Third parties have been looking to sell their 2016 League of Legends All-Star votes at a price using QQ, a Tencent Media ID and login service needed to sign in to both play League of Legends and vote for China's All-Stars. However, a day after All-Star voting opened to the public, League of Legends' official weibo account, which is affiliated with Riot China and Tencent Games, assured its users that these vote manipulation methods will not work.
As soon as All-Star voting began Tuesday on League of Legends' QQ in China, the website started publicly tallying the total number of votes. Almost instantly, Chen “Mouse” Yuanhao, EDward Gaming’s top laner who received a high degree of ridicule from the fanbase for his World Championship performance, was surging well above his competition in vote totals. At present, he totals 1,394,572 votes, 517,130 votes above the next closest top laner which happens to be Tong “Koro1” Yang, his teammate and substitute.
After noticing the high vote count, LPL fans began questioning the voting process' authenticity. While it wasn’t clear why or if someone was manipulating the voting in favor of Mouse, it caused community members to look for evidence that the voting had been tampered with. Fans began posting screenshots of a third party on weibo, China’s primary social media platform, which advertised selling votes for All-Star candidates.
Team WE’s official weibo made a post on the topic, but later deleted it. Despite the weibo deletion, the article they linked to on the post that detailed their perspective remained published. In the post, Team WE detailed a conversation they had in private messages with an alleged vote manipulation vendor who offered to provide votes for top laner Ke "957" Changyu at a rate of 12.5 to 13.5 RMB (approximately $2 USD) per vote. The article includes screenshots of a Wechat (a Chinese mobile messaging service) conversation with the alleged vendor. WE ultimately declined the offer and urged its fans instead to support them directly by purchasing WE merchandise from their Taobao store (similar to eBay) instead of buying votes.
Taobao stores temporarily had ads advertising All-Stars vote manipulation services, but they have since been taken down.
Several complaints prompted the League of Legends official weibo to respond to fans claiming that the votes had been manipulated. Within the comments section of the official All-Stars announcement, the League of Legends weibo stated the following:
Friend, voting has level restrictions, and cannot be manipulated. Do not believe the information on the internet about vote manipulation services.
In a comment on another post, the weibo clarified:
I asked the technical staff, and your League of Legends account [tied to your QQ number] must be level 20 or higher before you can vote, so there is no way for the votes to be manipulated with this mechanism.
Riot’s statement suggests that, because of the restriction set to the voting process that requires League of Legends accounts tied to QQ numbers to be at least level 20, it would require the person behind the vote manipulation service to have access to multiple level 20+ accounts. These accounts are likely not cost-effective for the amount allegedly being charged by these providers as accounts go for more than $2 USD each when sold illegally.
Though there is ample evidence that vote manipulation services are being offered, and the community is suspicious of vote totals for some of the players, no clear evidence supports the notion that any of these services are genuine. Many fans still don’t believe the statements from the official League of Legends account, but a plausible method for getting around the QQ voting restriction has yet to be suggested.
Kelsey Moser is a staff writer for theScore esports. You can follow her on Twitter.