UPDATE: FACEIT have contacted Luckbox to add comment, chiefly that the Minors were held at the same venue, and 'went flawlessly'. They would also like to stress that the players are the most important part of the tournament.
After the initial teething problems experienced in the first hours of the FACEIT London Major, the expectation was that things would stabilise and the games would run to plan once the build issue blamed for the delay was fixed. However, that would not prove to be the case, as issues faced by the organiers on the first day of FACEIT’s first Major ended up being so massive they caused matches to be pushed back to day two.
Starting with the delay to the opening day, the issues varied in their level of impact on the stream, but were consistently present all day. From faulty headsets to poor timing on transitions and a serious level of pasta chat, the desk had their work cut out for them, and there is an argument to say the players suffered even more.
For example, during HellRaisers's victory over North, Jordanian star Issa ‘ISSAA’ Murad Samir had repeated audio issues, round after round, that eventually affected his ability to perform in the game. Worse still, the final match of the day could not even be started in the end, with Astralis vs compLexity held over until day two.
According to sources, the internet simply died at Twickenham, home of English rugby union, just at the end of the match between Team Liquid and OpTic Gaming. Fortunately for the viewer, OpTic had been kind enough to essentially give up long before than happened, with the score at 15-4 in Liquid’s favour when the stream dropped, but the issue meant the final game of the day was pushed back to this morning.
That game, between Astralis and compLexity Gaming, ended up being the first match of day two, with the unfortunate Americans also slated to play the last game of the day, versus Space Soldiers. This is extremely unfortunate for a team already fighting from behind in terms of resources and some might say talent, but Jason Lake’s men, who fought so hard to make it back to this level, had to accept their fate, and most likely a 14-hour test of endurance on what is arguably the biggest day of their year.
UK internet is notoriously poor, although FACEIT have pointed out that the Minor was run from this venue and went off without a hitch. Whether the main event has put extra strain on the facilities is impossible to say, and there is a danger that the UK as a whole could be less attractive to some organisers with this not being specific to any one venue or location.
With the growth of esports and the move into the mainstream the scene is trying to make, these are not small problems, but serious concerns. The public are used to games that start on time, and the largest esports events having these sort of issues reflects badly on the industry to an extent.
FACEIT must take some of the responsibilty for the problems in London of course, but the publishers must also carry a degree of the can, not just for the issues around the build, but also in the level of support they have provided at TI8 and in London.
With Valve involved in both events, and also the company that arguably makes more from esports than almost anyone, it may be time to ask questions about why a budget of $50m or more for TI8 isn’t enough to get decent audio, or why the London Major can’t get reliable internet.
Sneering at events in China that have issues has long been an esports pastime, but in 2018 the richest events in the game cannot do the basics, and that simply isn’t good enough anymore.