League of Legends saw a brand new tool utilized in the Cloud 9 vs FlyQuest series, the “Deterministic Disaster Recovery Tool” (or what some are already referring to as the “Chronobreak”). After a bug with a Miss Fortune ultimate placed Riot in yet another familiarly sticky situation, they decided to unveil the tool they had been secretly implementing for the first time.
Instead of having to completely remake the game, the Chronobreak allowed for the highly anticipated match-up to be restarted just before the bug occurred, with all of the game’s conditions intact.
Bugs in competitive games have plagued the competitive scene since League of Legends’ inception, with North America as arguably the most affected region. In last year’s NA Summer Split Semi-Finals, a bug with Aurelion Sol in game 1 of Counter Logic Gaming vs Team SoloMid forced a remake of a game in which CLG looked to have established an advantage.
When a ruling was made to disallow the champion for the rest of the series, any strategies and practice CLG had done utilizing the champion were lost.
TSM would go on to win the series against an aggrieved CLG 3-0, but this would not be their last experience with Aurelion Sol bugs. Issues with Aurelion Sol would reappear during a TSM match at the World Championships, causing him to be disabled for multiple days of the tournament.
This is not an isolated incident, there are multiple cases in which a team gains an advantage only to see the game remade due to a bug spiralling out of their control. As Riot prepared to showcase the 2015 World Championships to a live television audience for the first time, a known Gragas bug resulted in the game between Fnatic and Edward Gaming being paused for over an hour.
As the casual audience tuned out in their masses, Riot scrambled to resolve the issue, though the damage was already done. The game was ultimately remade from scratch after an hour and a half of desperate filler from the casters and presenters. If Riot Games was hoping to show off the production value and competitive integrity of League of Legends eSports, the games susceptibility to bugs did nothing to serve their cause.
The team are discussing all probabilities and investigating the next step. Sorry about the delay. #Worlds
— Trevor Henry (@RiotQuickshot) 17 October 2015
Despite controlling every aspect of the game, for years Riot Games were seemingly powerless to save themselves from embarrassment. Now it seems, Riot has finally found an answer. The arrival of the “Chronobreak” will hopefully put an end to lost games due to in-game bugs, allowing the game to be reset just before the issue occurred, retaining any advantages or strategic set-ups that were in place.
The implementation of this tool is a huge step towards preserving the competitive integrity of the game, pushing eSports forwards for those who question its legitimacy.
Whilst the Chronobreak did not impact this game, it will have a significant impact on the competitive scene moving forward. Remakes can kill momentum and morale, and by eliminating the possibility of a bug induced remake you strengthen the integrity of the game and make surprise strategies even more valuable.