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Posts Tagged ‘LoL’

 

Group A Worlds Banner

 

 Welcome to a co-op series where Tim and I will cover all four World groups and what new picks we can expect in each one. We aim to get the series wrapped up before Worlds so we can focus on coverage of the matches. Enjoy the read!

 

 

Edward Gaming Banner

 

 Ban Yasuo. Those words held true in every game of the LPL Regional Qualifiers and Summer playoffs that featured EDG as teams took the swordsman completely out of the picture. With 5 different picks in the mid lane across 12 games, U has shown he can definitely play around his team’s apparent dislike of the wanderer.

 Of these picks, Kayle came out for three of EDG’s matches. While Kayle remains strong despite her most-recent nerfs, she has definitely fallen out of flavor.  Her most recent revival usually comes paired with a Zilean, creating an incredibly frustrating team comp centered around an undying carry. U has shown that he will play her with or without the Chronokeeper.

 Kayle’s strengths come in droves. Amazing waveclear, great up-front damage, massive utility in the form of a heal and movespeed boost, and an ultimate that can make or break teamfights. There’s less countering Kayle and more just dealing with her, something that becomes incredibly tricky once a match gets to late-game.

 When Kayle and Zilean get together, it’s like divine Intervention. Allowing unlimited dive opportunities, Kayle and the rest of her team can wreak havoc in the front line safely under the protection of Chrono Shift and Intervention. The pair also prevents a champion from just being dived on and exploded, and can force their opponents to think hard about who they want to focus and when they want to fight.

 There are a Zilean possibilities, will the opposition be prepared?

 

 

Westdoor Banner

 

 AHQ’s Westdoor is known for his constant aggression. Expect all eyes to be on the mid lane as he looks to get his team out ahead early. Kassadin and Twisted Fate were almost permanently banned against Westdoor in the GPL and it shouldn’t be much different on the world stage. AHQ depends heavily on their mid laner, and acquiring a comfort pick for Westdoor is a must for them. Keeping Fizz in the back pocket is surely on the agenda, especially looking at his dominating performance on the trickster in the past.

 Fizz brings deadly assassin strength to a team, being able to dash in with Urchin Strike and deal massive burst damage, only to disappear unscathed with a cleverly placed Playful/Trickster. Chum the Waters offers great disruption and zoning potential in a teamfight, forcing players to retreat or fight around its AOE knockup. It’s also a death sentence for anyone caught out of position, which can help AHQ create picks and secure objectives.

 Not to say the Trickster is without flaws. Limited siege ability can set Fizz’s team behind if they’re unable to start a fight. Also an issue is getting to the backline to hunt for carries. If the enemy team sees Fizz, they can center their comp around peeling for their carry and easily counter his strengths. Lastly, Fizz is a risky laner; if he’s facing a poor lane match-up, he can easily fall behind – worst-case scenario for a champion who must be ahead to have a real impact on the game.

 AHQ enters the World Championship as underdogs, and other teams will definitely have heard of Westdoor. With a reputation for clutch plays and snowballing games, letting Westdoor get any of these champions is definitely a mistake. Therein lies the largest issue: lack of diversity. While he has shown he can fall back onto popular champions like Yasuo, Westdoor’s greatest strengths come from familiarity. Teams will either look to ban him out, or prepare strategies specifically tailored to his champion pool.

 Will AHQ adapt, or will they FIZZle out?

 

 

Dandy Rammus Banner

 

 Though he dominates solo queue, Rammus is a rare sight on the competitive scene; OGN Masters saw him once in a favorable match-up against Xin Zhao and Wickd rolled his way to victory at the end of summer LCS in a zer0-stake match against Millenium, but that’s all the pro action League’s armordillo saw this year. Despite odds, it seems DanDy has been racking some Rammus games in Solo Queue and with great success. Can we expect to see a tanky jungler sneak his way past Lee Sin? Certainly, he is blind.

 The meta across regions right now favors stall comps that rely on picks to get objectives and push for map control. Rammus fits the bill with his Sonic Ball and a 2-second taunt. He’s great at locking down and soloing the currently popular hypercarries or peeling bruisers from his carries. Being the best tower-diver in the game, Rammus can capitalize on a pushed lane better than almost any other jungler. His slow clear speed means he loses significant gank pressure in the early game, but that can be off-set by just going for safer laners and stalling until Rammus can become that beast of a frontliner and initiator.

