No beta for you! Riot Games blocks VPN access to League of Legends: Wild Rift

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The company behind the popular online game League of Legends is taking a tougher stance against users of virtual private networks (VPNs).

Riot Games says many people accessing the beta version of League of Legends: Wild Rift via a VPN from regions where the game is not yet legally available will no longer be able to do so.

At the moment, the Wild Rift beta has been released only in a handful of Asian countries: Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. 

But according to a Riot Games blog post, large numbers of people have been trying to access the game from other countries, using VPNs to disguise their locations. Riot Games claims that this VPN use has caused a range of problems. 

“In order to protect the best in-game experience, we’re making a few changes to VPN logins across all our games, with the biggest impact being on Wild Rift,” wrote Landon McDowell, director of technical operations at Riot Games. 

“It’s become increasingly clear that a ton of you… FAR more than we expected… want to play the Wild Rift beta. As we’ve been monitoring the in-game experience, we’ve noticed a range of problems in games that include players who have used a VPN to log in from outside the beta regions.

"These issues range from an inconvenience (like language barriers) to outright game-breaking problems (like unplayable lag spikes for everyone — not just the players on VPN).”

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Finding a solution

McDowell went on to explain that Riot Games considered different ways to solve these issues and decided that blocking VPN access was the most effective solution. 

“We’ve explored ways to protect the game experience for the largest number of players and concluded the best solution is to prevent VPN access from the highest volume VPN services outside the beta regions, effective immediately," McDowell wrote. "We’ll continue to evaluate whether additional VPN services need to be added to the list.”

In other words, not all VPN services will be blocked quite yet -- only those that are bringing the largest numbers of out-of-region players into Wild Rift. McDowell didn't specify which services those were, but he admitted that this wasn’t an easy choice for the games developer to make.

“It kills us to turn off access to anyone, but we think this is the right move to make sure players in the beta can enjoy Wild Rift the way it was intended to be played.”

The VPN block affects only users accessing the game from non-supported regions. Those who live in the official beta regions will be able to keep using VPN services while playing the game. 

“We’re working to get Wild Rift available worldwide as quickly as possible but we don’t have anything more to share on timing yet," McDowell added. "Believe us that we hate cutting off access to anyone, but we think this is the right move to provide the best experience to the largest number of players.”

Nicholas Fearn is a freelance technology journalist and copywriter from the Welsh valleys. His work has appeared in publications such as the FT, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, The Next Web, T3, Android Central, Computer Weekly, and many others. He also happens to be a diehard Mariah Carey fan!