Steam issues cause two hour-long delay at EPL, frustrations ensue *
Update 11:21 : Ulrich "theflyingdj" Schulze, SVP of Game Ecosystems at ESL, has reached out to HLTV.org to clarify that the issue experienced by s1mple during the match was caused by a Steam exploit rather than PC or technical issues on ESL's end. HLTV.org had made three different inquiries with ESL referees and staff during the match, and were only informed of it being a technical issue with no further details at the time of this article's publication.
"I don't think people knew at the time," Mr. Schulze said when asked for an explanation on the change in account. "It looks like it was an external attack targeted at individual players, which we were able to stop when we identified the issue. We have made Valve aware and are taking steps to prevent it from happening again."
The final match of the round of 12 at ESL Pro League Season 16 is still underway, nearly five hours after it first began. The first two maps, Mirage and Inferno, went off without a hitch and offered some thrilling Counter-Strike between the world's No. 2 and No. 12 teams, either side winning their own map picks 16-14 to force an Overpass decider.
When the third map began though, issues were immediately apparent as s1mple experienced lag in the first round, causing a restart as just thirty seconds had elapsed and no damage had been done. Less then five minutes later, the match resumed, and Natus Vincere took the pistol round and ensuing anti-eco to go up 2-0.
Another PC issue followed for s1mple in the first gun round, mere moments after René "TeSeS" Madsen scored an opening kill on Denis "electroNic" Sharipov in playground. Valeriy "b1t" Vakhovskiy and Viktor "sdy" Orudzhev could also be seen experiencing stuttering, but Heroic still picked up another entry kill and picked off two more Natus Vincere players before the round came to an end.
Another tech pause ensued, far more lengthy than the previous. Nearly twenty minutes later, the match once again resumed. On broadcast, Matthew "Sadokist" Trivett explained that the primary issue raised by Natus Vincere was not that they lost the round — they were aware too much damage had been done — but rather that players were then hunted down afterward, leaving the team with just one gun left in their hands and their economy crushed.
NAVI manager Alexander "Lk" Lemeshev stated on Twitter that coach Andrey "B1ad3" Gorodenskiy had informed admins the issue would happen again, with HLTV.org understanding that it was said after the second pause occurred.
One more round played out before again. s1mple was seen lagging on broadcast, resulting in a stoppage of play for the fourth time. This one lasted almost double the length of the first, with frustration visibly building in the Natus Vincere camp both on stream and in-person.
Once play finally resumed, NAVI won two more rounds to bring the score up to 5-3 before once again s1mple was witnessed lagging, causing yet another pause. Now, over two hours after the first pause occurred, play seems to be resuming after ESL swapped out s1mple's PC and had three players swap to different Steam accounts, but neither camp is happy as it is over an hour past midnight.