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League Of Legends client speed improvements have hit some snags

Several months into a project to improve the League Of Legends client, Riot Games say they’ve made measurable improvements but also hit a few snags. After making progress enzoomening client startup times, Riot say it actually backslid a bit. But they’re not done, they think some slowdown might be caused by the state of *frantic gesture* all this, and they have more plans for speed boosts. Maybe this time they actually will fix the client.

“The client is not in great shape,” Riot conceded in March when they announced the Client Cleanup Campaign. “It’s got too many bugs, too much lag (especially in champ select), and a whole host of issues like memory leaks, crashes, freezes, and on and on. We’ve made commitments to do something about the client before, and yet problems remain.”

That’s a quiet nod to earlier attention-grabbing attempts like the Client Strike Team, a group announced in 2017, who evidently failed. This time, Riot said they’d be more open about their goals. One of which was speeding up how quickly the client loads and becomes actually usable. Currently, it is surprisingly slow for something so simple-looking.

On Friday, Riot posted an update about progress and setbacks. Riot say they planned to removing and consolidating plugins and applets, which they did, which seemingly had measurable benefits for a while. “For the first couple of patches of the year, we were seeing meaningful improvements in bootstrap time as a result of our plugin work,” they claim. Buuut come February and update 10.3, it started backsliding.

They do suggest it might be done to so many people staying home and playing more LoL, causing more strain on the servers. Either way, they plan more fixes, including replacing some software which was meant to help prioritise loading plugins but actually has been broken since 2018 and didn’t help much even when it was working. Whoops. They say that having to replace that might draw out their work on the Client Cleanup Campaign.

The other big goal of the project is to speed up how long it takes to lock in your character. For some players, Riot say, it can take over one second. That’s ridiculous slowness.

If you like technical details and graphs, do go check out those two blog posts.

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