The Valorant community erupted with a wave of backlash on October 12 as the first day of North America’s Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) got underway. Despite being at a LAN setting, games were contested online with various teams suffering pivotal lag spikes. Riot Games was quick to issue a response and explain the situation.
After a full year of competition, many of Valorant’s top teams have now descended on Los Angeles for the penultimate LAN event of 2021. As the name implies, the LCQ serves as the final opportunity for teams to secure a spot in the year-ending Valorant Champions tournament.
The stakes couldn’t be higher as only one NA squad gets to punch their ticket to Berlin when all is said and done. With games finally kicking off on October 12, opening matchups saw many of the most popular teams going head to head right away.
At a glance, this was the first time to see how these NA rosters would hold up at LAN. However, that hasn’t quite been the case. Although the event is taking place on-stage in LA, with teams competing just meters apart from each other, the games themselves are still being hosted online.
VCT NA LCQ games played online at LAN
GG GenG we won 2-1 and advance to play the winner of LG / XSET tonight at ~7pm PST
We’re playing this LAN on online servers and it feels weird not being on LAN servers with 0 ping 🙁
— 100T Hiko (@Hiko) October 12, 2021
The very first game saw 100 Thieves take down Gen.G in a tightly contested series. Moments after their victory, 100T stars took to Twitter and revealed that their match wasn’t exactly on LAN.
“We’re playing this LAN on online servers,” Hiko explained. “We’re playing on just normal LA servers for this LAN.”
Although it may seem small on paper, the difference between 20 or so ping during online play and 0 ping for offline LAN play is night and day.
“Played an online match on LAN with a coach being on a different continent,” veteran FPS pro nitr0 followed up. “Guess there’s a first for everything.”
Played an online match on LAN with a coach being on a different continent. Guess there’s a first for everything 😂
— 100T nitr0 (@nitr0) October 12, 2021
With such a shaky connection, players were experiencing lag spikes while on LAN. From smaller hitches that could cost them a kill to more significant stutters and even game-breaking rubber-band issues, no one at the LCQ is free from these problems.
“Playing LAN using online servers… I’ve never seen this in my life,” Ethan added. “Our team was rubber-banding and stuttering the whole game playing on a NorCal server.”
game winning play but you lag out at lan pic.twitter.com/OCmbjKJ81V
— TSM FTX ZK (@frostyZK) October 13, 2021
One particularly egregious example struck during the Luminosity vs XSET match that followed shortly after. As round 8 began to wind down, aproto was left by himself in a 1v2 clutch situation.
Despite wrapping around and carefully timing his approach, the entire lobby lagged out before he was able to swing momentum in his team’s favor. XSET’s remaining players were stuck strafing to the left while aproto was glued to the right, unable to aim, fire, and thus, close out the round.
The clock soon ran out and even with the immediate backlash in chat, the round was not replayed, nor was the map restarted when similar issues continued to occur.
Riot Games issues a response to NA LCQ backlash
— ValorIntel (@ValorINTEL) October 13, 2021
Before the third and final series of the day kicked off, Riot released a statement on social media to address the state of NA’s LCQ event.
With the ongoing health crisis, Riot figured it “was in the best interest of all to shift to a remote server.”
In the event any of the 40 pros came over ill during their time in LA, this could have prevented any major delays. Competition would have continued from their rooms without “bringing in a sub or being forced to forfeit.”
“We recognize the virtual server is not the same as playing on LAN,” Riot admitted. “We are diligently working on improving the remote server experience throughout the competition.”
Therefore, it sounds as though the possibility of teams competing on 0 ping is out the window.
Five days remain in the NA LCQ competition so we’ll be sure to keep you updated right here as any drastic changes come through.