  In the hands of DanDy, Rammus is a snowball machine. DanDy is the one who sets the pace for White’s matches by constantly being in the mind of the enemy jungler and predicting his moves. A Rammus counter-gank is deadly, as it can come from very far away and with guaranteed hard CC. We already know how strong DanDy is at smite-stealing objectives – put that mechanical skill on a rolling ball and you’ve got dragon control covered against all but the top-seed teams. Best part? No one plays or bans Rammus, meaning DanDy always has a surprise pick for when his team faces serious challenge (at the finals).

 Ultimately, a pocket pick doesn’t matter much for White at this point, as they can likely blindfold themselves, go all mid and still stomp their group.

 

 

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No data on DP’s Solo Queue training and their Wildcard matches suggest they’d like to go standard at Worlds. If they are bringing new picks against the top teams, they’ve yet to grant viewers passage to their strategy.

aaswT

See? Phreak liked it. Reluctantly.

 

 

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

 

Categories: Esports Tags: , , , ,

 

PBE Update August 20 Banner

 

PBE 20/08 Contents:

 

Reminder: The PBE is a testing ground for changes. What you see here may not reflect what you see in Patch Notes. Remember that developers want your feedback so if you disagree with a change, you can always submit your thoughts on the PBE Community Forums.

 

Want to keep up with news on the Public Beta Environment?

Here’s a list of the updates for Patch 4.15:

 

PBE Content for Patch 4 15

 

 

Headhunter Caitlyn Updated Traps

 

Headhunter Caitlyn’s Yordle Snap Traps have been updated to match the theme of the skin.

Caitlyn W 1

Caitlyn W 2

 

 

Champion Changes

 

Sivir New Portrait

 

Boomerang Blade New IconBoomerang Blade [ Q ]

  •  Range increased from 1175 to 1250

 

 

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me at @NoL_Chefo or e-mail me at nolchefo@gmail.com.

 

Coming from Korea’s OGN league and jumping straight into competitive play in North America,  I had a chance to sit down with Lustboy after defeating Evil Geniuses in his LCS debut with Team SoloMid.

lUSTBOY

 

Lustboy, how was your trip from Korea?

Lustboy:  It was good. On the plane I thought about the game and about bot lane in general.

 

What is your favorite thing that’s happened so far while in the US?

Lustboy:  Wildturtle jumping forward into the enemy team!

 

How are you getting along with the team so far? Who do you think you are most alike?

Lustboy:  We are all getting along well. I think me and Amazing have the most in common.

 

Playing with Wildturtle, what is the biggest thing that stands out to you in his play?

Lustboy:  I like playing with Turtle because he has great mechanics and can out play the enemy adc reliably.

 

Do you think WildTurtle is the best AD Carry in NA?

Lustboy:  Yes.

 

How strong are you as a bot lane right now compared to how strong you could be?

Lustboy:  We are very strong right now and we have a lot of room to continue growing and be even stronger.

 

How was your first LCS match? Was there a lot of pressure to perform? How do you feel about your performance?

Lustboy:  It was good. We mostly played defensively because we knew we were playing for top lane. I felt like Krepo did not play as aggressively as he should have. There was no stress, but a lot of pressure coming into a team where you have high expectations to perform, especially when people already expect you to perform. I gave my best and feel like I did well, but I performed at about 30% of my potential.

 

Who do you want to face the most? Why?

Lustboy:  I like playing against CLG because they have a very strong bot lane.

 

Do you feel you are the best bot lane in NA?

Lustboy:  Yes.

 

TSM now has 3 players that came from another region. What are your thoughts on regions importing talent?

Lustboy:  I believe that except for EU, only top players are traded to other regions. I believe it is good for top talent to be able to move freely. That said, I think when an entire team transfers from one region to another, it makes cheering for them a little less genuine. Not to take away from any teams, all of them are just as hard working as the next and deserve to play and compete where they wish. I just don’t want it to become an issue of oversaturation of foreign talent to the point where a single region takes over the entire international scene.

 

Anything else you would like to say?

Lustboy:  When I first arrived I was anxious and felt a lot of pressure. Once I saw how motivated the rest of the team was I started to feel more relaxed, and after the most recent games I feel like the weight has been lifted.  I am ready to prove that I am a top player and will only get better.

 


 

About the author: Tim Kimbirk is an eSports Journalist and writer with Solomid. Stay up to date on the latest interviews and features by following on twitter: @CaymusNoL

 

Introduce yourself!

