Looking at Chronobreak
Game 3, the series between Cloud 9 and FlyQuest is going slightly in the favor of C9 as “Altec” and “LemonNation” engage “Sneaky” and “Smoothie” in the bottom lane. However, due to the fickle nature of any software, the game doesn’t render the visual part of Miss Fortune’s ultimate. This bug has the potential of being extremely severe, as having a hidden, high damage ultimate could be a detriment to both the enemy team and your own team. The fight turns in the favor of C9 who end up punishing FQ by killing “LemonNation”. The game is paused as per requested by FlyQuest and the on-stage technicians get to work trying to troubleshoot the problem, no easy solution is found and the team is offered a remake, which in the past would have meant that the game is abandoned and a wholly new game is set up with the champion who caused the issue, disabled. This would mean that teams have the opportunity to re-do their pick/ban phase and adjust their strategies accordingly, possibly giving them a better edge. However, with Riot’s new tool, dubbed Chronobreak, the game was instead rewound back over a minute. Naturally, something like this wouldn’t occur in traditional sports, but for eSports, it is revolutionary.
After Chronobreak was successfully deployed, “Altec” and “LemonNation” had the opportunity to rethink their in-game strategy, and this time, are successful in their engage, finishing off “Smoothie” with ease and “Sneaky” is forced to return to base. FQ also picks up the Cloud Drake after the kill, putting them in the lead. On initial inspection, it would become apparent that FQ were given the advantage thanks to the tool, but when thinking about it more, they had already revealed their plans of jumping on “Smoothie”, which means that C9 could expect a repeat of the same situation as they would know that the FQ jungler “Moon” was on the bottom side as he attempted to help “Altec” before Chronobreak was deployed. The game ended with C9 coming out on top, but the effect of the new tool was apparent to all viewers, there is now a chance that any game can be recovered and teams will be forced to deal with their earlier mistakes if a bug were to occur.
The old remake system had multiple drawbacks. If one team had a clear advantage and were going to close out the game in the next 5-10 minutes and a bug occurred that would limit a champions capabilities. A good example of this would be the game between Fnatic and Edward Gaming during the 2015 World Championships. The game had been going for over 20 minutes, which was followed by Fnatic’s jungler at the time, “Reignover”, becoming unable to use one of his abilities, even after dying. Before this, EDG had been playing a slow methodical game with their surprise Mordekaiser pick, gaining a slow gold lead over Fnatic, but due to the bug, Fnatic is offered a remake. The remake goes through and Fnatic takes the lead over EDG at around 12 minutes, significantly altering the game. This makes the comparison between the use of a remake or the use of Chronobreak significant. In the remake, Fnatic bans out Mordekaiser, the revealed secret weapon of EDG, but in a rewound version, EDG would still be on the top. This would have had the potential of extending the series and changing the outcome in multiple ways.
With the potential of Chronobreak fixing an issue, any bugs that are experienced during any live competitions in League of Legends can be nullified without having to hard reset the game. Remakes can be quite damaging to players mindsets, as they may feel that they could have won the previous game because their pick/ban phase was superior to their opponents. Chronobreak retains the mistakes made in the pre-game choices of the teams and forces them to play the hand that they have, but also gives them the flexibility of changing a play that was affected by the bug, to be played out differently. What if “Moon” had gone somewhere else or come to help “Altec” and “LemonNation” through a different route, or maybe he would have gone to help “Hai”, the potential choices that teams can make at that stage are endless.
While Chronobreak currently only exists within League of Legends, it does offer an interesting way of looking at potential issues that could happen when dealing with software. Sometimes recovery through the simple act of reconnecting to the game doesn’t necessarily fix the issue, the issue may lie somewhere in the server side data rather than client side data. In cases like these, simply rewinding the status of the server, could, in fact, fix the issue completely, with the game itself only losing the last few moments of play. Chronobreak could certainly change the way we look at eSports, not in terms of play, but in terms of recovery and rules of the competition. While I hope that Chronobreak won’t be deployed anytime soon and that we don’t encounter any bugs during the various eSports streams, it remains absolutely wonderful and exciting.