WoT: ESL Finals Scandal

Hello everyone,

now, those of you, who read FTR for a while know I generally try to stay out of ESL and CW stuff. I don’t follow ESL, I don’t play Clanwars (hmmm – maybe I should, that invitation by KAZNA still valid? :D) and even though there is a lot of fail in Clanwars (last campaign there was a lot of issues), I try not to report things I don’t understand.

This nasty thing with the ESL finals was sent to me several times, but until now, I didn’t see any “whole” account, just some tidbits of information (mostly from Czech ESL players, who have insight) and I didn’t dare write anything about it without some sort of “official” post – or at least some proper summary by someone involved. That summary is now available. DeNova player Artur “Ronnie” Ulyanicki issued a statement on DeNova pages. Here is the original statement in voice.



Unfortunately, it’s in Russian, so I will just translate what is in there. Please keep in mind that I do not know much about ESL and might mistranslate technical (or commonly used) terms. Please note that this issue is not just “some guys playing games got mad” – ESL finals are about money – and not a little.

Basically, what Ronnie says: in the final part of the ESL competition in Tychy (Poland), there were six teams. On first day of the tournament, four competed to get to semi-finals. On second day, semi-final matches, the match for first place and the match for third place happened. Apparently, there were two stages (for two teams) and on first day, DeNova played on the left stage and won both matches. On the second day, they started on the left stage also and they lost to VPRO (Virtus Pro I think) 3:2.

When all was set and they were supposed to play a match for 3rd place, they were moved to the right stage and they discovered that from no less than three player spots of the right stage team, it was possible to see the big screen, on which the match was shown for the live audience. It was not possible to see the whole of it, just the upper half without the minimap. But Ronnie points out that for an experienced captain, even the upper half was a valuable source of information about his opponent, for example by seeing how many hitpoints the tanks have by watching the side panels, where the tank (from whose POV it was transmitted) is and who is there with him.

As a result, DeNova complained to the referees and organizers, who then covered the view on the screen of the right stage, so it couldn’t be exploited. However, that wasn’t the only problem. The players were supposed to have “isolated” headphones, allowing them to hear only what their team was saying without hearing the audience, but most of the teams admitted these did not work properly. It was possible to hear the commentators clearly and those, who speak English, could use the info. Some players simply heard from the commentators that an “unexpected” rush is coming and they were ready when it came. Ronnie personally heard the description of Virtus Pro movements from the commentators, when DeNova was defending and the players didn’t speak.

Another problem was that for some reason Ronnie doesn’t know, during breaks (and there were MANY allegedly), members of the teams in the audience could approach their teammates on the stage. Even during breaks between battles on the same maps – if they wanted, they could tell a LOT of info about opponent’s tactics to the other team.

At this point in the article, Ronnie expresses his doubts about the fairness of the entire tournament and adds that players on the right stage (that could see the screen) won more often than those on the left stage (until the issue was removed). When confronting the organizers, the organizers said they needed some clear evidence cheating took place. Obviously, it is not possible to prove. The organizers stated that they would disqualify teams, in whose gameplay they would find something “overly suspicious”, Ronnie believes this was however just an attempt to shift the blame for organizing incompetence from the organizers to players.

Regarding the match with Virtus Pro, Ronnie wrote that the DeNova guys watched the match several times and came to the conclusion this match was simply fair. However, he has doubts about many other matches in the tournament and states that all these fails make the entire tournament result questionable. The organizers were European ESL (apparently, not Wargaming EU) and 4 out of 6 teams will (soon) pass a petition to improve the ESL to more professional level. Ronnie states that if no improvement happens, they will spread this info via various portals and such.

In the end, Ronnie apologizes for the last DeNova match, that was bad, because the entire team was demoralized by the affair.

SS: And they wonder why SerB and other Russian developers are not happy with cybersports, seeing such blatant bullshit. I wish the DeNova guys all the best in their struggle and hopefully, such shameful situation will not repeat itself.

22 thoughts on “WoT: ESL Finals Scandal

  1. That reminds me of that Polish? ESL tournament. The Russian team is late by an hour and then they instantly “appear” in the finals and win the tournament.

    PS: Not sure about the Russian team. It was something on the level of VirtusPro.

  2. Not rly a big supraise for me, all WoT tournaments are managed by idiots (If WG hires them that explains a lot right?). ESL admins are corrupted as hell, (whenever my team participated 7v7 it always turned out that my team has massive amount of penalty points due to “unknown” bug…) also lots of teams stage battles. Organised by WG All star series like Fun Cup, Super 6, Easy 8 not any better. WG tards at finals stream the lobby (I know it’s delayed but still, info which tanks we even considered is usefull for enemy), ppl who managed tournament have no clue about game mechanics and allow teams to use game bugs and organistaion itself is fail, just for example last Super 6 tournament that dummie Berbo had set wrong battle starting time for 50 teams…

  3. ESL Should watch The Internationals 3 from DotA2 or its equivalent for Leauge of Legends. They might learn a thing or two on how to properly conduct tournaments. :P

  4. In various 1 vs 1 games players in high profile matches with a live audience and commentators present tend to be in soundproofed booths. I suppose a similar solution on the stages for the entire team or separate rooms (but booths would be preferable from the audience point of view and also the recording.

    You can make nice shots having the camera go over the crowd then focus on some random players etc during downtime. Not having watched any ESL productions for WoT I don’t know what they do though :D.

    • Yea, I was just reading, and the thing that immediately jumped out at me was that they had the players out on an open-air stage.

      No amount of noise-canceling/isolating on headphones is going to be enough to remove the possibility of cheating by listening to commentary or audience, since all it takes is a small shift in a headphone pad (or a decent amount of hair caught between headphones and head) to completely defeat it…and it sounds like they weren’t even particularly good headphones. Booths or isolated rooms would definitely be the only acceptably “safe” way to go, in my opinion.

      This, the screen problem (as easy to find out pre-game as sitting down at each seat to make sure the players wouldn’t see anything, ffs), and the “lets allow the audience to give valuable info to teams between matches hurr” thing just makes the whole event reek of incompetence. WG should figure out a way to fine the people who planned the physical setup or something.

  5. Even people who watched finals in Tychy and know something about ESL was surprised by some weird movements and blind shots. I heard some rumors that some guy from Vpro making photos and show it his team in match breaks.

  6. After watching the exact tournament mentioned in the article I can say Denova deserved to win I was rooting for them the whole way through. It sucks that this happened.

  7. well the art of exploiting is as old as art of gaming itself… and here you even put money pot into the play, so how could you expect all ppl to be fair?

  8. ESL EU is full of fails, just open the forums… Can’t tell about others, but some sub-EU parts of ESL are actually quite decent.
    On one cup, admin put his team even though basic requirements were not met.
    On another cup head admin throws pl team and let VPro advancee without fight.
    VPro playing on EU and not RU is fail itself.
    And lets not fool ourselves, DeNova is not so clean either – they shot in air and played dumb against SPALE just so KAZNA and others above SPALE would suffer in overall rankings. Check for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjgd4jb8Iyo

    ESL EU admins are a one big joke!
    Sadly I don’t belive anything can be done because they are all very well connected among themsleves and WG.

    So much rigging that it makes me puke, I am not playing ESL for quite a while and many teams left ESL for good as well.
    Just look at Go4WoT – it used to have almost double as many people as much as it has now. But who cares, right? Or: How terrible…