DreamHack Masters: Server Issue Takes Center Stage as Round is Replayed

by Kevin Hitt


Your team is tied 1-1 in a best of three that catapults the winner into the quarterfinal playoffs of a tournament that includes the Top 8 teams in the world. You’ve struggled in recent events and although you are down 7-11 in the deciding map, you are in a 1v3 and the chances are, you’re going to win the round.


Your screen turns to black, you look around to make sure that it isn’t just you and see that every monitor on your team is out. You hear yelling from the fans and have now realized that something has happened.

Something did happen, but nobody from the event wants to talk about it. In fact, not only do tournament organizers not want to talk about it, but the “pause” as it is being called was glossed over by the casting talent as well.

Tournaments such as DreamHack Masters Las Vegas have rules in place that cover situations such as the server crash that occurred because of an intranet connection going down.

From the DreamHack Rules:

“11.2.2. If a Match is interrupted for reasons beyond the control of the Teams (Player crash, server crash, network outage, etc.) the Match Officials may decide to replay the Match according to the following terms and conditions:

  • If a problem or issue takes place before the first kill of any Round, the Round will be replayed;
  • If a problem or issue takes place during a Round, and the outcome of that Round can be determined, the Round will not be replayed. If the outcome of the Round cannot be determined, the Round will be replayed unless the Tournament officials reaches a different decision, which he may do in his absolute discretion. Teams are obliged to continue the Round if any issues or problems occur, until informed otherwise;”

According to the rules put forth, the conclusion that the Match Official came to was that the outcome of the round could not be determined. The argument being perhaps Adam “friberg” Friberg with an M4, 86 health, and a bomb planted could have clutched the round against three players from Cloud9 with superior firepower. What is the litmus test of when a Match Official can determine a round? Is there a casebook with precedent? What is the percentage chance that a player with 86 health, an M4, and a newly planted bomb wins in a 1v3 against three players that carry two M4s, an AWP, two molotovs, three flashbangs, and a smoke grenade?? If there is just a 1% chance in the mind of the Match Official is that enough? While the decision may seem as somewhat faulty, there is a bigger issue at hand.

The situation that occurred that helped shape the fortune and misfortune of two teams battling for a spot in a prestigious, top of the line tournament should in no way, shape, or form, be determined to any extent by what happened.

When asked for clarification, a representative from DreamHack said they have no comment at this time.

This has been a known issue for years that there is no snapshot of current rounds being played that can be brought back when something unforeseen happens. As it stands, Valve has only worked a snapshot of the game round by round into the back end so anything that happens in between rounds can only be reverted to the previous.

In the realm of professional esports and its growing population, which in turn makes the monetary stakes much higher for teams, Valve must take a bigger role and step in as the caretaker of the game. Sport, “e” or otherwise, is nothing without competitive balance and fairness. Any part of a match being determined by an error in truly unacceptable.