Flashpoint flubs first RMR event and their integrity takes a beating
Flashpoint has been embroiled in a lot of controversy ever since having been given the opportunity to run a Regional Major Ranking event. It all kicked off with RatPatrol being banned for playing with a cheater and later with the NiP vs Anonymo causing a fiesta. Over the past year Flashpoint went from a prospective franchise league heavy hitter to a mere RMR event organizer and they managed to dig an even bigger hole for themselves recently.
The latter of both situations is still fresh, and as new details and statements are coming out several times a day, we can clearly see how poorly the organization handles their competition. The juxtaposition of how both scenarios were handled by Flashpoint is very telling.
RatPatrol Banned for Cheating Mid-Tournament
With LANs not being currently viable, online play is necessary. Online play comes with an inherent unfairness to it. One team will inherently have better ping resulting in slight advantage. This is the reason offline play holds the most respected results. It is the most fair way to have teams faceoff. However, until a return to LAN is possible, we have to deal with whatever issues arise.
First up, the appropriately named team RatPatrol was banned in the qualifier for Flashpoint 3 after having eliminated multiple teams. These teams include Apeks, whose “unlucky” position in the bracket put Dennis “dennis” Edman and the crew on the receiving end of it all.
The result ended up being no games replayed and the qualifier continued on. Flashpoint did nothing to rectify the situation, nor did Flashpoint issue a statement to clarify anything. This leaves the teams who lost to RatPatrol in a terrible situation. Losing to cheaters can end careers. Teams drop players for losing qualifiers. Players retire after having told themselves this is their last chance to achieve their dreams. To not even do as much as issue a statement addressing the issue is abhorrent. Nonetheless, they have set a precedent here that the threshold for having rematches scheduled and games replayed is very high. That should be reflected in their rules. If teams do not get redemption after losing to cheaters, surely no games will have rematches for anything less egregious.
For clarity, RatPatrol beat two teams in g4m3rZ and Apeks before ultimately being caught in their match against GameAgents, causing them to be disqualified. GameAgents continued through the bracket and ultimately went to the closed qualifier. To rectify the situation and preserve competitive integrity, Flashpoint could ask if both damaged teams would like to play a match that determines who plays GameAgents in a followup duel and ultimately decide a fair participant to move forward.
This was proven not to be the case. A month later, we find ourselves witnessing a massive drama surrounding Anonymo and NiP.
Anonymo vs NiP drama and a war of disinformation
Ninjas in Pyjamas were scheduled to play a best of 3 series against Anonymo. During the game, there was a long tech pause due to packet loss on NiP’s end. The issues were unable to be addressed and the game was played. NiP lost Dev1ce’s debut series 2-1. Following the defeat, Dev1ce himself complained publicly on Twitter and storm was unleashed.
Many pro players weighted in on the issue, as it seemed to be NiP’s fault at first, and an internet ISP internet issue. After further investigation, the issue was determined to be in Flashpoint’s affiliate Faceit’s end. NiP pushed both Flashpoint and Anonymo for a rematch. This is supported by Flashpoints deleted and tweaked tweet.
Why is a team pushing their opposition for a rematch instead of Flashpoint making a decision? It was said by figureheads in the scene that NiP was trying to strong arm Flashpoint into scheduling a rematch. Additionally, NiP offered Anonymo to replay the series or just replay the 3rd map. This makes no sense. If they had issues throughout the series, then why offer to only replay the 3rd map? If the problem was the connection issue that stopped in the 3rd map, why offer to replay ONLY the third map? It certainly seems strange. Especially when considering that NIP is the much bigger team org and could certainly throw their weight around to get things their way if they wanted to.
What is ultimately telling is the big organization dug out the exceptionalism in priority Flashpoint gave out to specific teams when handling competitive integrity. The issue was found to be some security feature in the settings which forced packet losses for teams. This same settings were used in previous competitive cycles as well, meaning a plenitude of teams could have faced the same issue and potentially faced defeats over them.
Replaying the match sets a bad precedent
In light of what has preceded, Flashpoint have certainly made themselves look weak. When contrasting the RatPatrol situation to this one, it seems as though Flashpoint will only act when they are bullied into it. The fact that they said nothing when peoples futures and careers were affected, and have now come out with multiple statements about this scenario says a lot. Not only that, but their decision will almost certainly negatively affect the players on Anonymo.
Flashpoints integrity is now put into question based on their actions. If they cannot be trusted to stand their ground when pressured, should they have gotten an RMR event in the first place?
First of all, Anonymo did nothing wrong and have been punished. They prepared for the series, they showed up on time and beat the favored opponents. Secondly, the NIP players suffer as well. They were also prepared, but and an issue that was not their fault (and Dev1ce crying on Twitter) caused them to look like the bad guys.
It all comes down to how poorly Flashpoint decided to manage the situation. This echoes of something Richard Lewis said on Twitter:
“As a thought exercise, since as Flashpoint’s claim is that this is being done to preserve competitive integrity, does anyone out there believe if Anonymo had been the victims of this phantom 30-40% packet loss they’d be getting a chance to replay NiP?”
If this situation occurs again in the future, Flashpoint’s reaction will be very telling. The re-match was played last night with teams replaying the 3rd map. NIP has won 16-14 on Mirage.
Ultimately, the result did not eliminate any of the two teams from the competition. NiP continues their run through the winner bracket, while Anonymo head down to the loser bracket. Each party involved is now Tweeting up a storm to try absolve their behavior over the past few days.