Professional Halo gamer from Regina accused of breaking rules in tournament, suspended

December 15, 2021
Professional Halo gamer from Regina accused of breaking rules in tournament, suspended
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A professional video game player from Regina has been temporarily suspended from competing after an esports internal investigation found his team violated the rules during an online tournament.

But Mathew Fiorante, who plays the video game Halo professionally, says he did not mean to break the rules, but rather characterized what he did as an unfortunate oversight.

The Halo Championship Series, which is the governing body of Halo esports, released a report on its investigation on Sunday. It concluded that Fiorante — who goes by the gamer name Royal 2 — broke HCS rules during the NA Kickoff Qualifier 12-1 online tournament, which ran on Dec. 1 and 2.

Fiorante is considered to be one of the world’s best players of Halo, a space-fantasy game where players fight in an interstellar war between humans and aliens.

As first reported Monday by the Regina Leader-Post, the Halo Championship Series says a number of players raised allegations that Sentinels — who went on to win the tournament — had violated rules by manipulating servers, giving them an unfair advantage. 

One of these accusations was directed toward Fiorante, identified as Royal 2 in the report.

Furthermore, connection issues during the tournament led to a more than four hour-delay, the HCS report says.

In the Halo Infinite game, players are automatically assigned to a server by measuring the “pings” of players to servers worldwide, according to the HCS report. It then selects the best server for everyone in the match.

A ping is a signal sent to a host server, often to determine response time. A high ping rate can mean a lag, which is detrimental for online gamers.

According to the HCS report, the game’s development team reviewed server logs from Fiorante’s matches going back to mid-November, and found that all U.S. servers but one were missing from the server ping list.

That resulted in all of his matches being played on the same server, “creating an abnormally high ping for players in the affected matches,” the report says.

“We have determined that the only plausible explanation … is that there was a direct modification of files giving Royal 2 an unfair competitive advantage during play,” says the report, noting that violates sections of the official HCS rules.

Fiorante has been immediately suspended from HCS competition until Jan. 28, the report says. His team had to forfeit its first place pool play position for an upcoming tournament in North Carolina.

In a statement posted to his Twitter, Fiorante said that during the tournament, he was experiencing an extremely high ping rate with the central server.

“I changed my settings to use the west coast server, but failed to turn it off for the NA Kickoff Qualifier. While this was corrected before … [the] Esports Arena tournament, I understand the issues my oversight caused for the qualifier,” the statement said.

“I truly did not realize the impact this decision would have, and for that I am deeply sorry and apologize to my fans and wish my teammates the best of luck in [the upcoming competition in] Raleigh.”



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