After an official investigation, Halo Championship Series team has suspended Sentinels player Mathew “Royal2” Fiorante until Jan. 28, 2022 for server manipulation. This means Sentinels’ Halo Infinite roster is down a player for the upcoming HCS Raleigh tournament.
In addition to finding a new player, Sentinels have lost 3,660 points used for seeding and finals qualification during the HCS season in addition to their first-place position in the pool play portion of Raleigh. The other players on the team are allowed to compete, however, as the HCS named Royal2 the main culprit.
NA Official HCS Competitive Ruling: https://t.co/YPHTFMcbG4
— Halo Esports #HCS (@HCS) December 12, 2021
According to HCS, its investigation began on Dec. 3 after the qualifying tournament was delayed for over four hours. The HCS team stated in their ruling that multiple players from other teams brought up these issues, linking it to Sentinels. After looking into the Sentinels players’ streams, the HCS team “categorized the perceived changes and abnormalities in player pings directly in the game client.”
After further investigation, the team found out that just before the open tournament started up until the end of the Kickoff Qualifiers, Royal2 played on a different NA server: westus2. This server seemed to be the only one available for Royal2, meaning everyone had to play on it despite the increased ping everyone else would have to experience.
The internal development team at HCS then recreated a popular method to remove servers from a players’ accessible servers. In their replication, their data matched the data Royal2 had, while it did not match for all other Sentinels players. After confirming there were no server outages on those days, the HCS team made the decision that Royal2 must have manipulated the servers available to him.
After giving Sentinels a chance to explain themselves, the HCS team found their evidence lacking.
After this ruling went live, players on Sentinels voiced their disagreement. Player Tony “LethuL” Campbell Jr. tweeted that Sentinels were “100% not going” to Raleigh after this ruling.
We are 100% not going
— Ricky Spanish (@LxthuL) December 12, 2021
Head coach Chris “Royal1” Fiorante also shared his feeling that the HCS investigation ignored evidence submitted by Sentinels that could have cleared Royal2 of any guilt. He added that the team found out about it first from Twitter before receiving any other form of communication.
We live in a world where you can be accused of something you didn’t do, show proof and evidence you didn’t do it, fully comply with all of the investigation, and then just have the investigator ignore all of your evidence and make their own decision. DISGUSTING
— SEN Royal1 (@Chris_Royal1) December 12, 2021
An official comment on this ruling from Sentinels has yet to be released.
Update (12/12, 7:43 p.m. ET): Later Sunday night, Royal2 released a statement on Twitter admitting fault for manipulating servers. He claims to have been experiencing high ping during the launch of Halo: Infinite on the central server, so he changed his settings, failing to switch them back for the NA Kickoff Qualifier.
“I understand the issues my oversight caused for the qualifier,” Royal2 said. “I truly did not realize the impact this decision would have, and for that I am deeply sorry and apologize to my fans and wish my teammates the best of luck in Raleigh.”