Server issues put a halt to the proceedings, although it's not all doom and gloom.

16:00, 02 Feb 2020

The first broadcast of season nine of the Rocket League Championship Series has come and gone, and despite record-breaking viewership for an opening weekend, it was one that will go down in infamy. It’s for sure a newsworthy day, so here’s a recap of all the biggest headlines from the opening day of #RLCS9.

“Technical Difficulties”

Following a near two-hour-long server maintenance session on January 30th, the impact has seemingly been a step backwards. With the NA RLCS due to start at 3 PM Eastern on February 1st, the Rocket league servers again entered maintenance mode (essentially restricting access to the public) on three separate occasions within 24 hours of the league’s due start time. Already hampering pro players’ ability to scrim and practice before the big games, the server downtime was already affecting other competitions, most notably the South American RLCS qualifiers, and the NA RLRS Play-Ins, with players in those brackets being lucky to even complete their first-round matches.

However, come kickoff time, after the customary half-hour pre-show, there was no gameplay. Instead of heading to DFH stadium, we were once again greeted by Liefx and company as the RLCS players were unable to connect to even their private servers. Credit where it’s due, the analyst desk did a remarkable job trying to buy time as everyone hoped the servers’ health would recover, but after 45 minutes of various delay screens, thanking viewers for their patience, day 1 of the NA RLCS was postponed to a later date. Later on, week 1 of the EU RLCS would also be pre-emptively postponed to a later date as a result of these server issues.

This isn’t the first time an RLCS matchday has been postponed; Week 5 of the EU RLCS back in season five was moved from Sunday to the following Thursday, although that was as a result of a power outage in the RLCS studio in Burbank California. This delay of events was a tough decision but ultimately is being viewed as the correct one in regards to competitive integrity, but while RLCS teams can deal with the delays as for the most part, they’re very handsomely paid, the server issues today have also had a big effect on the RLRS & South American Qualifiers, who for the most part don’t have a big salary, or had freed up limited free time specifically to play in these dates, so any delays for them have a far greater impact. This makes the news that both the NA & EU RLRS qualifiers would be pushed back a week very notable. While the correct decision, it may have a catastrophic impact in terms of players being unable to play. If certain twitter comments, there are a handful of top players in those competitions who had holidays booked for next weekend, it remains to be seen what their course of action is given the new dates of the RLRS Play-Ins.

All of this is made even more disappointing by the fact the Rocket League Twitch channel peaked at over 80,000 viewers in anticipation of the opening day of the season, numbers that not only rival the Call of Duty League, but make it the peaked viewership for a week one in RLCS history. For many, it was probably their first look into Rocket League Esports, and with first impressions being so important, this is a critical blow to the development of Rocket League Esports.

However, it must be noted that this instance of server issues isn’t Psyonix’s fault. Per, Google Services as a whole had been experiencing issues all day, affecting Steam and Rockstar services for juggernaut online games like GTA V & Red Dead Redemption 2’s online modes. Psyonix Community Manager Devin Connors would later explain it was issues with their updated database management system that caused the issues. Yet that hasn’t stopped an overflow of outrage towards Psyonix for their handling of the situation, the most communication displayed on stream about the situation was a “player connection issue” icon in the bottom left corner of the stream, which generally signifies one player is having issues, when in reality the entire online service is experiencing issues right now. It also has called into the question why the premiere Rocket League tournament is an online league. A LAN league play would have avoided these server issues, as evident in the BLAST Premier League in CS:GO that has been ongoing, despite Steam & CS:GO also being affected by the Google Server issues today.


Worlds in Dallas, Texas

It has not been all doom and gloom in the RLesports world, the season nine world championship was announced and it’s headed to the Lone Star state. The first RLCS finals (and second major international LAN for RL) to be held Central USA, Dallas is one of the hubs for esports globally. It is the home of organizations such as Complexity Gaming & Team Envy, or teams like the Dallas Fuel in OWL, or the Dallas Empire in CDL, while also hosting the NA LCS finals April 18th & 19th. The following week will see Rocket League be the talk of the town, as the RLCS heads to the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, April 24th-26th. The Venue is a near 7.000 seated arena. Previously, Dallas has been a stop on the Dreamhack Pro Circuit, where in 2019, Cloud9 would prevail over TSM in the finals. Tickets are set to go on sale February 22nd at 8 AM PST/11AM EST, with more information to come. 

Going Forward

So that’s it for the opening weekend of RLCS S9. Unfortunately, no on-pitch action to report of, which unfortunately will put a pause on the scheduled review & preview posts, and our power rankings. As of the time of writing, week one of the NA & EU RLCS has been given no definitive date in regards to rescheduling. With RLRS qualifiers delayed, the RLRS league itself is on hold as the first matchday was slated for February 7th and over in South America, if issues are not resolved by 2PM BRT Sunday, they too will also be delaying their qualifiers by a week.


Image via ZeeboDesigns

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