ESIC shares stance on coach bug variants, announces incoming ban wave
Almost two years after the investigation into coaching bug abuse began, ESIC is ready to present its latest findings on recently discovered new variants of the exploit.
- Three distinct variants of the bug were identified
- Abuse of free-roam variant deemed equal to cheating
- 134 people were impacted in total
- Three coaches will be suspended from PGL Major
ESIC has released an interim statement, listing the three known variants of the infamous coaching bug which saw 37 coaches banned in September 2020 and explaining their stance on how it is going to deal out punishment based on the new findings.
In recent weeks it has come to light that more versions of the coaching bug have been found and that a significant number of coaches were involved in their use, on top of the 37 previously banned for their abuse of the original version, which allowed a coach to view a part of the map in real time and gain an unfair advantage.
Among these new versions was a third-person variant, thanks to which a coach who found himself in the bug could view angles the spectated player couldn't see (such as behind corners). Due to this only happening one round at a time and not being enforceable by anyone involved, the ESIC Commissioner deemed this version as "posing a relatively low risk to competitive integrity," but stressed that he will seek to apply a penalty to those who didn't "adequately deal with the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage."
There was however an even more serious free-roam variant that enabled the coach to fly around the map with complete control, which has been deemed equal to cheating by ESIC and, as a result, which will be met with much more serious punishment.
ESIC has revealed some shocking numbers in regards to the volume of people who have been affected by these bugs. In total, 84 coaches were affected by the original 'static' bug, including the 37 who had previously been banned, while 47 were found to have been affected by the third-person variant, and 3 were found to have been affected by the free-roam variant.
The esports watchdog has yet to reveal any names and exact punishments it will hand out, but with the help of a mid-April report by Dexerto and another by Jaxon we've come to know two coaches who were found to have encountered at least one of these new variants: Damien "maLeK" Marcel and Luis "peacemaker" Tadeu.
The latter is currently listed as Imperial's coach in the upcoming PGL Major Antwerp. ESIC has stated that three participants of the Major will be provisionally suspended for their involvement in "serious variants" of the coaching bug.
ESIC has only revealed the methodology it will use when handing out bans to offenders. For the static version, the same sanctions matrix that was utilized when banning the first 37 coaches will be used, while for the third-person variant the coaches will be banned for 30 days per round in which they were found in the bug.
As for the free-roam version, it will be dealt with in accordance with article 2.4.4 and 2.4.5 of ESIC's Code of Conduct, which is reserved for cheating offenses and may carry a sanction of up to 24 months.