Halo Pro Circuit Cheating Violation
The Halo Championship Series has just started and there is already shady behavior afoot. Luckily, officials have been on top of the issue and have handed out swift penalties.
Multiple players accused Sentinels of purposely creating high ping for players in the game lobby during the NA Kickoff Qualifiers on December 1. After this situation was brought to officials’ attention, Twitch streams were reviewed and the abnormalities were pointed out on top of “significant lobby connection issues.”
On December 3, the HCS Administration made the decision to investigate the situation officially. The investigation served to find the cause of the lobby connection issues that created the four-plus hour delay and examine the server manipulation allegations.
“Competitive integrity and fairness are paramount to the HCS, our partnered teams, players, and community. We take these matters very seriously and with HCS Raleigh approaching, HCS Administration moved quickly to undertake a thorough and accurate review. This included research and analysis done by multiple teams within Microsoft, as well as providing ample time for Sentinels to present any evidence they wished to be reviewed,” HCS officials reported.
Halo Champion Series Administration investigates Sentinels after cheating allegations
In Halo Infinite, players can’t control which server they play on. The game measures the pings of all players in the lobby to find a server that is best for everyone in the match. The development team reviewed server logs from all matches that Royal 2 — the suspicious Sentinels player — played in since November 15.
The investigation found that all but one server in the United States were missing from the server ping list, forcing all of Royal 2’s matches onto that server “and creating an abnormally high ping for players in the affected matches.” Halo’s internal development team reproduced a publicly known and documented tactic to “proactively remove servers from the list of eligible servers,” ending in results that mirrored that of Royal 2’s matches.
Halo Champion Series Administration officials stated that Sentinels was then given “several opportunities” to explain the situation. But the information received from the organization was found to be inconsistent.
In the end, the HCS Administration determined that Royal 2 had purposely modified files to have an unfair competitive advantage. This violated the competition’s official rules, specifically hacking and network abuse.
Sentinels face penalties for cheating in Halo Champion Series
Breaking the tournament’s rules came with consequences for the Sentinels. This included all of Sentinels’ players having 4v4 Points removed. They also had to forfeit their first place Pool Party position at the HCS Kickoff Major Raleigh 2021, which the team earned during the NA Kickoff Qualifier.
Royal 2 was also suspended from the Halo Champion Series competition until January 28, 2022. This further impacted Sentinels, since they “will be unable to field the same, full roster for the HCS Kickoff Major Raleigh 2021,” making the team ineligible for a Pool Play position.
The rest of the roster is eligible to compete in the Open Bracket. Sentinels had until Roster Lock on December 13 to complete their roster. The team announced that Royal 2 was being replaced by FormaL that very day.
While the cheating is most definitely an unfortunate part of esports, the Halo Champion Series handled the situation swiftly and professionally. The competition will now continue without a hitch, with Sentinels looking to prove themselves with a new roster.