In a blog post on the League of Legends website entitled “Riot Pls”, Rioters Banksy and ScuttleChris came out and shared a bit more insight into what happens behind the scenes at Riot Games and, specifically, what is and isn’t prioritized at the moment with regards to League of Legends. The post is long (by the internet’s attention span standards anyway) but it’s worth a read.
The post starts with a bit of “landscaping”. “When we first started working on League, our optimistic target was to support 20,000 players” reads the foreword, and saying that they need a “very, very different” architecture to support the now 67+ million players is an understatement. This is where their first priority, one that they haven’t really talked about with their players, comes into discussion: “paying off [their] tech debt”. They started with low expectations, they had immense success and now, even though they patched their infrastructure (in the “trousers have tears and they need fixing” kinda way), they have to make it support their huge player base. Meanwhile, they are trying to give the players an enjoyable time with what they have. They do that with constant patches, events, new champions, new customization options, featured game modes and so on.
After laying down the overview Banksy and ScuttleChris go on to talk about what exactly Riot is and isn’t working on. And they start with the bad news. Two things are not being worked on. A replay feature (for now) and a Sandbox mode.
- The replay feature was promised since launch and it was exhibited on the Public Beta Environment (the testing server) but they soon realized, as stated above, that they couldn’t do it because of the technical demands of a rising player base. They are aware that they made it look like “[replays would] be on the way Soon™.” but until the tech debt is paid it is highly unlikely.
- The Sandbox mode, which (for example) would allow players to practice different skills without being constrained by cooldowns or try out new content, is in a way contradictory with their vision of what League of Legends should be. “We never want to see a day when a player wants to improve at League and their first obligation is to hop into a Sandbox.” says the post. They do not want to take the risk of “Sandbox mode ‘grinding’ becoming an expectation”. So no, Sandbox mode will not be coming to League of Legends.
The good news, the things that they are focusing on, are a lot more than the bad ones. They are focusing on a new client, on bringing Ranked Team Builder, building a better community, and “getting on that content train”.
- The new client is under the “Soon” trademark. After a bit of radio silence since they promised the new client, they will finally release it for testing on the PBE starting next season. The new client will be “more reliable, more responsive and less buggy” and they are building it so that different Riot dev teams can add different features to it;
- The ranked Team Builder is expected to also roll out with the 2016 season and it will include a “fill” option, but no “feed” option (damn!);
- They are also “exploring a whole bunch of features to help you connect and play with new and existing friends online, even when your skill levels are pretty different.” What this means exactly, remains to be seen;
- Finally, they will bring more and more content to League of Legends. More events, like the Bilgewater: Burning Tides one, more mid-season changes, more storytelling in different mediums, like comics, music videos, novellas, etc. and higher quality updates are underway.
But, what’s most exciting, at least in my opinion, is that Riot Games is starting to be more transparent about what goes on behind League of Legends. A developer who shares their behind-the-scenes with their players and who takes their players into consideration when building their game is always bound to succeed. This first edition of “Riot Pls” is the start of something good for the League of Legends community.
If you’re interested in more details about Riot’s priorities at the moment, I highly recommend reading Riot Pls.