League Of Legends: MASSIVE Changes For 2016

On Tuesday night I fell asleep reading the 2016 pre-season League of Legends [official site] changes. It is LONG and BIG and OH GOD THEY HAVE CHANGED ALL OF THE THINGS AND ARE YOU SERIOUS IS THERE REALLY GOING TO BE A NEW CLIENT?

I took a break on Wednesday to enjoy a deep tissue massage and then gradually turned into a mess of back pain and hot water bottles after years of terrible freelance desk arrangements came back to haunt me. TODAY I finished reading the changes.

Attempting to go through them all here would be a project capable of consuming weekends so you should have a proper look at the official microsite yourself. It’s pretty comprehensive. What I’ll do is highlight the big ‘uns:

Big ‘Un Number One: NEW CLIENT IN PROGRESS

“The current League of Legends client has been your companion for the past six years, but it’s in sore need of an upgrade. We’ve been working hard to make that happen, and beginning during the 2016 Season we’ll invite community members to test and give feedback on a work-in-progress alpha version of the updated client.”

The intention is to be able to walk nonchalantly away from the pile of legacy tech that powers the current client and go with this shiny new one which should not only be better for the present but a bit more future-proof given Riot has spent the last few years becoming ever more aware of the limitations of this one.

If you want in on that alpha there will be signups. You’ll need to be level 30 and if you’ve got a history of good in-game behaviour that’ll count in your favour.

Big ‘Un Number Two: Champ Select

My experiences with League and who gets to play what are basically like games of snap where a bunch of people shout MID! or ADC! or whatever and the role (in theory) goes to whoever got their call into chat first.

Now there is champ select where you pick what kind of role you want to play and the game works to accommodate that. Here’s the process as they outline it now:

  • You pick two roles (there are the usual five – top, jungle, mid, carry or support – and a “fill” role which means you’re flexible.
  • The game then tells you what you ended up with and gives you access to team chat.
  • Before picks and bans you can signal to your allies which specific champ you fancy playing.
  • Then there’s a pick and ban phase. You find out the order everyone will get to pick and then, to compensate for perhaps missing out on priority heroes, the three players who will be going last on each team get to ban out a champ each. Picks take place and then voila! Off you go.
  • “Requiring two positions ensures short queue times and that no one on your team gets stuck in a position they don’t want to play. We know some options (*cough* support and jungle) aren’t always quite as popular, and plan to incentivize these roles with IP bonuses if necessary.”

    Big ‘Un Number Three: Ranked Friends 4 Eva

    Ranked solo/duo play will allow for groups of any size from solo to full teams. Obviously it would be silly to continue calling it solo queue so it will be dynamic group queue. I will be referring to it as the My Little Pony queue because it’s being built around the idea that friendship is magic.

    Big ‘Un Number Four: Lootin’ And Craftin’

    This is about loot drops and earning champs/champ skins. The idea is that through playing you’ll earn keys, key fragments (to craft into keys) and chests which give loot from champ rentals to permanent ownership.

    “Mastery Chests will be tied to your post-game grades, which have always been a combination of your personal and team performance for that game. We’re still settling on the number of chests we’ll give out this way over the year (so it’s not a grind and we can get a clear view of the ecosystem we’re creating), but we’ll also be exploring ways to give out chests (and keys) for other modes and events.”

    There are also some disenchantment and re-roll options.

    I’m interested in how this one will play out and whether, if you play a lot but there are only a set number of chests, if you’ll end up with an inventory heaving with key fragments. I don’t have a lot of interest in the obsessive gun collection/upgrade/pre-TTK-reroll side of Destiny and with nothing to absorb them I am now swimming in weapon parts and glimmer.

    Big ‘Un Five: Wanna Join My Gang?

    This is more of that friendship is magic side of LoL. The idea is that there will be persistent groups called clubs which sound like clans or guilds. The idea is that you can grow a group of likeminded players who you can easily get in touch with for a game.

    If you’re after something that lasts an evening rather than indefinitely there are parties. Parties are a way of setting up a group for a game and then allowing people to swap in and out with a chat room that persists across the gaming session but not after it disperses.

