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Published: April 1, 2022

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • The bugs allow coaches to gather information about enemy players while spectating
  • There have already been several bans since last year, but the work is going slowly
  • Organizations are urging the ESIC to end their investigations before the Antwerp Major in May

The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) is investigating more cases of abuse of in-game coaching bugs, which may soon result in more bans.

Bug Abuse Investigations Are Going Slowly

The ESIC is conducting two investigations for in-game coaching bug abuses that may lead to 52 individuals being sanctioned. The investigations are spurred on by parties disgruntled at the prospect of coaches that could be banned from competing at the CS:GO PGL Major in Antwerp in May. Members associated with the Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association (CSPPA), and other outside parties, wish for the matter to be resolved as quickly as possible.

The ESIC has come under criticism for its slow actions. This is not the first time this has happened, as the Open Investigation Register shows three other unsolved cases with no status updates since August last year. According to rumors, these delays are due to staffing and managerial issues within the ESIC. However, one must not forget that this may not be the sole problem, as these cases can often be complicated to solve, and naturally take more time.

Why Are So Many Coaches Being Investigated?

Apparently, multiple in-game bugs enabled coaches to obtain an unfair vantage point on maps. The outcome was the same but the bugs functioned differently. This means that when the automated process utilized to locate demos where it occurred was implemented, it could catch only the main bug. This caused the first ban wave, but as time progressed, the process was augmented and more rule-breakers surfaced.

An example of what bugs like this do is allow a coach to follow players around in third person. This enables the coach to rotate their view and potentially see angles the player cannot. Another bug allows someone to free-roam the map, which of course gives even more information to the user. Former C9 coach Valens admitted he had used this bug and the third-person one, and said he didn’t know how the bugs had been triggered and stressed he did not share any of the information gathered with his players.

Why Are Investigations Taking So Long to Conclude?

Sometimes it’s very difficult to assess if a coach has exploited bugs. For example, some monitoring footage shows clear and intentional camera movements, designed to show information, while other times show no movement or only happen for one round. The latter can mean the bug occurred without the coach’s knowledge.

It’s not easy to determine the extent of the abuse without voice communication logs. Before, the standard was that not reporting a bug when it happened would lead to action against the coach in question, with abuse of any kind leading to much sterner punishment.

This has to be taken into account when investigating cases as most seem to happen in single instances of the bugs occurring or multiple instances of single rounds. Still, even single moments of bug abuse can be enough for a ban. Such was the case with OG coach Casper “ruggah” Due who was banned for four months and a ban from the PGL Stockholm Major last year.

It has happened before that some coaches named on the list of prospective bans have been allowed to compete. Meanwhile others guilty of similar offenses have faced immediate retribution. Naturally, this seems unfair to a lot of organizations that have staff banned by the ESIC.

Rumors say that the investigations were in “the final stages”, meaning they should hopefully be concluded before the Major in Antwerp that starts on May 9.

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