 Hello I am Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski, I am Polish and I play Jungle for Team ROCCAT in the European LCS.

 

You finished 3rd in the playoffs, but you’ve had a rough season so far? What’s going on?

 We are underperforming because we did not really adapt to the new meta, but we are playing a lot right now which hopefully will lead with us catching up and managing to fight for the top spots

 

What do you think are the biggest issues in the team? What influences your play the most?

 Our individual decision making is currently not on par with the other teams. Our team fights are lacking the microgame, so we are trying to improve it.

 

Do you think the team can recover? Is going to worlds still in your crosshairs?

 We are doing our best to recover, I think we are on the way on getting back competing for the best slots, and I definitely think that we will be fighting for a worlds spot at the playoffs!

 

How does the team operate in game? Who is responsible for primary shotcalling? What is your mindset like entering a game?

 I think main shotcallers are me and Overpow, but everyone has its calls and ideas in game. We do not limit ourselves to one or two persons, we all have our tasks during the game.

And about the mindset – #ROCCATFIGHTING

 

How do you deal with criticism on social media/from fans? Is it hard or demotivating, or do you take it and use it positively?

 Lately people are actually trying to help us rather than criticize and bash on us. Which i think its quite helpful for us. People are trying to cheer us up on our social media rather than flaming us for losing. And usually those things dont really affect me in a bad way.

 

The tables seemed to have shifted quite a bit. How big of a skill difference do you believe there is between the top half of teams and the bottom half?

 I think SK and Alliance are ahead of the rest right now, but most of the teams right now are able to catch up with them with the time if they continue adapting the way they are right now. I think we are one of those teams that can catch up to them.

 

How strong is Alliance? Do you think they are still only warming up? What’s it like playing against Shook, who shares a similar champion pool to you?

 

Alliance is currently the best team in Europe. Most of their players solo skills are the best in the region and not only that but right now they are even good with their team play and rotations. I don’t see anyone beating them for now in EU. Shook is the best jungle in European LCS and I really like to play against him because i learn new stuff, and it is always a challenge.

 

You seem to be relying on old favorites in the jungle. Is this personal or team preference?

 I think everyone right now is relying on the old champions like Elise, Lee and Eve. They are just the best options right now for the jungle, and those are anyways my personal favorites.

 

What do you feel are the most viable junglers right now in competitive play, and do you think we will be seeing anything new?

 If the 3 OP’s are not available, we might see Rengar, Jarvan, Vi, Skarner – but you need to build a team around them specifically for them to be as useful in game.

 

Shoutouts?

 I want to thank all the people that support us even when we are losing – that means a lot to us! Also i would like to thank ROCCAT and AMD for the continued trust and support, without them we wouldn’t be able to be where we are. Also a big thanks to my girlfriend for supporting me and being there for me!

Makler

 

 

Introduce yourself for those who may not know you.

Hi! I’m Makler, AD Carry of “Lublin Shore”. You might also know me as former player of mouz and MYM.

 

You’ve been around for quite a while. Do you think you are on the strongest team you’ve played on so far?

Since the begining of LoL I’ve played with almost the same people. For 3 years it was Me, my brother Mokatte, Czaru, Kubon and of course the big guy Libik, my support! I would say we are strongest at this moment, we have one of the best junglers in Poland which is Kikis from Departed, and TakeFun in midlane who replaced Czaru very well.

 

Going back to the promotion tournament, what exactly happened? Do you think it was possible for you to win, or were you simply weaker overall than SHC? Do you think if you played those matches now, you could win?

 To be honest we were really excited to play vs SHC for LCS because at that time we considered SHC as a mid-tier team. We were pretty confident and I think that lost us the series. We were suprised by how well they were playing at that day. SHC has a little bit different roster right now, Selfie instead of Moopz, Wewillfailer instead Migxa. I think those changes are good for SHC but I still feel our team is stronger. I would say 3-1 for us in a bo5.

 

What is the biggest obstacle in being relegated or attempting to promote into the LCS?

Financial pressure I believe. When you are in LCS you have some presure on you, many people watching your every move. but after all you are still getting money even when you lose. When you play in the Challenger Series, you’re only getting money from tournament wins.

 

What keeps you motivated to keep playing? What is your routine like?

I just love competition. Playing competetively is motivation for me. I just love being better at something than others. Every day looks the same, eat, workout at the gym or go running, play play play, sleep. Day after day.

