The Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak has people spending more time at home than many of them are used to. Unsurprisingly, a lot of them are turning to gaming to pass the time. That's putting pressure on game companies in sometimes unexpected ways, including longer-than-usual queue times to get into League of Legends games.
That, Riot associate program manager Mel Capperino-Garcia said on Twitter, is due to the fact that North American servers are running at close to maximum capacity. Riot is working to increase server capacity, Capperino-Garcia said, and in the meantime will whitelist all pro accounts and League Partners, enabling them to bypass queues and get straight into games.
Our thinking is: even if you can't get into game, at least you'll be able to watch your favorite players. We'll be working hard to expand capacity and reduce queue times for everyone as quickly as possible. (2/3)March 19, 2020
That might feel elitist or unfair, but the rationale behind the decision is sound: If the servers are jammed and you can't get in, the next-best thing is to watch it being played on stream. That becomes a whole lot trickier if the pros and partners can't get in (let's face it, nobody wants to watch, say, me playing LoL), and the percentage of players getting waved past the checkpoints will be relatively tiny anyway. Odds are that most players are going to struggle with virtual lineups at some point in the near future, so ensuring they at least have something to watch while they wait makes sense.
Capperino-Garcia said partners and pro accounts have already been whitelisted in North America, and other regions should be cleared within the next couple of days. I've reached out to Riot for more information on its plan to increase LoL server capacity, and will update if I receive a reply.
We're maintaining a roundup of esports competitions and other gaming events that have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak that you can keep up with here. For more information on the Covid-19 coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control for updates in North America, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, or the World Health Organization.