Riot Explains League Of Legends Downtime, Huge Queues

By Nathan Grayson on June 23rd, 2012 at 10:00 am.

Let it all out, tiny mummy. This week, we feel your pain.
It hasn’t been a good week for League of Legends. Between all the ups and downs and incredibly long (multiple hour) queues, Riot’s flagship has been looking less like a MOBA and more like a theme park rollercoaster. North American servers, especially, have been out-and-out unavailable for hours at a time, and players, naturally, have felt quite a tingling in their pitchfork-and-torch regions. To its credit, however, Riot’s gone on record explaining the situation in full.

The developer broke down the breakdown of its servers in a recent forum post:

“We are painfully aware of the problems many of you have been experiencing: 1) Extended outages: The North American service has been unavailable for significant stretches of time. 2) Long queue times: We’ve had to throttle logins and concurrent players due to these issues. 3) We’ve also confirmed that some players are missing content: runes, rune pages, champions, etc.”

“This is frustrating for you, and we feel that frustration deeply. This isn’t the service you’ve come to expect and it isn’t what we want to deliver. It’s been code red for engineering and support Rioters, and we’ve been working literally around the clock to identify and resolve these problems.”

Riot went on to explain the root of the problem, which stems from a recent patch. Apparently, rigorous testing – the same that all LoL patches are subject to – didn’t catch this issue, and it only struck the moment the patch went live. Specifically, Riot notes that accurately simulating millions of players accessing something at once is a truly herculean task, but it’ll make sure to come up with a better solution in the future. For now, though, the developer can only ask for patience.

“Over the last 48 hours, we’ve made substantial hardware configuration changes that we believe will address the problems. We’re actively monitoring the service, but we’re still not out of the woods. I know the thing you want to hear most is when everything’s going to be back to normal. I’d love to give you a timeframe, but we want to be absolutely confident in our solution before signaling the all-clear. Our number one priority is restoration of a stable game experience.”

So it’s a frustrating situation, but Riot’s at least handling it admirably. For now, your best bet appears to be monitoring this Twitter feed and, of course, the big bad forum thread of ultimate sadness. We’ll do the same and keep you posted.

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57 Comments »

  1. Toberoth says:

    They should stop working literally around the clock and work on their servers instead. Unless their servers are situated around a giant clock.

    /pedantry

  2. caddyB says:

    Never played LoL, simply because I’m liable to spending all my money on skins and heroes and then not having enough money to eat.

    These games are made for people like me. People like me should never play these games.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Well, you don’t need to spend money on characters at least, and you’ll only want to buy the skins you think that look decent on the ones you play a fair bit anyway. Plus they have 50% sales on at least three skins at any one time.
      Actually, that’s probably not helping.

      • Slurpy says:

        The first one is always . . . well, not free, but often half-off.

    • j1yeon says:

      Haha. Some of the skins are so damn tempting. I’ve only bought a couple so far, but I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon.

      • vivlo says:

        i would buy only one skin, Gukin Sonna, and it was a limited-in-time edition, which is time long over now. At the time i thought ‘meh won’t us emoney for a skin !’ and now i regret.

        • liance says:

          Guqin Sona isn’t limited edition – all the Chinese New Year skins were made available as normal skins.

    • Squishpoke says:

      To be fair, League of Legends has the worst game design since Football.

  3. Funso Banjo says:

    At least we’ll get some freebies as a result.

    Riot are a pain, but they do like to give free stuff every time they screw up like this. I have about £20 worth of characters now that are a result of them screwing up and then giving out “I’m sorry” compensationary freebies.

    • bit_crusherrr says:

      I remember when LoL Europe was like this. Constant downtime, massive queues. Rarely got any I’m sorry gifts though. I remember we were going to get some RP as a sorry for a huge downtime, as well as LoL players worldwide getting RP because they broke a record for most viewers on a stream or something. American players complained which resulted in the EU players not getting the compensation promised.

    • misterT0AST says:

      I’ve been especially waiting for them to screw up to get a skin.
      It’s a tough world we live in.

  4. Tolkfan says:

    This could all be solved by making an offline mode with bots. Disgusting always-online DRM, just disgusting…

    • Shiri says:

      Despite the sarcasm, this actually probably would help, the amount of people that would probably just host their own servers and fight bots with their friends LAN-style is pretty substantial.

      • PodX140 says:

        DOTA 2 has this, but, AFAIK, it still requires an internet connection as all the logic is handled on server.

        And on your point of people playing with bots: Very unlikely. They’re fine to test out a new hero, maybe play a fun game or two, but if you thought bad players were rage inducing, there’s nothing like seeing a friendly bot tower dive with no hp and not attacking, simply because. And no amount of screaming at that bot will help is what makes it worse.

        Honestly, the bots in Dota 2 are exceptional, but even then, when they screw up or fail to do such a simple tactic that a human could easily co-ordinate, it’s absolutely blood boiling (at least to me, YMMV).

        • Vorphalack says:

          Honestly the bots in DotA 2 are even more rage inducing. I find it easier to try new champions in a live game these days. Most players can’t play half as well as an easy enemy bot, while even the most green DotA player can outclass a friendly unfair bot.

          • Ringwraith says:

            The bots in LoL aren’t too bad, nothing like real players of course, but they understand the principles of ganking and whatnot.
            Probably the worst thing about them is that they cheat, as they get their items on a timer, so they can easily have a full build about 30/40 minutes in.

          • Premium User Badge

            Malibu Stacey says:

            Agree with Vorpalhack 100%. The bots are infuriating at times. The enemy can chain all 5 heroes abilities to military precision to gank you even on Easy while the same bots on your own team are utterly incompetent at basic gameplay.

