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Naz Aletaha, Riot Games’ global head of League of Legends Esports, addressed concerns about Royal Never Give Up’s remote play and an overturned mask mandate at the 2022 Mid-Season Invitational in an official press release on Wednesday.
Despite some exciting moments across the first two days of competition, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the international tournament. Defending MSI champions RNG have been playing remotely due to their previous obligation to play in the 2022 Asian Games, which were ultimately postponed shortly before MSI began. This has forced everyone in the tournament to compete with artificial ping to level the playing field. Meanwhile, despite news spreading before the tournament that players would have to wear masks on stage and during games, that hasn’t happened so far.
Regarding RNG, Aletaha explained that, “recently, some areas in Shanghai, including RNG’s location, have been faced with a stricter ‘no-traffic’ lockdown.” As a result, not even referees can enter the RNG facility. However, she also said Riot Games has “placed multiple cameras and mics” in RNG’s match room so they can make sure only the competing players are present during matches and insure competitive integrity.
At the same time, RNG do not have access to the stage headsets used by other teams competing in MSI 2022 due to their lockdown. Aletaha said RNG are allowed to use their personal headsets as a result of this until Riot Games can provide them with the proper replacements. Finally, she stressed that Riot Games has the “infrastructure necessary to support remote play between China and Korea.”
In terms of the masks, Aletaha confirmed the protocol had been the plan until Riot Games discussed things with teams and event staff. Together, they decided wearing masks on stage would be optional.
The tournament will continue with its third day of play on Thursday at 4 a.m. ET.
ASU alum with a B.A in Sports Journalism, Warren is one of the premier TFT Journalists in the scene and is a decent TFT player as well who has peaked Challenger and has had multiple accounts in Master+ over all sets. Warren also specializes in other esports content including League of Legends, Valorant, Smash Bros, and more.