Week three of the Rocket League Championship Series began with a match-up between Revival and NRG. Both teams came into the day with two wins so far, and no one expected either side to easily walk away with another. It was Revival, however, who came away empty handed, losing a hard fought series 3-2 to their mid-table rivals.
But to add insult to injury, the loss came about as the result of a particularly unorthodox fourth game which saw an early lead by Revival completely washed away after technical difficulties led tournament organisers to call for a reset. After being up 3-1 over NRG in the third minute, a series of disconnects and connectivity issues eventually forced the score back to 0-0 due to a controversial decision to restart the fourth game from scratch.
At that point, NRG came back to win before eventually taking the series in game five. Players on Revival, now coming out of the third week with an overall record of 2-3, were less than pleased.
Robert "Chrome" Gomez took to Twitter to voice his frustration, stating "absolutely devastated, none [sic] my team were lagging that game and they get a restart." As did substitute Davis "PreM" Pease who said, "What a fucking disappointment, what a shitty way to lose." Chrome later added, "Listen I understand it is in the rules but that needs to be fixed asap, anyone can get fucked over basically."
— RLCS (@RLCS) October 15, 2016
According to the League Championship rules, tournament organisers can order a match restart in exceptional circumstances, like equipment malfunctions or bugs, as well as "unforeseen circumstances," which may require "a special response." As a result, per section 13.18., "the Tournament Organiser reserves the right to change any of the tournament rules or remove any Player at any time, for any reason, at their sole discretion."
If the technical difficulties were simply resulting in certain players disconnecting from the game, however, section 13.5.1. of the rules states to keep playing,
In the event of a disconnect, the shorthanded Team will continue to play out the single game within the match. The disconnected Player may rejoin during the game that the disconnect occurred in or in between games of a match, but may not join in the middle of subsequent games. After a disconnect, if the Player does not rejoin during the same game, the Player will have three minutes to rejoin the match before the next game of the match starts. The Team that experienced the disconnect may also substitute a Player from their roster provided it is the first disconnect on their side during the match.
An esports associate with Twitch tried to explain the ruling in a series of Tweets, that have since been deleted. Since the precise timeline of events is disputed by members of Revival, CloudFuel later added that "the logs are being reviewed".
"Once they are reviewed we should have a better understanding of what happened." Despite their disappointment with the loss, and the way the match was handled, Revival congratulated NRG for coming from behind to win the series.
The incident does raise questions about how potential resets should be handled in the future, especially when the stakes are much higher at the end of the season. The league's desire to be as hands off as possible rather than take a more active role in deciding when to reset matches and where to reset them to, both in terms of the score and time clock, is understandable, but it also feels short-sighted.
There's a reason sports like football and soccer pay lots of money for experience officials to regulate games. Watching one team lose and another win is only fun if the results feel in some way earned, and not the result of random flukes or subjective decision making.