            Having said that they are being improved over time as the game is still in beta. They were much worse 6 months ago.

            Learning new heroes is best done vs bots but with human players on your team (use the “Find a co-op match option). Whether that’s a hero VALVe have just implemented or one you’ve never played before regardless.

          • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

            Bots in LoL don’t gank at all. They just switch lanes is theirs is empty or another is pushed which may sometimes look like ganking.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Well, I know the custom game bots just lane all match. At least the co-op match ones move around a lot more.

          • PodX140 says:

            Yeah, Vor has it on the money. It’s not bad because they all suck, it’s bad because YOUR team sucks, and the enemy team is this super precise machine of death.

            I once played a normal botmatch where enemy team was all level 12, I was level 11, the rest of my team was around level 4-5.

        • Premium User Badge

          Malibu Stacey says:

          VALVe have said that Dota 2 will have LAN support in the future but they’re busy working on getting the main features into the game first.

    • lionheart says:

      homme de paille

    • Montoli says:

      I find it hard to work up umbrage about “always on DRM” for games that are already free to play and freely distributed. DRM is usually only used by places that actually worry about piracy. And places only worry about piracy if they actually sell the game and count on that as a revenue stream.

  5. c4llum says:

    i’m on the eu west servers and i haven’t had any problems – just played a game actually. I do hope they give me some free stuff though for all the trouble they are putting me through.

  6. DickSocrates says:

    I can’t believe these humans making this game aren’t perfect. They should be shot for depriving kids of the game they play obsessively.

  7. smokingkipper says:

    Yes, how dare they restrict our access to their free game!

  8. Tei says:

    Growing pains :D

  9. Blizniak says:

    “Riot’s flagship has been looking less like a MOBA” and more like Lords Management.

  10. Shandrakor says:

    North America’s been absolutely borked. If I can’t play it daily, I might forget about it…. Which is why Coke never stops advertising.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Malibu Stacey says:

    Meanwhile over at VALVe HQ.

  12. Ergates_Antius says:

    As soon as the issues hit, they should have rolled back the patch. This is Live Service 101 – if your change fucks up the system, undo it.

    • trjp says:

      Not always possible tho – which you’d realise if you knew what you were talking about :)

      The solution is to run a free public test server(s) – this usually finds the issues that in-house testing never could.

      Rolling-back is something you only ever do if you’re really, really fucked – and as this is just a game, that wouldn’t really be the case would it? You’ve not just taken a major utility company offline! * reminisces*

      • hilltop says:

        Your post would probably rankle less if you put less energy into blatant insults followed by insincerity :)

        • trjp says:

          I didn’t post to make anyone feel better about themselves – his comment suggested he ‘knew what he was talking about’ but the content suggested otherwise.

          I’ve no idea how people get such a simplified idea of how computers work – “just roll it back” is like saying “buy an umbrella” to people who’s houses are flooded…

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            For most operational configuration changes, rollback on notable problem is the norm.

            For this kind of highly integrated complex service, it’s a bit more tricky.

            See, you can say it without being awful and without being wrong.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            If you’re making a change to a live system and you don’t have a backout plan then you’re incompetent, no excuses. “Not always possible” doesn’t wash, and if that’s your attitude, I serious hope you don’t work with anything important.

            “…is like saying “buy an umbrella” to people who’s houses are flooded…”
            No. It’s like saying “Maybe you should have found out where the stop-cock was before you started sawing through that pipe” to someone who’s just flooded their house.

            Oh, and for future reference, giving the impression that you’re reminiscing about a time you took a “major utility company” offline doesn’t exactly lend weight to your claim to be someone who knows what they’re talking about.

      • Faxmachinen says:

        Actually no, the solution is to design your system so that rolling back is easy. Databases have been doing it for well over thirty years.

    • Yuri says:

      Actually, they did roll back.
      Then worked on stuff.
      Then patched again and got the last bugs in a lower frequency, but new bugs in higher frequency.

      The have the Public Beta Realm for testing purposes, which has had the same patch for several weeks without any issues.

      Right now they’ve got a pretty big amount of new content (new map, bunch of new skins, a new legendary skin, new champion around the corner) that they can’t seem to release because the groundwork for them was supposed to be the last patch – which utterly f**ked the game.

      Ironically, the EU East servers did not get that patch (for obvious reasons), but they still had a bit of downtime a few days ago.

  13. Unaco says:

    Out(r)age!

  14. ShineyBlueShoes says:

    What a crazy idea, why not roll back the patch that caused all of this until you figure it out and see if that works.

    • Yuri says:

      They did. See several comments above.

      • Montoli says:

        Woah! It’s almost like the trained professionals who are intimately familiar with the problem in question know as much as random internet thread-goers, offering armchair diagnostics!

        Crazy!

  15. j1yeon says:

    Re-downloading HoN while waiting for the login queue. I think I need to make sure my PC just never powers down so I never have to wait for the queue until this stuff gets sorted out.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      If you can get a Dota 2 invite you’re likely not to be disappointed. I’ve been playing with quite a few now ex-HoN players who swear blind they’ll never play HoN again since they’ve tasted the lovely goodness of Dota 2.

  16. Gandaf007 says:

    Not going to lie, having League be down this week is the best thing that has happened to me and my gaming friends. We have a massive Skype call and now we’re all playing stuff other than League!

    It’s been quite liberating to escape from the clutches of League and finally make use of this $1400 computer and play much less frustrating games with my friends.

  17. thestage says:

    Someone should base a sociological experiment around the comments in this thread versus the comments in news posts about the exact same issues in Diablo 3

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      I hear comparing issues faced by a free to play multiplayer only game vs. a £40 singleplayer game is cool now as they’re totally the same thing.