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The Future of the Client Update

New client features, updates on the beta, and saying goodbye to the old stuff.

By cCc Grumbles cCc & Cactopus

Welcome to Ask Riot!

In this very special edition of Ask Riot, we’re talking exclusively about the updated League of Legends client—and what happens next for the old one.

How long will the client update beta last? What happens when it ends?

For a refresher on why we’re updating the client, see here.

Right now the plan is to wrap things up a few months into 2017, but we don’t yet have a specific date for the end of the beta. We’ve decided that we won’t exit beta until we’re confident we’re offering a smooth and responsive client experience for all players. You know that sentence mattered a lot because we italicized it.

There are four main things our developers are focusing on during the beta:

  • Optimizing performance (our top priority)
  • Squashing bugs
  • Adding missing client features
  • Minor yet necessary quality of life improvements (think of things like the “low-spec mode” we just added)

Once we’ve met these goals, we’ll flip the big switch to end the beta, and every player’s client will automatically upgrade itself the next time they launch League. That means that when beta ends, we’ll officially stop supporting the legacy client. In the meantime, the legacy client will still work as normal (although new features like Replays and Practice Tool will be exclusive to the updated client).

In the patches prior to the end of the beta, every player’s legacy client will download pieces of the necessary files. That way it won’t come at you as a single massive download on the day we flip the switch.

cCc Grumbles cCc & Cactopus

I like the legacy client the way it is. Why can’t Riot support both the legacy client and the updated client after the beta ends?

One of the biggest reasons we’re replacing the legacy client is so Rioters can get faster at shipping features players want. The legacy client’s old, outdated tech holds back our developers from making new features in a timely manner. The reasons are complicated, but the short and simple explanation is that the updated client runs on newer, more stable technology that lets Rioters make code changes without tripping over each other.

Throughout the client update alpha and beta we’ve had to develop features for both the old, slow-as-hell (development-wise) legacy client and the updated client. That’s twice the work for every feature, which just isn’t sustainable in the long term. By fully replacing the legacy client, however, Rioters will finally be unlocked to work on the new features players have been demanding.

By the way, this is also the main reason we can’t yet focus our attention on major new client features that players have suggested. (That sentence was bold. I bet even people who were skimming this article read it.) Putting time and resources into new features now would keep us in beta for longer, which means slower, less efficient overall development in the long run.

cCc Grumbles cCc & Cactopus

Why are some features still missing from the updated client? When are item sets and public chat coming back?

Updating the client using new technology actually requires us to rebuild all of the legacy client’s feature from scratch. We’ve rebuilt the lobby, the store, champ select, the friends list, clubs, your profile pages, all of it. We had to go through and remake these features one by one. Even this month we’ve still been working our way down the list, finally re-launching friend spectate, gifting notifications, and rotating game modes.

When we first began work on the client update, we had to decide what order to build things in. Some features naturally fell to the bottom of the list based on data we gather about which client features players actually use. The features at the bottom of this list were public chat and the item set creator tool.

Those features likely won’t make it into the client during the beta, but that doesn’t mean we’re ruling out working on the features at some point in the future. Some players really like public chat and the item set creator, so it would make sense to rebuild them (or some improved replacement for them) in the future. All we’re saying now is that we can’t let those two minor features hold us in the beta. Remember, the longer we stay in beta, the longer we have to continue supporting both clients, which means tons of other work at Riot would get slowed down.

So, here’s your update on item sets and public chat: We can’t yet officially commit to rebuilding them because we haven’t finished the client beta. It just wouldn’t be wise to promise those features without actually having developers assigned to the task of creating them. That said, item set users should know that you still have access to the feature: item sets you’ve already made still work when you use the updated client. You’re also free to edit them by launching the legacy client—although you have to then launch a custom game using the champion with your created item set in order to save the item set file. It’s sort of janky, but it works.

We’ve heard players’ demands on this, so we’ll have more to say about our plans for public chat and the item set creator tool in the January edition of The Client Open Beta Update.

We’ll hang out in the comments below to answer any other questions you have!

cCc Grumbles cCc & Cactopus

Have a question? Head over to Ask Riot and sign into your League account. Check out the Pro Tips, then ask away.

We promise to read every question, but we can’t guarantee they’ll all get answers. Some questions may already be answered elsewhere, and some won’t be right for Ask Riot. This isn’t the best place to announce new features, for example, and we might skip conversations on issues we’ve talked about in depth before (though we can clarify individual points).

We are listening, though, so keep asking. We’ll make sure your questions are heard by the Rioters working on the stuff you’re curious about.

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