Riot’s spectator mode will feature friend list drop-ins

Spectator Mode.

One of my absolute favorite features from DotA 2 is the ability to drop in and watch in-progress games that my friends are playing. I always thought this would be a little strange, but when I’m waiting for them to finish or we’re just hanging out in vent, it’s weirdly enjoyable to watch their games play out. For competitive players this also has obvious benefits. There are downsides, like having friends heckle you for events that transpired two minutes in the past. All the same, I think it’s a great feature and the fact that it can be so easily accessed via the Steam buddy list is awesome.

It sounds like Riot’s own spectator mode will host the same feature. RJCombo said on the official forums, “Yes. The feature currently on PBE allows you to drop-in to normal and ranked games in progress (on your friends list) as a spectator.” Good on you, Riot. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t expect Riot to get spectator mode right, and I gave up on waiting for it to release a long, long time ago. I am glad to know that they see the value in this kind of functionality though and that it might be closer than we all think.


LoL could learn from DotA 2 spectating

If I were at Riot, I would be looking at one of DotA 2’s features above all others: spectator mode. The spectator options in DotA 2 are absolutely incredible, and could serve to reduce the learning curve for getting into the game more than any feature in a modern MOBA. With Riot’s focus on the competitive scene, a robust spectator mode is an absolute necessity, and Riot has taken far too long to release the feature to the general public.

Valve, on the other hand, has an incredible setup, complete with the ability to download and save any of your recent replays. In fact, it’s hard to talk about the DotA 2 spectator mode without mentioning the fluidity of the client. While queued for a match, players can drop in and spectate on any of the public games being played. Yes, any of them. While the list could use a little more organization, the filter system allows a player to find recent games by hero, player, and skill level, among other criteria, as well as watch games that are live and in progress, albeit with a delay.

I have never been one for livestreams. I watch a tournament game here and there, but for the most part I don’t have a lot of interest in watching. Not just watching, anyway. Certainly not watching people I don’t know. With DotA 2, though, I can jump straight in and watch the games my friends are currently playing. It’s incredibly easy, and it opens up all kinds of room for multiple tournament streams. Don’t like the casters at one site? Each game can have up to 64 spectators, so finding a tourney stream from the site you love could be very easy.

As I mentioned above, all of this can be done while in queue for a game of my own. That’s huge. I think it might be one of the features that saves DotA from the inevitable overwhelming burden of knowledge that 100+ heroes can put on a new player. Being able to see a hero played and see some of the builds out there could help new players bridge the knowledge gap they face from the start of their very first game.


What’s your top priority for the League?


This post started as a brief thought the other day and has since been echoed in forum posts by other players and an email chain between a couple of my friends. League of Legends is definitely in a bit of a lull after the end of the Season One Circuit. Dreamhack was a very cool event, and Riot did a nice job getting players excited to see the top teams compete. It was an event that made me hungry for more, but my excitement has waned a bit over the past month and I’m not alone.

There have been quite a few threads criticizing Riot lately, some of which have received very thorough response. Most every communication from Riot involves a breakdown of priorities and why it’s hard to put some features over others on the to-do list. Players experience the game very differently depending on level and skill, so how can Riot prioritize one group’s expectations over another?

I’m curious what your top priority would be when it comes to LoL. You can only pick one, so pick carefully. I’d like to suggest avoiding server stability because frankly, the servers are remarkably stable for a game that scaled as quickly as LoL. Also, server stability is such a tired subject I don’t think I can take much more. Give me something that you think will have a dramatic effect on the game.

For me, it’s new game modes. I loved the different game modes that were available in DotA. Hvaving different rulesets available that modify the experience of the game would add incredible replay value. Random Deathmatch would be fantastic, but I’d love to see other custom rulesets like the progressive draft we occasionally play on FG LoL Mondays. New game modes would also carry over to newer maps, should they release, giving players additional ways to enjoy the new maps.

What about you? What’s your top priority for the future of League of Legends?


Leona patch included Spectator prep

I haven’t been on the forums much over the weekend, mostly because of the sheer volume of rage threads since the Leona patch, so maybe someone already covered this. I played a ranked game earlier today and couldn’t help but notice that the pick/ban screen had undergone a small change. Bans are now listed under the respective team that chose the banned character. The portraits are also small enough to allow for more than four bans.

I can only think of one reason to make that kind of change – Spectator Mode. The old system was fine. It was easy enough to understand and it certainly wasn’t the sort of function I would expect Riot to bother changing unless it was tied to another feature. The only feature that could possibly tie to would be Spectator Mode.

I hate to make predictions about this, because Riot’s timing is known only to Riot, but it seems like Spectator Mode could be right around the corner. I can’t say I’m dying to get my hands on it – I think the cases are rare that I would want to spectate a game, but it will be great for the competitive scene. It also seems totally reasonable that replays could have been the technical problem that delayed Leona’s release.


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