HCS Ruling on Sentinels Investigation

EDIT: Royal2 has released a statement in a TwitLonger stating that he did in fact change his server settings but forgot to change them back before the tournaments.

After the NA Raleigh Kickoff Qualifier, teams and players accused Sentinels, specifically Royal2, of using a method called geo-filtering to manipulate the dedicated servers chosen to host the custom matches on. Geo-filtering basically blocks specified servers so only other, specific ones will be connected to. The accusations came after players noticed that a west-coast server, said to be in Seattle, was consistently being used in all of Sentinels matches whereas normally a dedicated server is chosen by getting the average ping from all players and choosing one that would best suit all players in a match and lobby issues were consistent during Sentinels’ matches. This resulted in certain players, including the other Sentinels members, having a higher ping than normal. The accusing players brought it to 343/HCS’s attention to investigate the matter.

Sentinels players have come out since and shown evidence that they were experiencing this issue weeks before the Qualifier and did not know why. Royal2 has stated that he contacted his ISP about having issues with his internet connection and that the ISP had configured his connection somehow, which he says he has e-mails to verify and had given them to 343/HCS for clarification. The information given to 343/HCS by Sentinels about Royal2’s ISP were said to be “inconsistent with the timeline of data irregularities that occurred between November 26 and December 3.”

Today, 343/HCS came out with their ruling, stating that Royal2 violated the Cheating, Hacking, and Network Abuse rules from the Official Rules and the Code of Conduct. Royal2 will be suspended from HCS Competition until January 28th, 2022 and Sentinels will have to forfeit their Pool Play spot at the Raleigh Major as well as their HCS Points awarded from their first place finish in the Raleigh Qualifier and points received from the second NA Open Series.

You can read the official ruling from HCS here.