Ahead of the beginning of the Spring Split of the North America League Championship Series on January 20, Riot have released a primer going over all of the major rule changes going into the 2017 season.
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Changes are coming to the arbitration process, following an accusation of someone violating the LCS rules. Riot will provide an independent body to deal with ruleset violations, with teams able to present their own evidence and examine the evidence presented against them, via an experienced and impartial arbitrator. This new arbitration process will only be available for judgements which would result in a fine of over $10,000 USD or a suspension of one of more games.
To give fans more opportunities to show support for their favourite team, Riot are attempting to increase the amount of digital goods fans can buy. This should extend past simple summoner icons and to show their commitment to this digital goods policy, every NA LCS team will gain a $50,000 minimum revenue split of new digital products, on top of anything they already make from summoner icons.
As head coach is now an official position within the NA LCS, Riot will be extending contract security and support to coaches, hoping to protect them from being poached by other teams. To that effect, Riot has also added an “inactive roster” to NA LCS teams, allowing teams to keep hold of out of region players while they are going through visa processing for example. Teams still have a ten player maximum, but it can now be split among their starting roster, their reserve roster and their inactive roster.
Prize pools have also been raised to $200,000 per split to combat the rising cost of salaries and minimum compensation requirements and the Challenger Series has undergone one big change, with unaffiliated teams gaining priority to compete in a Promotion tournament over affiliated teams. Only three out of the six slots in the Challenger Series can now be occupied by NA LCS affiliated teams, in order to stop the talent pool being dominated by pre-established names.
Speaking of Promotion tournaments, those will now operate under a best of five, double elimination structure, with the top two from the Challenger Series and the bottom two of the Championship Series being invited to participate at the end of the Spring Split. If you win two matches, you are through to the LCS but if you lose two, back down to Challenger you go.
All of the information about these rule changes, including changes to the NA LCS schedule can be found on Riot’s official LoL eSports site.