 

How do you think your botlane stacks up compared to other EU teams right now?

We can perform well against any other bottom lane that we have a chance to play.
What are your thoughts on how sustainable it is to be in the Challenger scene for extended periods of time?

I’ve been part of both LCS and Challenger teams and I can say that they are totally different worlds. Being a Challenger team is hard, and Coke Zero format is bad. You play too few matches to attract sponsors and there’s too much randomness on the way to the top 8.

 

What do you think of the skill level of EU overall? Do you feel it is stagnant at the moment? What issues do you think are the most prevalent in trying to go pro?

I think the skill level in EU is ok, we have many really good teams but none of them really stand out from another. I think financial problems are the most critical in going pro. You have to spend ALOT of time playing and there is no guarantee to make a super high cash reward, and you need to live from something.
Who do you think are the strongest teams in the EU challenger series right now?

Beside us NIP and C9 seem to be best ones. I think they will cause the most trouble to LCS teams in relegation.
Thoughts on Alex Ich moving to NiP? Do you think NiP will qualify for the spring split?

Alex is really solid player, but I’m not sure if he can adapt to the top lane playstyle, time will tell. I’m pretty sure it will be hard for him to replace Zerozero. Hard to predict, last promotion I was sure they would make it so I won’t try to predict their matches anymore :p

 

After facing Gamers2 at the Solomid invitationals, how strong do you feel they are? Is Ocelote still as good as he was, if not, how far do you think he has fallen in terms of skill? Do you feel they have a chance to qualify to LCS?

They are ok, Ocelote is good, but right now is not up to par with other mid laners.

Everyone has a chance to qualify to LCS but I would say C9 and NIP are slighty ahead of them.

 

Will you continue playing if you do not qualify for the next LCS split? What will you do after pro gaming? Do you intend to stay in eSports?

We’ll find out in time. If I can make a living playing then I won’t give up easily, but if I can’t then it will be hard.

It’s hard to tell what i will do after pro gaming, but i don’t see myself in any other role in esports aside from player. I will just fade away probably, and see what opportunities I get from life.

 

Shoutouts?

Thank you to all of my fans and my team!

eula vs tos

(Disclaimer: While I am a law student, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.)

 

When in-game behavior carries consequences in the “real world,” many people start to wonder what limits, if any, companies like Riot have when policing user accounts. Ultimately this boils down to those pesky “Terms of Use/Service” (TOU/TOS) and “End-User License Agreement” (EULA) windows we have to click through every time a new patch is released.  

I see these terms being thrown around in-game and on the forums, and despite my efforts to correct player’s misconceptions on what the TOS and EULA actually do, the misinformation is rampant.  Hopefully this will help clear up some of the confusion!  The article centers on a question relevant to all League of Legends players:

 

What exactly are you agreeing to when you play League of Legends?

 

In this article I will quickly explain how the EULA and TOS are legally enforceable contracts, what the differences between the two are, and finally how they apply to the average player. I cannot stress enough that while I am doing a legal analysis, I cut through a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo and make conclusive statements for the purposes of entertainment. If you need legal advice, please speak with an attorney. 

I. Clickwrap Agreements
Just about every time you install a program, download a patch, or purchase from a website, you have to pass through a threshold of “agreements.” 

accept-button

Many of these agreements are called “shrinkwrap,” “clickwrap,” or “adhesive” agreements - where you don’t see/understand what you’ve agreed to until after you’ve already agreed to it. For example, many online games only allow you to see the TOS after you’ve bought the game, but before you can play it online.  A better example is a website, where you’ve already “agreed” to their TOS just by being on their site. 

Clickwrap agreements tend to have certain characteristics:

    • Clickwrap contracts are usually offered on a “take it or leave it” basis. In many contractual agreements, parties can negotiate over the terms of the contract, but in clickwrap contracts, the user has no bargaining power –they can either agree to all the terms or none.
    • As discussed above, click wrap agreements often apply post-transaction. For example, some companies (such as AutoDesk) typically don’t allow people to resell their software – but a customer might not know that until after they’ve purchased AutoCAD, and are going through the installation.

