In the high-stakes world of professional gaming, there are many obstacles that can disrupt a match of League of Legends. Technical issues, such as faulty peripherals, or even a spillage, can bring a game to a standstill. Equally problematic are software glitches that may upset the game mechanics and necessitate a pause.
A pause, while a necessary tool to maintain competitive equity, is frequently fraught with controversy. By bringing the game to a sudden stop, a team may exploit it to strategize, thereby potentially tilting the game's dynamic in their favor.
A particular instance of such a pause happened during the intense match between Cloud9 and LNG at the 2023 League of Legends World Championship. Cloud9 called for a pause at a critical juncture of the game, a move that was deemed controversial by many, including LNG's mid laner, Scout.
The halt sparked a debate as it provided an opportunity for team Cloud9 to re-strategize their approach. Rallying after the pause, they returned to the game with renewed vigor, calling into question the strategic advantage offered by such pauses.
Scout Calls Out Cloud9's Controversial Pause
Cloud9's call for a pause wasn't their first in the match. The team had previously requested two pauses- the first due to FPS issues and the second because of peripheral issues. However, the third pause came at a highly critical moment in the game, as LNG was about to secure a strategic advantage over Cloud9. This pause was caused by a keyboard malfunction, leading to its immediate replacement.
What drew attention was the timing of the pause. Coinciding with a potential turning point for LNG, the halt was not well received. This incident resulted in a chronobreak - a rewind in the game's timeline- and required a lengthy pause before the match could resume.
Despite the controversy, LNG emerged victorious, cementing their position in the tournament. However, the need for a pause in such a decisive moment left a sour taste, as reflected in Scout's social media post following their victory.
Scout took a dig at the opposing team, posting a cheeky comment on his Instagram story saying 'nice tactical pause lol.' The 20-minute pause had left both teams in a frustrating standby, patiently waiting while the technical issues were sorted out and commentators filled the airtime.
Although LNG emerged victorious despite the disruption, Scout's comment highlighted the team's dissatisfaction with the prolonged pause, underlining a larger question about the use of pauses in professional eSports.
The victory propelled LNG to a 2-0 record in the Swiss stage. Cloud9, despite the controversy and the tactical pause, ended up with a 1-1 record. However, the incident stirred a debate on the use of pauses in professional gaming tournaments and whether it can be strategically exploited by a team for their advantage.
The incident at the Worlds 2023 made it clear that the rules regarding game pauses need further scrutiny to ensure equal game circumstances for all teams involved in a given match. While pauses are necessary to resolve genuine technical issues, they can also disrupt the natural flow of the game and potentially be exploited for tactical purposes.
Tactical pauses could, indeed, allow teams to gain an unfair advantage by giving them extra time to develop and adjust their strategies. Therefore, there is a need to put in place rules and guidelines to prevent misuse of tactical pauses, maintaining competitive integrity and sportsmanship in eSports.
The controversy surrounding Cloud9's pause in the World’s 2023 serves as a reminder of these challenges in professional gaming. As eSports continues to evolve, so too should the rules and structures that govern it to ensure fair play and uphold the integrity of the sport.