If you keep up with the current trends regarding e-sports, particularly tournaments and leagues organized by Riot Games, you already know that constant changes and new rules are part of the deal. Besides making certain tweaks in their competitions to raise the quality of teams and battles, Riot Games also tightened the rules around player’s region residency for major League of Legends leagues including LCS 2017. These changes will make it more difficult for players to move from one area to another.
The Interregional Movement Policy (IMP) was established back in 2014, and its primary aim was to preserve and create more opportunities for homegrown talent in their own regions and thus create a healthy and functional balance of homegrown and imported players. The official announcement states that under the current system it’s highly likely that by the end of this year, four out of five starting players within some team will be imported. Unfortunately, having that many imported players in the team in some region, puts homegrown players in an unfavorable position and prevents them to showcase their talent as well. This fact propelled Riot Games to make the changes regarding the Interregional Movement Policy.
What changes did they make?
According to the official announcement, the IMP still requires teams to field up to two players that are non-residents of some region. Also, every team should have at least three residents in the starting line-up. Below, you can see significant IMP changes:
- The time that current non-residents have to reside in a given region to be classified as an IMP resident increased from two to four years
- Future non-residents won’t be able to earn their IMP status through the time spent residing in a country. Instead, the status will be based on prerequisites like citizenship
Now you’re probably wondering what does all this mean? Well, the new rules dictate that future imported players won’t be able to become IMP residents just by residing in some country. They will have to make a credible and legitimate commitment to the region by getting a lawful and permanent citizenship status. For example, if you’d want to move from Europe to the United States, to get the IMP status, you’ll have to ensure US citizenship.
The primary reason why Riot Games decided to make these, seemingly drastic, changes is because market evolved immensely. With the evolution of the market and tournaments in general, more players come to the scene. The rules established in 2014, became outdated and created an unhealthy and unfair balance between imported and homegrown players.
However, the new rules will increase the time necessary for the current non-residents to get what they need for their IMP status.
Besides these necessary changes regarding the residency of the players, Riot Games introduced more alterations, such as:
- A player can only be an IMP resident of a single region at any point in time
- Players already classified as IMP residents will be able to retain their residency status, regardless of the legal or citizenship status. The rules dictate that a player who has inherited the IMP status in a region because all requirements were met successfully, but is a citizen of some other region, they have the opportunity to switch to IMP resident status in the latter region at any given time
- Players with lawful permanent residential status in multiple regions can’t be IMP residents of all these regions simultaneously. If a player claims IMP residency in one region, but wants to switch to another, it is necessary to participate in at least 50% of regular season matches of their team.
One thing is for sure, officials who work in Riot Games are working hard to implement new changes that aim to improve the quality of competition but also to give all players equal opportunity to show what they’re made of. The rules regarding the IMP will be difficult to digest for most people, especially imported players who aspire to play in other regions, but the changes are implemented only to create a healthy balance and prevent the unprivileged position of homegrown players in their own regions.
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About the Author: Amna El Tawil is a news reporter and a technology blogger. For the past five years, she has worked for major publications and TV networks in the Middle East, covering one of region’s hotspots. When Amna is not chasing after the truth amidst gas canisters, she can be found cheering her favorite football team on, or unwinding with some online gaming.