Note: This is the rant version of a post on communication I wrote earlier today. This is centered on Riot’s Mac Client shutdown. It is long. If you’d rather read suggestions for solving the problem, here’s the link to my earlier post.
I’ve been trying to give Riot the benefit of the doubt over the past 6 months. I got a bit cynical for a while there, but the bottom line was that I was enjoying their game, a game that experienced such explosive growth that very few companies could possibly have maintained, and if I wanted to play with new friends they could jump in the game for free. All of that is great stuff.
There were a few bumps along the way – we were promised things we never got. We were promised reparations for some customer services snafus and never got them. We’ve been promised new features for more than a year and they still aren’t here. But today a friend of mine sent me a thread that trumped it all and effectively killed any remaining faith I had in Riot as “the most player-focused game company in the world.” As of this past Tuesday, Riot officially killed the League of Legends Mac client.
I’m not here to bitch about the disintegration of the Mac client. It had been unsupported for months, and though it ran, some fairly serious problems would pop up from time to time for many of the users. I understand that maybe it was just more work than it could ever be worth, or that it just might never get to an acceptable state. I get that. What I don’t get is the method Riot used to communicate the change, the way rewards are being handled, and the message Riot is sending to a portion of its playerbase.
Forums have a couple problems, not the least of which is the amount of data they generate. Important posts get buried and can be incredibly difficult to find again, and that’s only for the forums you actually read. When a platform has been unsupported for months, chances are good that players stopped reading the Mac Client forum. Hell, who says they were even reading it in the first place? I know for a fact my brother didn’t read it, and the Mac client was the only way we were able to play LoL together since his PC died.
Then there’s the timing. The announcement was made on September 2nd. The shutoff date was September 6th. That’s four days. Four days. That has to be a joke. It’s not just that the notice window is so small, it’s also that the consolation prize for Mac testers can only be verified within that window. Here’s a quote from Tamat’s post:
Riot would like to give all active participants in the Mac beta a code that unlocks the Champions Pack, as a token of appreciation for the time they have dedicated to helping us evaluate the Mac client and our sincere apology for not being able to have the testing work out as originally planned. To qualify for the reward, you must have a majority of your logins come from the Mac client, and you must login to the Mac client and click on the Store button between Friday, September 2 and Tuesday, September 6.
So if you aren’t actively reading the Mac Testing forum (which is probably most people) and don’t log in for four days, you get nothing but a giant middle finger to stare at. This might not affect millions of customers. This might not affect even a thousand customers. It will affect some, though, and the message from Riot to those players is loud and clear: We don’t want you. Despite the time you spent testing the stillbirth that was our Mac client, we’re only going to offer a thank you once, and only for four days.
It’s pretty easy to imagine a situation in which players wouldn’t be able to log in for four days, or that they might choose not to. You know, like if they had been planning for the end of a season that was delayed without explanation. If they made the grind to Bronze or Silver or Gold status and then decided to check out other games while they waited for those rewards to come through. Gee, wasn’t that also a holiday weekend? You don’t think anyone may have been traveling or otherwise away from a computer that entire weekend, do you?
Well, we actually don’t know the answer to that because, as far as I can tell, Riot hasn’t been back to that announcement thread since Friday. I say “as far as I can tell” because that thread is now more than 100 pages long, and I’ve only been through about 30 of them. I would use Riot’s DevTracker, but it’s actually more polluted than the thread itself (more on that in today’s earlier post). I would use CL Gaming’s redtracker, but I can’t filter for the Mac Testing forum because, again, no one reads it or posts in it.
So I’m done. I’m done digging through thousands of forum posts for information that should be easy to find. I’m done assuming Riot knows best. Most of all, though, I’m done believing that somewhere Riot has a plan, that when the timing is right they’ll let us in on it, or that they’re actually in touch with their playerbase at all.
Come at me, most player-focused game company in the world. Prove me wrong.