Update 2: Riot's investigations into potential cheating continue. Today, Riot RedBeard issued the following statement:
"Also, while I’m here – I wanted to clarify the original post. We’re investigating all instances of reported minimap looking, and reviewing all available footage. This includes the level 1 ping in the Frost/TSM game many of you have pointed out. We’ll have a ruling based on the results of that investigation."
Update: Riot has written a response to the technical issues that resulted in most Day 3 games being postponed, as well as the accusationss that certain teams cheated: here.
Riot's VP of eSports says they are currently reviewing two specific games where mini-map viewing could have potentially affected gameplay. These games include the TSM/Azubu first match, the game which was paused and remade due to a communication issue for Azubu and because both Reginald and Chaox "had concerns about screen looking," and one of the final World Elite vs. CLG.EU games that was ultimately canceled, where a World Elite player turned his head towards the screen after the crowd went wild due to CLG.EU killing a ward (had to be there).
It appears that Riot has concluded, at least in the instance of the TSM/Azubu game, that screen looking only potentially occurred during the game that was reset. At the time, Riot claims they issued "blanket warnings" to both teams and since no further instance were witnessed, the issue seems to have been closed. The WE/CLG.eu game, however, is still under investigation.
Riot RedBeard made the following statement in regards to the entire "screen looking" situation:
"In hindsight, the potential visibility of minimap screens for players was a mistake. Despite on-site referees, close monitoring of player cams backstage, and stage design that ensured players would have to turn more than 90 degrees to be able to catch a glimpse of the minimaps, even the possibility of unfair play was simply unacceptable. We’re taking steps to ensure the minimap screens are not visible to players.
We are re-examining photos, videos and renders of the stage layout to definitively understand sight lines between the players on-stage and the minimaps overhead. We’re taking it a step further moving forward to completely ensure the screens aren’t visible to players.
Forward-facing camera angles can be misleading and we want to make sure everyone has the full picture before drawing any conclusions. This is something that we believe requires a comprehensive investigation but we absolutely understand why it’s cause for alarm."
Evidence of cheating during the League of Legends World Championship has begun to appear online. A player from TSM, Reginald, "clarified" comments he made earlier in which he accused opponent Azubu Frost of checking screens above the booths mid-game. The greater online community has since begun searching through recordings of studio footage to discover that many teams appear to have looked at the mini-maps shown above the booths. How dramatic the results of said actions were in-game is unclear, but the mounting evidence is difficult to ignore.
"To us, it felt like cheating, and to us it felt like the world has ended," is how Reginald characterized his team's feelings over the matter. Despite that, he requests that fans accept the results and the tournament go forward:
"I just don't think people should make a really big deal out of this, because most of the events have been like this, where the screens have been behind the players so there has always been a chance of cheating. Just not the mini-maps."
The greater League of Legends community's reaction to Reginald's comments has not been quiet acceptance, rather, the community has begun searching recordings of footage for evidence of Reginald's claims. Perhaps the clearest example of cheating was found by Reddit user BenevolentSun, who posted two screen captures: the first showing what appears to be an Azubu Frost player looking a the above-booth mini-map; the second showing an in-game "ping" on the exact location of TSM in an area where Azubu would otherwise have had no vision.
Unfortunately, further evidence has shown up showing players looking at the mini-map in other games, as well. There are pictures of a World Elite player looking at the mini-map during the middle of their match against CLG. There's even footage of Dyrus, a TSM player, looking at the map during a pause in gameplay against Azubu Frost. It's fair to wonder if a single game during the World Championship went by without a player using the above-booth mini-maps for an advantage.
Riot does have access to recording of all games, including the communications between teams using their microphones. In fact, a Riot employee, eSports coordinator RiotTiza, responded on the official League of Legends forums in regards to the WE vs. CLG.EU game:
"As the lead referee for this event, let me respond.
We keep a constant watch on all the players on stage at all times. We have cameras as well as live people walking onto stage to keep tabs in everything. All players are told that they need to remain sitting, facing forward, and with headphones on at all times, including during pauses. I can personally confirm that no WE player looked at the minimap at any point during the match.
Players make eye contact on stage fairly regularly. Team WE in particular talked directly to each other a good amount. A single, limited camera view with a field of a few feet is not enough to determine where a someone is looking on a cross-stage scale. We directly monitor players to assure this is not the case, and maintained due diligence at all times over the course of the event.
Say what you like about WE's gameplay, but they did not jeopardize their chances of staying in the tournament by looking at the minimap (EDIT for clarity- because they didn't look at the minimap. If they had looked at the minimap, it would have jeopardized their standing in the tournament. I am not, in any way, condoning any player who gains an unfair advantage from any means)."
Obviously, it's near impossible to determine how much of an impact (if at all) looking at these above-booth screens had directly on gameplay, or whether each game's outcome was otherwise affected.
Due to technical issues at the venue, the World Championship's semi-finals have been delayed into the coming week -- at a different venue. As such, the circumstances that led to these accusations of cheating are unlikely to occur again. Whether Riot will review the footage and audio or potentially replay certain games is unclear at this point. Even disqualification could be considered at this point.
Reginald, after Team Solomid's 0-2 loss to team Azubu Frost, announced he was retiring from competitive League of Legends.