The Secret League of Legends Server
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The Secret League of Legends Server

What’s up guys it’s me Jeremy. We all have our own servers we play on, be
it North America, Europe, Korea or perhaps the PBE. But there is another League of Legends server
that isn’t actually available to the public. This server is called the Tournament Realm. Perhaps you might know about the existence
of the Tournament Realm – the secret League of Legends server – but very few ever get
the chance to actually play on it. As a result you might tend to assume it’s
the same as the conventional League servers but is mostly kept private for use by tournaments
and the LCS, but in reality there are quite a few differences that you might not expect. One of the most common misunderstandings about
the Tournament Realm is that it’s accessed using the Tournament Code feature on any normal
server – but that feature in question actually behaves more like a specialised custom game
lobby. The Tournament Realm is completely separate
from the regular gameservers, to the point where you actually need a separate client
and account to play on it. Players in major tournaments like IEM or the
LCS are given links under a loose NDA directly from Riot to where they can download a copy
of the Tournament Realm client – this link is kept secret and changed often to avoid
it being leaked to the average player base. This means useage is entirely limited to professional
players, and a handful of amateur players that require access for tournament qualifiers. This might suggest that the Tournament Realm
isn’t a live server and is LAN-exclusive, but we actually know that’s not the case. After the release of Dynamic Queue, pro players
complained that high ELO matchmaking was a total mess, which lead to them using the Tournament
Realm to soloqueue against each other. This tells us that although the Tournament
Realm is always online, there’s simply no way to access it unless Riot has specifically
sent you the download link and provided you with an account. Notably Riot only laid down one rule for pro
players that wanted to use the Tournament Realm to set up their own little matchmaking
system – they were not permitted to stream games on it, which pretty much serves as a
testament to how secretive Riot are when it comes to the Tournament Realm. But it also goes to show that the Tournament
Realm can be used for more than just professional LAN Matches, although it is used for those
as well. If you ever managed to get hold of a Tournament
Realm account, there would be a few things you’d immediately notice. For starters, pretty much everything is unlocked. All the champions are ready to be used without
purchase, and most cosmetic items are also available, but with a few notable exceptions. There are actually a multitude of skins that
are disabled to use on this server, and with good reason; they either confuse the spectator
experience, or they are seen as giving a slight advantage to players. A well known example of this was perhaps Steel
Legion Lux, whose abilities were quite a bit harder to see, at least compared to her other
skins, and as a result was disabled on this server among many other skins as well. Riot recently started doing quite a few ‘VFX
Clarity’ updates to some of these skins, so more skins are available today on the Tournament
Realm than in the past. It’s quite difficult to piece together exactly
which skins are banned or useable on the Tournament Realm as Riot occasionally fixes one or adds
a new skin to the list, and they also are quite secretive in keeping the full list quiet
from the public. From the few Rioters I contacted about this
information, all of them came back to me and said that they were unavailable to release
the list because the people who had the authority to decide to share that information had decided
keep the list private. The Tournament Realm is also what allows Riot
to setup features such as the Ekko Rewind thing we’ve seen before, without potentially
risking any bugs entering the normal game. These features are exclusive to the Tournament
realm, and the Rewind feature was just one of which there may be many, and certainly
more to come. It also seems likely that Riot has the ability
to use the Tournament Realm on a local connection, since larger tournaments are played on LAN
to remove the influence of network lag during a competition. And if it wasn’t clear, the LAN tournaments
that make up all of League Esports are played on the Tournament Realm. This also makes it quite likely that Tournament
Realm users have the option to connect to multiple servers, or even a custom server,
because LAN events occur all over the world. There still must be an active online server
in addition to the LAN functionality though, since without it pro players wouldn’t have
been able to use matchmaking on the Tournament Realm without being in the same place as one
other. League of Legends games played over Local
Area Networks typically have around 7-8 ping as reported by professional players – you
might expect the server 1 ping or even 0, but there actually will always be some form
of delay even on a local connection. Having said that, 7 or 8 is still incredibly
responsive and is a big reason why so many NA and EU teams like to boot camp in South
Korea. Not only is the competition there more challenging,
but Korea’s internet infrastructure is super advanced, with most players all over the country
having around 10 or 11 ping, regardless of how good their internet is. For an online connection that’s insanely
good, and it provides pros a much more realistic practice environment, similar to what they’d
expect when playing over LAN on the Tournament Realm, compared to having to play with 30
or 40, sometimes as much as 60, maybe even more ping depending on where they live and
which server they are connecting to. Either way, that just about wraps up all of
the information I was able to find about the Tournament Realm. It’s quite an interesting server to look
at, considering it’s what pros play the LCS on. So I hope you enjoyed this inside look, and
I’ll see you guys next time.


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