Updated on March 13, 4:16 p.m. (GMT+8): Added statement from LCK Secretary General on new offline game server, updated title.

Updated on March 4, 6:32 p.m. (GMT+8): Added statement from LCK Secretary General about solutions for the DDoS attacks.

Recent matches in the LCK Spring 2024 season are facing disruptions caused by persistent ping issues attributed to DDoS attacks.

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These disruptions lead to prolonged technical pauses, impacting players and fans, both online and on-site. Consequently, numerous matches are being postponed and instead, broadcasted via pre-recordings.

LCK Spring 2024 faces long technical pauses, match delays, and postponements due to DDoS attacks

On March 13, 2024, approximately three weeks following the onset of DDoS attacks, LCK Secretary General Aiden Lee announced the implementation of an offline game server at LoL Park, the venue for LCK matches.

This server operates independently of external networks, providing a secure environment for running LCK matches and serving as a proactive defense against future DDoS attacks.

In his statement, Aiden discussed the decision-making process regarding the introduction of the offline server, elaborating on why this option wasn’t initially considered. He highlighted Korea’s reputation for having one of the world’s best internet network environments as a key factor driving the LCK’s reliance on online servers.

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“A number of short-term measures, such as implementing an offline server inside LoL Park, have been applied,” he said. “We are looking at a more robust security system for the long term.”

On March 4, 2024, Aiden stated on X (formerly Twitter) that the LCK is continuing its pre-recorded broadcasts, changing its normal show time back to 5 p.m. KST | 4 p.m. GMT+8 | 12 a.m. PST | 8 a.m. GMT.

They eventually plan to move to live broadcasts without an audience, and then back to normal operations.

“The LCK has been executing a plan to move step-by-step toward normalization by securing the ability to resist the DDoS attacks,” Aiden said.

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Aiden also recognized the DDoS attacks targeting well-known local streamers such as Kim Min-kyo. He noted that these attacks differ in both pattern and scale compared to the ones against LCK.

He assured viewers that they are working closely with Riot Games to analyze the cause of these attacks and apply countermeasures.

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The disruption began on February 25, 2024, during the matches between DRX versus Dplus KIA, and OKSavingsBank BRION versus Kwangdong Freecs.

Despite expectations for the first series to last one and a half to two hours, typical for a best-of-three, it extended to over six hours due to technical pauses prompted by the attacks.

During the match, Dplus KIA’s top laner Hwang “Kingen” Seong-hoon disconnected from the game, prompting DRX players to report a sudden increase in ping.

LCK Spring 2024 on pause due to DDoS issues
Credit: LCK

Subsequently, matches involving OKSavingsBank BRION and Kwangdong Freecs were rescheduled and conducted online to prevent the recurrence of similar issues.

Affected teams competed from their respective accommodations, with the matches broadcasted through pre-recordings.

Even after network inspections and response measures by LCK management during the league’s rest days later that week, DDoS attacks persisted, disrupting broadcasts.

Notably, the T1 versus FearX series was postponed, with pre-recorded games broadcasted at 12:30 AM KST on February 29, 2024.

Due to these ongoing incidents, the LCK management opted to switch to pre-recorded matches for the remainder of Week 6 to mitigate the impact of continuous DDoS attacks.

Additionally, ticket holders for affected matches are to receive full refunds, and ticket sales are halted until further notice.

What are DDoS attacks in esports?

LCK Spring 2024 DDoS attacks official statement
Credit: LCK

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks happen when a bunch of computers flood a website or an online service with so much traffic that it can’t handle it, causing it to slow down or even crash.

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In the context of online esports matches, a DDoS attack disrupts the game by overwhelming the game server or players’ internet connections with bogus traffic.

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This can lead to lagging gameplay or even disconnections, ruining the experience for everyone involved, akin to trying to play a game of soccer while someone keeps interfering, making it impossible to have a fair match.

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READ MORE: LCK Spring 2024: Schedule, results, format, where to watch