If your knee-jerk reaction is similar to what mine was, you might be thinking, “is that really a legal contract?”  Because let’s be honest, if you’re like most people, you simply don’t have the time to read every agreement you accept online.  Even if you read most, there will often be terms that won’t make sense until you start using the service/software (e.g., how many people could understand what “riot points” are prior to installing League of Legends?)   This part of why EULA/TOS are often considered to be adhesive contracts – most of us have no idea what it is we’re agreeing to.

So are these even legal?  The short answer is: Usually. There are, however, some limited exceptions:

    • Explicit Agreement: The rule of thumb is that a user must explicitly agree to an agreement before it becomes enforceable. If you don’t make an explicit act showing you are both aware of the terms and you agree to them, they are unlikely to be enforceable as a contract. While this isn’t exactly a problem for Riot (you have to click “I Agree” every time a new patch comes out), it is a notable exception to many software agreements.
    • Outrageous Terms. If there’s something absolutely ridiculous and unexpected hidden in the fine print (for example, the “immortal souls clause” that granted a British game company 7500 “soul-licenses”), that term or the whole agreement may be rendered invalid.
    • Application to minors.  In most situations, if you’re under the age of 18, you lack capacity to enter legally binding agreements.  This may provide an exception to click-wrap agreements in some situations, as the contract may be voidable

The takeaway is this: Clicking the “I agree” to Riot’s Terms of Use and End-User License Agreements probably creates a legally enforceable contract.

II. “EULA” vs. “TOS”

So since we already have no idea what we’re clicking, why are there so many boxes?  Why not just throw it all into one box and get it over with?  Although many portions of the EULA and TOS overlap, there is a fundamental distinction between each type of agreement:

EULA: EULAs govern the use of the software itself.  This is useful to stop unauthorized use of the game, as well as to disclaim liability for what it does to your system.

  • Example: Hosting your own “League of Legends” world championship, with dedicated servers to boot, would likely be a violation of the EULA if you used Riot’s software (and probably some intellectual property violations as well).
  • Example: Riot’s EULA would probably prevent them from being liable if League of Legends overheats your cardboard toaster. Which is really the best outcome for everyone.

EULAs are often extremely broad in what they cover.  Interestingly, Apple’s EULA for iTunes explicitly disallows use of their software for the development of weapons of mass destruction:

Apple v. Estate of Hussein is still pending.

TOS/TOU: The Terms of Service governs the use of a particular service offered. In Riot’s case, some of the services offered are the ability to create an account and a means to use that account via access to their servers. While you are using their service, you are expected to follow their rules – otherwise, they may terminate your access to the service, as per the  agreement. Most players will only be concerned with the TOS.

  • Example: Going idle or AFK in-game often enough can result in temporary or permanent suspension of your ability to access Riot’s servers, because you’ve agreed to allow LeaverBuster to monitor in-game activity.

The main difference between the TOS and the EULA for players is in the types of violations, and what Riot is able to do in terms of punishing players who breach these agreements. For the most part, the TOS will impact a user’s access to the service.  The EULA, on the other hand, will impact a user’s access to the software.

TOS Violations:

Say you’re having a bad game, and decide to spam “**** you all, **** ***-skilled *******s!!!” a few dozen times in all-chat. Assuming this violates the TOS, Riot’s punishments all involve your account’s use of the service (remember, the service is access to their servers) even to the extent of permanent bans. This is where I see a lot of confusion, especially when players argue for methods (such as uninstallation) to combat toxic behavior – they confuse the accounts for the players, and the service for the software.

Players are only able to access the service through an account, and thus, can only violate the TOS through the use of an account (the notable exception to this is browsing their website, but that is beyond the scope of this article).  The way Riot has their TOS set up, the account acts as a real-life shield for players – both for good and for evil. The account provides a layer of privacy protection and facilitates a pseudo-anonymous experience, a great benefit for online interactions. On the downside, it makes it very difficult to penetrate the account and punish players directly – especially when it’s difficult to prove that it was that player breaking the TOS (e.g., you’re in the middle of a match when you have to answer to door (it’s your turn to pay for the pizza), and when you get back to your computer, you find that your roommates have been soliciting some of the female characters in a manner rather inconsistent with that of a gentleman).

Under the TOS agreement, it is unlikely that Riot could force removal/uninstallation of the software. And the way Riot’s current TOS is set up, it would also be difficult  to enforce an IP ban (should Riot wish to implement such a penalty, it may be possible, but the TOS would likely need to be reworded).

