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League of Legends is getting a new client, and you should be worried

Updating games as massive as League of Legends is necessary, but there are huge risks involved.

Riot Games made some pretty huge announcements the other day, and it seems that 2016 is going to be an ambitious season for the company behind League of Legends. 

Even the preseason changes are going to be sweeping. Drastic changes to the entire role of ranged carries and the items those characters will buy, revamped masteries, a new enemy in the jungle; this and so much more, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. 

We're going to see a new champion select system, changes to ranked, a totally new way of unlocking champions and cosmetics, new social features, and, lastly, a client update.

Wait, what was that last one?

Oh, no. Oh, God no.

Alas, it's true:

For many, this is going to seem like a cause for celebration. League of Legends has been in dire need of an overhaul of its ancient client for some time now.

However, this bold transition is worrying.

Why, you ask?

Well, let's flash back to June 2015, when a similar, sweeping change was announced by Valve for DotA 2. In June, Valve announced DotA 2 Reborn. There were promises of a streamlined, overhauled system that would feature all the bells and whistles players had been asking for. From a featured section for custom maps to an easy-to-use client for rounding up a party and just playing the game, Reborn was an ambitious project.

Then, suddenly, it was released in September, no longer Reborn Beta, but simply DotA 2

The results? Not so pretty.

Random crashes. Crippling lag where there had been none. Some players were simply unable to boot up the game. Two months later, things are a little quieter, but one thing is certain: DotA 2 should not have been "reborn," at least, not until all of the kinks were worked out.

The once-optional beta for Reborn seems, albeit unintentionally, to have shifted to the global DotA 2 community. In a way, this makes sense, after all, the number of players in the beta test would never be enough of a stress test for the client compared to every single player. 

But now that it's out, players have been expressing discontent day after day, and it's generally agreed upon that the Reborn client was simply not ready for release.

Now, this says nothing of whether or not Riot will manage a miracle.

Maybe it's unfair to assume that the company's client will be just as buggy, and that making the move onto something different will cause a number of unnecessary problems. In fact, if Riot is able to do what Valve couldn't, it would be another mark in their favor in the longstanding rivalry between their own game and Valve's.

However, League is a huge game with an absolutely massive community. Of the countless hordes of people who play it, the odds of them coming up against unanticipated problems goes up and up and up, and so while League's current client might seem stuck in the stone ages, expect the inevitable upgrade, well after this announced alpha, to be fraught with quirks, bugs, and frustrations you never would have expected.

But, here's to the best for the ambitious next step being made by Riot Games.

Published Nov. 4th 2015
  • GabrielKross
    Featured Columnist
    To be fair, Riot just did a client overhaul at the beginning of the season. I remember it had a few bugs, but nothing too drastic. I suspect this to be much the same.
  • John Adamczyk
    Correspondent
    The changes then didn't really strike me as reminiscent of Reborn like this announcement does, but Riot does seem to be a little more thorough than Valve in these things, so they might be able to power through.

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