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Condition of Valorant esports in Europe leaves community frustrated

Riot
Riot's mishandling of the EU Valorant scene has left fans none too pleased (Image from Riot Games)
ANALYST
Modified 05 Apr 2021
Feature

The Valorant community, at large, is not happy with how Riot Games is treating the European competitive scene at the moment. Setting up suboptimal formats for the Valorant Champions Tour tournaments back to back and providing very little broadcast coverage seem to be the two significant reasons that fans from this region are angry.

The situation is rather complex, but it is reminiscent of how Riot treated the League of Legends competitive circuit of the EU back in the day.

The League of Legends European Championship (LEC) came into being following the rebrand of the EU LCS, and it flourished in terms of viewership. G2 Esports, a European team, winning the Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) in 2019 was the cherry on top.

But before the rebrand that gave birth to the LEC, the publisher’s handling of the EU LCS got a lot of flak from fans. Despite being the most prominent region playerbase-wise, the EU LCS got the worse schedule and experimental formats than NA LCS.


European Valorant scene has been getting the shorter end of the stick from the very beginning

Riot’s unequal approach towards the EU and other regions has been apparent since the First Strike tournament. The NA qualifiers had four groups of four teams, double elimination brackets, and all matches in the best-of-3 format.

Meanwhile, the EU had no groups, single-elimination brackets, all games except the final one in the best-of-1 format, and to top it all off, no streams. This instantly received backlash from the community, and one Riot employee even admitted their mishandling of the event.

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But, as it became apparent, the developer did not learn from its mistakes. More of the same followed in Valorant Champions Tours Stage 1. Throughout the EU Challengers 1, 2, and 3, there was a palpable lack of best-of-3s, detracting from the competitive aspect of esports.

Except for the last four to eight matches from the final, there was no broadcast coverage.

The Stage 1 EU Masters again had single-elimination brackets. Although the EU Masters games got broadcast coverage, the domino effect from the Challengers made its way through.

The EU was ignored for so long that the viewership and interest were low, and people did not even know the teams nor storylines. For instance, the team that won the EU Masters Stage 1, Acend, played two best-of-3s on broadcast before the Masters.


Has Riot mended its ways about handling EU Valorant in VCT Stage 2?

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In short, it seems like Riot is continuing the deprivation of EU Valorant in VCT Stage 2. Teams from Turkey and CIS have to play with teams from the EU for two spots, while some bizarre rulings around that matter have made the followers of the EU Valorant scene more frustrated.

Again, there is no double-elimination bracket in the VCT Stage 2. For instance, if the two best teams run into each other, one has to go home. And the biggest topic for fans is still no broadcast of games until the ‘main event.’

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Community sentiment, as observed in these tweets by some pro players and analysts, is that of frustration. The hope is that Riot mends its ways and becomes transparent sooner rather than later.

Published 05 Apr 2021, 15:08 IST
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