EULA Violations:

A forced uninstallation (i.e., an injunction) could only occur through a EULA violation (although this doesn’t stop vigilante players from wishing it to upon less-than-desirable teammates). The terms of the EULA are much less relevant to most players.  However, they do clarify an interesting point: violations of the EULA would probably end up in court (or “mandatory arbitration”). This is where Riot would claim you’ve somehow overstepped the “fair use” of their product, perhaps by selling downloads to unsuspecting users, or attempting to “reverse engineer” their game to create your own, etc.  They’d be suing you for damages, injunctions, and possibly attorney’s fees, depending on the nature and extent of the violation.

To date, I have yet to see any pending complaints by Riot against any of their players.  Suing your customers is not the custom and practice of most business entities, and on top of that, Riot tends to be more forgiving to its player-base than most companies in the industry.  If they have had issues with EULA violations, it’s likely they have been taken care of using cease & desist letters – very common in the realm of IP violations.

TL; DR: The Terms of Service and EULA are legally enforceable contracts.  If a player violates the Terms of Service, their access to the service may be suspended but not necessarily their access to the software – that would require a violation of the EULA.

 

Like the article? Have any comments or suggestions? Post below and follow me on Twitter @VCDragoon

Special thanks to Chefo for working on images and formatting!

 

Recently some of the big names in American sports have been under fire for using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).  From A-rod to Armstrong, PEDs are starting to look so common that many argue that to compete without them sets one at a disadvantage. Yet in eSports, the issue is almost never mentioned. And while the idea of taking steroids to enhance your video game playing performance seems pretty pointless (do you even lift?), I want to make the argument in this article that there are PEDs that ought to be discussed, if not regulated, in eSports.

I’ve divided this article into three parts: First, I want to look at PED policies and regulations in the Physical Pro Sports to provide some context. Second, I will argue that there are some PEDs that may impact the performance of Professional Gamers. Finally, I’ll tie it all up by applying the analysis of the physical Pro Sports PED policies to the context of eSports, and exploring what solutions might work better than others.

Before beginning I want to quickly point out that I’ve limited the scope of this article to performance enhancing drugs as opposed to recreational drugs. While there’s obviously a lot of overlap, the analysis tends to be pretty different and would warrant its own article.

 

PED’s in Physical Sports – Regulating ‘Roids.

 

Historically, of the four major American physical Pro Sports, Major League Baseball has had the most issues dealing with performance enhancing drugs. Just after the mid-90s MLB player strikes, there was a significant boost in anabolic steroid use (that strangely correlated with a number of record-breaking streaks).

But despite baseball having the most association with steroids historically, all of these sports have dealt and continue to deal with PEDs. In fact, the issue was gaining so much attention that Congress threatened to start regulating PED testing themselves, as well as reevaluate the antitrust exceptions sports franchises have so liberally enjoyed. Why are PEDs such a big deal, one might ask. Amongst many safety and image concerns, the driving motivation behind PED bans is: to preserve the spirit and integrity of the game.

In response to the threats from Congress, different leagues instated different policies. In the NFL (arguably the least-restricted league), all players are tested at least once a year, never during a game, and almost always in the off-season. In the NBA (arguably the most-restricted league), players are often tested frequently during the season, and sometimes even in the locker room right after a game.  The MLB and the NHL are somewhere in between.

Penalties for PEDs are very league-dependent, ranging from a slap on the wrist “name and shame” to years of unpaid suspension. The type of PED and the number of prior offenses all weigh into the penalties given. Unfortunately, these policies may not be as effective as the leagues would hope. MLB’s “Mitchell Report” indicated that most PED use is going undetected.  Most recently, sports leagues have been going after the producers and suppliers of PEDs for tortious interference with the player-contracts.

Steroids in particular are extremely difficult to combat. Teams and coaches have every incentive to “look the other way” because of the benefits the drugs bring. Anabolic steroid chemists are staying ahead of regulations, with a huge demand to change the drug enough to avoid detection, but not enough to lose its effects. Finally, the leniencies of league policies allow many drug tests to be duped or avoided completely.

 

From Physical Sports to Virtual Sports – Are PED’s an issue?

 

While steroids aren’t exactly an issue for eSports, they are not the only performance enhancing drug on the market. For example, in 2012, almost half of the NFL’s PED-related suspensions were due not to steroids, but to Adderall (that’s right, PED-related, not recreational related). Many prescription drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin are banned by most sports leagues (the notable exception being the NHL), although leagues do hand out exemptions on a case-by-case basis.