    Lastly there will be a friends app so you can get in touch with people and set up games from your mobile.

    Anything else?

    Well, I wrote about the other pre-season changes earlier and I’m still interested in the same things I was back then. One extra thing I would say about the pre-season mega-post is that if you have been playing for a little while but are having trouble with items it might be interesting to look at the marksmen itemisation section. It’s decent for getting you to think about why particular items will be good for achieving particular things. Might help if you’re struggling with how that side of things works, even in a different MOBA.

    24 Comments

    1. Noavailablenames says:

      So, nothing to make the game itself more satisfying then?

      • Xocrates says:

        In what sense?

        The above described changes are targeted at making the champ select experience more fairer and more enjoyable in general, as well as new tools for socializing inside and outside the game.

        These are also by far not the only changes being made. There’s also a big revamp on both the early game and vision control, as well as a new neutral objective to fight over before Baron spawns.

        And this ignores the ADC overhaul that will see both a bunch of champs and items changed in an attempt to add more viable build paths to the game.

        Honestly, I’m not even trying to defend the game, I’m just genuinely confused by what you mean.

        • socrate says:

          For someone who isn’t trying to defend the game you try a bit too hard for my taste.

          Tons of problem are in that game..the main one is that their stupid skill tree should be removed…but we all know that its one of their cash cow….allowing people to play any hero are you crazy!! you need the right spec…and even with the change they are obviously not changing that much to render them a minor thing,yet in smite and dota 2 i dont have to deal with this crap.

          Another would be smurfing which is done wayyy too often and the fact that you have 10 account per people/griefer is just adding to this.

          The fact that a premade can queue with you and speak non english and then end up reporting you for not communicating and actually working in giving you a ban is another big problem of this damn horrible game community and its been told again and again on their forum and yet nothing is being done.

          loot drop mechanic…as if this game need more monetisation…right …such a good thing.

          the fact that the matchmaking system which is the oldest of the dota like genre is still putting you with extremely low skilled player to compensate for the high MMR or w/e its called now of your team,i still always get extremely one sided match but then again this also happen in smite…but its still a massively important thing in these game.

          the fact that south american griefer are rampant in that game is also a true pain…where dota 2 has the russian griefer problem it still seems a bit more in control with it and getting better all the time but that might be perception also.

          And like most Dota genre game this as the huge problem of premade vs non premade rolling happening wayyyy too often.

          • MetaSynapse says:

            “the main one is that their stupid skill tree should be removed”

            Except they’re massively changing it.

            “The fact that a premade can queue with you and speak non english and then end up reporting you for not communicating and actually working in giving you a ban is another big problem”

            Except you will never get banned for that.

            “loot drop mechanic…as if this game need more monetisation…right …such a good thing.”

            Except you can’t pay for crates or keys.

            • socrate says:

              changing it doesnt mean removing it just look at WoW they are still “changing it” every damn expansion and its still a dumb idea that never work and that as everyone using the same stuff all the time.

              Alots of people have been banned for this and have had to recreate account some were actually well known guide designer and yet you say people weren’t banned for this?…ive been banned tons of time for stupid reason in LoL to a point were i never came back…its the most horrible community have had to deal with…in dota 2 and Smite ive played years now and never once got banned and ive seen that the few bad quality people tend to go away quite fast compared to LoL which i saw extremely nice and good people get banned over and over again which they also moved on to something else…the LoL ban seems to be not reviewed correctly and are extremely one sided from everyone ive heard of…maybe it did change since ive not played for a year or maybe more but at that time it was a true pain and seemed corrupted as hell…which you saw tons of forum post talking about it and then getting closed or removed extremely fast.

              If it doesn’t involve paying then the key and box thing is ok…but this is actually surprising,but it gives hero and not actual skin i guess..so maybe it could be free..maybe

          • Caerphoto says:

            For someone who isn’t trying to defend the game you try a bit too hard for my taste.

            … your “taste” is weirdly inconsistent with reality then.

