North American League of Legends servers moving to Chicago today
If you've spent any amount of time on the League of Legends General Discussion forum, you'll be familiar with the threads complaining about the high ping on the East Coast and demanding the region have its own servers. As of tomorrow, those forum threads will be a thing of the past as Riot Games has begun moving its North American servers from Portland, OR to a more centralized location in Chicago, IL. The move should improve connection quality (read: lower ping) for the long-suffering East Coast players as well as overall stability and packet loss for North American players as a whole (so West Coast players don't feel like you're being thrown under the bus - this helps you too).
12687 ping can bring games down to a pace at which even a snail would get impatient.
The transfer will begin at around 5 a.m. and tentatively complete by about 12 noon PDT. While these are the time slots Riot is aiming for, there will almost certainly be a few last speed bumps along the final leg of the "NA Server Roadmap" of a journey that began almost a year ago. However, players need not fear extended time cut off from Summoner's Rift - while ranked play will be disabled, it will overall be a zero-downtime transfer.
While this may be the goal, summoners should be prepared for "minimal downtime or disrupted play" in the days following the transfer as Riot deals with routing issues and such.
Games will gradually be transferred from Portland to Chicago, followed by a stress test period the following weekend from August 28 to 30. To ensure the maximum amount of server traffic, bonus Party IP will be enabled (increased percentage of IP the larger your party - starting from 100 percent to 300 for a full pre-made).
With the imminent improvements, players in the US, US territories and Canada who are currently using other servers will be offered a free transfer back to North America.
While server location is a central issue (no pun intended), there is also the matter of partnerships with various internet service providers (ISPs) to ensure optimum connectivity. Riot has made agreements with a large number - the full list can be found here - but if you don't see yours, namely AT&T, Verizon or Cox, don't worry - those will be along in the next few weeks, according to the official statement.
Upon reaching the end of an almost year long journey, how does it feel? As an east coast player, do you feel you've finally been heard? Or are you on the west coast and think that Riot's caving to the pressure? Debate it out in the comments, but chances are it will take another year before the playerbase can come down on definite verdict, if ever.