Adderall is considered a performance enhancing drug for many reasons – the effects combat fatigue, allowing players to train longer and harder. The mental stimulant allows for heightened awareness both during competition and during practice. The enhanced focus enables play-learning and other strategic aspects to be more easily retained. In fact, the amphetamine class was specifically tailored by the US military during World War II for these very reasons – fighter pilots in particular showed great benefits from amphetamines during combat. And ask 1 out of any 3 college students, and you’re sure to get a similar response.

But Adderall is not the only issue. Several over-the-counter energy drinks (albeit requiring an over-18 or over-21 ID, depending on the state) are prohibited by many major sports leagues. Dozens upon dozens of prescription medicine, from stimulants to painkillers, are heavily regulated in sports. Anything that gives a player an unfair advantage is an issue – and many of these drugs have serious potential for eSports, where mental acuity and stamina are some of the most important skills a Pro Gamer can have.

Here’s my point: as eSports progresses and professionalizes, as it has been doing in great leaps and bounds over the last decade alone, should league officials start to be concerned with performance enhancing drugs? I think they should. When players are able to gain significant advantageous over each other for non-medically related substances (or abuse of those substances), we start facing threats to the spirit and integrity not only of the game, but of the industry.

 

Crossing Over – What can eSports learn from its physical companions?

 

The first lesson is clear: don’t wait until it’s too late. By the late 90s, players associations had such control over drug testing and had so many privacy policies in place, it has been an uphill battle for leagues to get control over PED usage. While having enhanced performance certainly attracts more viewers, it does so at a very high cost – the integrity of the game.

Of course, how regulation should occur is difficult to say. What should or should not be regulated? Illegal drugs? Prescription drugs? Over-the-counter PEDs? And Should teams agree to urine tests periodically during worlds? Or is once a season enough? These are all questions that will need to be dealt with, and there are no easy answers.

The penalties are easy enough to cross over from the physical sporting world – suspensions are already the prime form of punishment in eSports, and would likely be the preferred sanction for PEDs as well.

Fortunately, the amount of control eSports leagues in general have over the players and teams is high enough that any problems with PEDs can be easily squashed – important, no doubt, to maintain a certain image for eSports. But as eSports grows, and as the money involved starts piling higher and higher, how much more incentive will players have to use PEDs to gain that competitive edge?  In physical sports, regulation is very difficult. It does not have to be that way with eSports – if eSports leagues can get policies in place and cooperate with sponsors, team owners and venues from the get-go, detection, punishment and prevention should never be an issue.

 

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Disclaimer: While I am a law student, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

California has recently passed a law that will allow minors to effectively “take back” statements they say online. The bill, which will go into effect starting January 1, 2015, will require

the operator of an Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application to permit a minor, who is a registered user of the operator’s Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application, to remove, or to request and obtain removal of, content or information posted on the operator’s Internet Web site, service, or application by the minor

Reading further into the bill, it is important to note that “remove” doesn’t require deletion – it does, however, require the service provider to restrict public access to the statement. California State Senators have called this an “eraser button” for minors, who may not fully understand the damage they could do to themselves by making spur-of-the-moment, off-the-cuff posts that they don’t mean. Many speculate this is a response to the Justin Carter case, to help protect hot-headed children and increase online privacy.

What does this mean for League of Legends? The biggest glaring possibility is that the California bill could give California minors an “out” to tribunal action. Riot is an operator of an online service (self-admitted in their Terms of Service), and all users are, by Riot’s own terms, required to register in order to use Riot’s services. So, in theory, California minors should be able to request the removal of comments they write in-game – never to see the public eye.

This would probably include the removal of content on tribunal reports.

Even the purpose of the California bill seems to be to allow this type of removal – toxic comments are typically made in the heat of the moment – I don’t know anyone who hasn’t typed something they haven’t meant, without thinking, say when a teammate throws their silver-to-gold 5th promotion match. So does that mean California minors have a “get out of the tribunal free” card?

Possibly. The tribunal has a couple things backing it. First, Riot could argue that minors have waived that right by agreeing to the ToS. This is a weak argument, since it is unlikely a California court would allow a minor to waive this right at all. Second, Riot could argue that the fact that the chat is anonymous protects the privacy of the minor. This could work, depending on things like a.) the purpose of the tribunal action, b.) the impact and degree of the minor’s language, and c.) whether the courts view LoL as a social media outlet (unlikely).

