This article has been updated.
DOTA2 fans were pretty happy this weekend when Valve unexpectedly announced a new update for the game. The update includes an obscene amount of improvements, such as a new UI, new party tools, an improved hero browser, and an entirely new engine so that the game runs faster (follow this link to see the complete list of new or improved features).
Meanwhile League of Legends fans are still waiting for a replay system that was put into testing over two years ago, a new client that’s coming out in dribs and drabs, and for a solution to the huge amount of bugs which spawned the spaghetti code meme in the League of Legends subreddit.
I’m not blind to the fact that Riot Games is still a young company. However, the game has many problems that are really unacceptable in this day and age. They need to address these issues or they risk falling behind in the long run.
Still no sign of the replay system
League of Legends is the biggest e-sport in the world, drawing in thousands of viewers from all across the globe. Despite this, League of Legends doesn’t have a built-in replay system, and is reliant on third party programs that break every time a patch is released. Riot Trynademere went on record back in 2014 as to why they haven’t released the replay system.
From a software standpoint, replays are essentially shippable, which is why it is on the PBE and being refined in a live state. But, the hardware to enable us to operate replays in the super sexy state you guys desire (and that allows us to do REALLY cool things with replay technology in the future) means that we need to deploy special hardware in our many data centers all around the world and do a lot of complex hardware configuration adjustments to make it all work.
The problem is that even though we are hiring the best network operational professionals all around the world as fast as we can, we STILL can’t keep up with the growth of League of Legends around the world from a hardware standpoint – and we prioritize that over shipping a new feature like replays, because we treat things like our EUW service stability as a higher priority than adding a new feature (that while cool, is not mission critical).
Since then the EU infrastructure has moved over to their brand new, cutting edge Amsterdam data center, and guess what? Still no replays.
I get it Riot, the game is HUGE. There are literally millions of people playing this game in each region every day. Processing and storing replays for each of these games would undoubtedly add a fairly large strain to your servers.
Here’s the thing Riot. Who actually wants replays? Is it your average player who just plays normal or ARAM games? I’d be willing to put money on the fact that that the majority of these players probably don’t care about replays. What about the competitive minority (relatively speaking) who play ranked games? Do you think they’d appreciate a way to analyse their games? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. Maybe you should consider releasing replays to the competitive player base who actually want to use it, and since this is a much smaller group of players, (hopefully) your infrastructure won’t buckle like a wet noodle.
Out of date and inefficient client
Slow speeds. Random crashes. Memory leaks. These are just a few of the problems that exist in the current client, which is either caused by Adobe Air or Riot’s implementation of it. Riot have apparently been working on a new client to address these issues, even going so far as to hire AstralFoxy, a player who managed to develop a better client using a fraction of the resources that Riot’s own client did, and worked on their existing system. However, it’s been almost a year since Riot killed AstralFoxy’s Wintermint client and there’s still no sign of an upgrade.
Ranked game pause option
Riot’s excuse for not having this option enabled is that people will abuse it (I’m still trying to find the source for this, but it’s common knowledge in the League of Legends subreddit). Like people abuse it in DOTA2 right? I’ve played DOTA2 ranked on EU a fair amount and this has never, ever, happened to me. Other players have complained about it, but it still seems to be a relatively minor issue in the grand scheme of things.
League of Legends may not be as complicated as DOTA2, but it’s not easy either. It’s a shame that the tutorial does the bare minimum in regards to teaching you the basics, and doesn’t even touch on the more advanced strategies in the game.
Strange networking issues
League of Legends has games where the action randomly freezes or minions leap teleport. I’m not going to get on Riot’s case about this issue since it’s extremely rare, and probably has something to do with the following problem.
Bugs (and no, I’m not talking about Kha’Zix)
This bug sees you getting stuck on in-game objects. This bug causes a champion’s spears to become invisible. This bug took five years for Riot to fix. And let’s not forget the ridiculous creep block that causes the pathing to freak out. The sad thing is this is just a tiny fraction of the bugs that crop up with every single game patch. Even though a lot of these bugs get reported on the PBE (public beta environment), they still somehow make it out to the live servers.
Considering how much of a presence Riot has in the e-sports scene, you’d think that fixing these kinds of issues would be their number one priority, but their actions in this regard have been severely lacking. It’s really unprofessional to see Riot Shoutcasters having to make up excuses every time a bug pops up and the game does something weird.
Riot, I love your game. It’s a great balance between complexity and simplicity, and doesn’t require you to spend 1000 hours to get a basic understanding of the game. However, the technical foundation upon which the game is based is problematic to say the least. You need to address these various issues, particularly if you want to secure your future in esports. Seriously, you can’t have bugs like this in professional level games or people will start to think you’re a joke.