          • EhexT says:

            “Tons of problem are in that game..the main one is that their stupid skill tree should be removed…but we all know that its one of their cash cow….allowing people to play any hero are you crazy!!”

            What the hell are you even talking about? You can respec for free at any point and keep multiple pages at a time. There is no cash sink in the masteries at all, since you get them through playing, they max out when you hit the level cap (which isn’t massively high either) and once you do you can switch and experiment at no penalty.

            You might be thinking of the rune system, which is the actual time/cash sink (can only buy with in-game cash, reducing the amount you’ve got left for new champions) and punishes experimentation (since each hero requires subtly different runes).

        • Noavailablenames says:

          I just personally found the game itself to lack a lot of depth, and this seems to be more focused on satisfying the playerbase they already have instead of something that would draw new people in. I don’t have a problem with that of course, but it doesn’t exactly seem like the revolutionary change that the title suggests.

          • Xocrates says:

            Well, the changes are significant and important, to the point that I’d think most people who play the game would be fine considering them “massive”.

            Are they “massive” enough to appeal to a completely different audience? Probably not, and I doubt they’ll ever be.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Personally, for heavily-similar styles, I’m not so much a fan of Dotes as I prefer the heavy skillshot reliance of League of Legends as opposed to the point-and-click skills.
            Mostly as I’m bad, I’m terrible at remembering all the skill ranges and like being able to dodge things. Or aim things, one of my favourites has nothing but skillshots, even their shield is one (hardest thing to land in the game, I swear. Teammates dodge it all the time).

          • mukuste says:

            Even just now at Worlds there were several “tiers” of teams, each of which would utterly demolish all tiers below it. And that’s just the best few teams in the world. If you take the whole demographic of public matchmaking into account, the range of potential skill you can have in this game is HUGE. Saying that it lacks depth is ridiculous.

    2. Antomadness says:

      The previous post on the itemisation changes are more focused on in game experience. And most of this looks very positive, loot drop mechanic excepted.

    3. Premium User Badge

      Cooper says:

      It might be worth noting that HotS recently removed 3 and 4 groups from their ranked play as it simply didn’t work, it made matchmaking much mroe difficult than it already is…

      • Ringwraith says:

        League of Legends has much greater numbers playing however, so I guess they think they can just brute force queue problems with sheer weight of numbers.

    4. Arcanon says:

      Loot and role selection were some of the things I really liked about Dawngate, a pretty good MOBA EA never bothered to market…

      • skyturnedred says:

        Dawngate was the best MOBA I’ve ever played, really sad it didn’t work out.

      • EhexT says:

        You mean a MOBA they never bothered to RELEASE.
        EA literally said “this game isn’t selling enough” about a game that wasn’t even out. Guess what EA – when your game is still in Beta and you haven’t even started the marketing push at all yet, it isn’t going to “sell”.

    5. gpown says:

      “My experiences with League and who gets to play what are basically like games of snap”

      but Pip, have you played Team Builder? it basically removed champ select problems in normal games (and added a new one of nobody queuing up to play bot, but that’s what the new system is going to fix)

      • MetaSynapse says:

        I tried teambuilder once, I quit after 40 minutes in queue. Went back to blind pick and had a match in under a minute.

        • Ringwraith says:

          Queue times can be a nightmare if you’re trying to go for contested roles like mid.
          Although sometimes I just pick a mid champ I rarely get to play as it’s risky to due to counterpicks (like Cass) and then go and read stuff on the internet until it pops like eight minutes later (with luck).

        • skyturnedred says:

          This is why I’m glad I only play supports.

    6. mukuste says:

      The new lobby client is basically the HL3 of the LoL world. Amazed that this is actually happening.

      Still, even with all these changes, I don’t really want to go back to playing it; it’s just such a time sink, and progress is painfully slow.

      • jrodman says:

        Out of curiosity, would you estimate that having no external reward for playing would have not led to this feeling, or do you think you really neeeded a progress mechanic to remain interested as long as you did.

    7. jrodman says:

      Does “new client” mean that adobe air is going away?