "personal VPNs" that "could reduce the ping". In lieu of that, ESL-provided VPNs were used in the following week, after Chiefs' 0-2 loss to Talon. These VPNs worked to "balance latencies" between teams so that one would not be at more of a disadvantage than the other.

However, according to information obtained by SiegeGG, SANDBOX Gaming were only informed of the requirement to use said VPN just four hours before their match against Chiefs. DWG KIA similarly only had approximately 28 hours of warning.

ESL admitted a communication issue, stating: "communication between our tournament operations team working on the problem, and the teams who were affected by the new VPN solution, was sub-par, and some teams were not given adequate notice". ESL also promised new communication processes going forward.

The ESL statement also tackled perceived favoritism towards Chiefs with regards to forfeit rulings. During Stage 1, Invictus Gaming had been disqualified in their match against Dire Wolves after a national ISP issue led to delays in a player joining the server, beyond the permitted 15-minute window. 

Similarly, Chiefs had faced an issue with connection for Raine "Dgtl" Wright, but were given additional time to fix their issues due to the fact that Chiefs had their coach, Todd, ready to stand in and "followed protocol to have a valid sub ready".

Finally, ESL also apologized for poor direction of instructions that aimed to "protect private VPN IP addresses from being shared on Twitter", but also incorrectly targeted player tweets that "did not contain sensitive information".

As a result, ESL pledged to provide "more frequent updates and information, starting from next stage".