The former Tainted Minds lineup in their team house from a video published by Riot Games
Riot's Oceania Division continues to be engulfed in controversy, with League of Legends teams Tainted Minds and Regicide both being accused of shady behaviour.
In February, the majority of Tainted Minds, including the coach, left their team house, alleging conditions that were both unsafe — mould, sanitation issues — and made for a poor work environment — no computers and a poor internet.
Last week Riot found that Tainted Minds had violated their contractual obligations, fining them $7000. They were also handed a six month competitive probation, but not banned outright because of "efforts in good faith to correct ongoing issues."
Team houses have been upheld as the ideal model for professional gamers and professional teams to maintain the optimal practice environment. But over the last 24 hours, a raft of allegations have come out about the living conditions for Tainted Minds, one of Australia's top eight League of Legends teams.
Former Tainted Minds player Tristan “Cake” Côté-Lalumière had already taken to TwitLonger in the past to bring his issues with the team to light, and did so again last night, criticising Riot’s ruling.
Côté-Lalumière alleges that Riot Games still owes the former Tainted Minds manager “Fassfy” multiple thousands of dollars, and disputes the investigations into a conflict of interest between the organisation and Riot’s Oceanic division.
One of Riot’s staffers was reportedly responsible for convincing John McRae, managing director of high-school esports organisation Letsplay.live, to invest in Tainted Minds; McRae and Daniel Ringland, who had been handling mediation attempts between Tainted Minds and its players, were seen spending time on the Riot campus, according to Côté-Lalumière, while they were under investigation.
Compounding issues is a YouTube interview released this morning in which Oceaniac Pro League player Jackson “Pabu” Pavone alleges that Regicide, a competitive League of Legends team who recently competed in the region’s promotion tournament and won a spot in the OPL, used a number of “off-limits” players to qualify.
These players were account boosters, people who raise League of Legends accounts to certain specifications (often a high ranking in the game’s ranked mode) and then sell the account for profit, an action strictly forbidden by Riot that has resulted in bans for several pro players.
Following his suspension for the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) earlier this week due to allegations that he'd levelled another player's account for $US1300, professional League player Yu "XiaoWeiXiao" Xian has come clean. He says he didn't realise he was committing a "severe" offence.
Because it takes time for Riot to investigate the background of each new player, Pavone alleges, Regicide was able to shuffle around players often enough to make it into the OPL without getting into trouble.
Riot expanded to Oceania in 2015, but the last few weeks have shown that such an expansion isn’t so simple. A lack of third-party arbitration in a conflict of interest matter makes it hard to trust Riot’s decisions, and two teams allegedly taking advantage of players shows the growing region’s teams aren’t quite professional yet.
We reached out to Riot Games for comment, but they did not respond by publication.