What do you think? Should the California law give minors an out to tribunal action? Or should Riot still be allowed to post content by minors to be judged by the community?

 

Like the read? Follow me on Twitter @VCDragoon for more posts! (yup, I just gave in)

I always prefer duo-queue to solo. Feel free to add me in-game! 

Disclaimer: While I am a law student, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

 

Part of my own legal education has been the study of Professional Sports law (in the United States), so I decided to do a quick comparison of regulations and punishments between some of the major US sports organizations to Riot’s eSports organization.

In this article, I’m talking about professional League players in the eSports setting; not your everyday bronze scrub.

 

The Original Setup – Rules and Regulations in Physical Pro Sports

 

In the four major US sports (NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB), the rules and regulations are set up sort of like a corporate hierarchy: you have the Commissioner at the very top, who controls most aspects of the game itself – the schedule, regulating officials, league-based discipline, etc. The Commissioner’s power over the league and its teams is set forth through a League Constitution  (similar to a corporation’s bylaws). However, these constitutions don’t directly dictate the relationship between teams and players – those are set up contractually.

In each of these sports league constitutions there is a clause called the “best interests of the game” clause. It basically gives the Commissioner the authority to do just about anything as long as the act is in the best interests of the game as a whole.

 

A New System? – Rules and Regulations in League of Legends

 

Unfortunately, Riot’s eSports regulation setup isn’t publicly available, and most professional player contracts have a non-disclosure clause. With the  lack of available information, the best we can do is apply current sports law concepts and see how they fit onto Riot’s eSports infrastructure.

In League of Legends, the setup is very different from the club/league “franchise” arrangement most other professional sports use, but the outcome is essentially the same. Riot effectively takes on the role of “league commissioner,” exerting direct control over both the game and the teams simultaneously.

The biggest difference is that instead of holding “commissioner” power through a league constitution, Riot seems to be given that power contractually – teams sign lengthy contracts that give unilateral control over League events to Riot – which seems pretty obvious. If you want to play their game in their tournaments, you have to agree to play by their rules.

Ok, so instead of becoming a commissioner through a “league constitution,” Riot becomes a commissioner through individual contracts. Is that really any different? The answer is yes.

 

The Differences – Advantages and Disadvantages of Riot’s eSports Setup

 

Setting up commissioner power as contractual agreements has advantages and disadvantages. It’s advantageous to Riot on several practical levels:

First, Riot maintains a direct relationship with the players – as opposed to professional sports law, where only teams and owners are parties to the bylaws, and players have no direct relationship with the Commissioner. Second, individual contracts allow a large degree of flexibility – great for different teams in differing circumstances (e.g. foreign teams). Finally, Riot could distance themselves from principal-agent situations with teams/players, which has  several benefits – not the least of which involves avoiding antitrust violations.

However, there are some legal disadvantages to having a contractual setup rather than a series of league bylaws. The first is that contractual damages are very limited. Harsh penalties designed to deter behavior don’t fly in contract law – if actual damages can’t be proven with certainty, Riot has no case. This poses a problem, for instance, with cheating – you want to punish cheaters even if cheating didn’t actually help them win, but a court will require you to prove that damage was done. This may explain why Riot caught several teams screenwatching last year, but only chose to penalize when they were certain it had an impact on the game.

A related disadvantage is the lack of a “best interests of the game” clause. In professional sports law, such clauses are kept extremely ambiguous on purpose, to meet whatever new situations can come up (e.g., dog fighting, gang-related signs… etc). It also allows for flexible discipline measures to be taken – commissioners can fine teams, revoke draft picks, or even force team ownership transfers outright.

But the ambiguity that makes the clause so valuable in a bylaw is also what makes the clause detrimental to contract law. Ambiguous words and phrases are difficult to enforce because it’s hard to tell if both parties really agreed to the same thing. (e.g., what exactly constitutes a “performance enhancing” drug? Is it limited to anabolic steroids? What about prescription medications such as Adderall? Energy drinks? Caffeine?). In some situations, courts can strike entire clauses from a contract for being too ambiguous – a pretty severe disadvantage.

Will we ever see any of these issues get raised in court? Probably not, as most teams and players are not in any position to negotiate or test any of the terms in their contracts. Their bargaining power is effectively nullified by the fact that Riot has a stranglehold on League of Legends – it is, after all, their game.

Follow me on Twitter @VCDragoon for updates!