Riot has just announced a "set a visual changes for both the patcher and the client's landing page" that will be headed to the PBE soon!
Here's Ventropy with the full announcement:
"Hey all! We've got a set of visual changes for the patcher and client landing page that'll be hitting the PBE soon. Before we push them out, we wanted to talk a little more about what you guys can expect, both with these changes and our overall work on the League of Legends client.
We’ve heard your feedback and know a new client is at the top of many wishlists. These changes are just the first phase of what will be an extensive and ongoing development process focused on improving the pre-game experience. Along with the visual changes to the patcher, a large part of this first phase involves introducing new core client technology. While this technology won’t noticeably change your pre-game experience, it will help us plan our future updates. That being said, our biggest focus is maintaining stability and making sure everything works smoothly as we continue updating the client. We're looking forward to sharing our long-term plans, but today's talk is going to be focused on foundation-setting.
Making Safe Changes
Let's start with a quick definition: when we talk about "the client," we're speaking to the technology ecosystem that supports your pre-game experience. Each interaction you have while getting ready for a match is built on a base of interconnected systems, all of which work in concert to get you into your games.
As a result, maintaining League's stability outweighs almost every other priority we have when making changes. Before we can tackle big feature changes, we need to make sure any core technology that we're introducing is robust enough to get the job done. With that in mind, we chose our first targets by looking for the least risky pieces of the client to update. The look and feel of the patcher and the client landing page emerged as choices that let us introduce new tech, minimize risk and deliver some neat stuff.
Our first few releases will be starting points that'll provide insight into how we should update additional systems. We'll be refining and improving the pre-game experience as we go, which allows us to safely improve the client over time.
What's Coming to PBE
In the next few weeks, we’re planning to test out new tech in the patcher that also delivers some improvements to how information is presented (we're also taking the opportunity to give the client landing page a matching facelift). The patcher technology coming to the PBE will become an important foundation for future client updates.
Both the patcher and the client landing page present a convenient chance to check out LoL news and updates, but are currently coming up short in a few areas.
Work-in-progress: Updated patcher
Let's use the free champion rotation as a concrete example. Our current patcher shows a few names from the rotation in the news feed, but you have to click through to a web article to see the full list. With the upcoming changes, we can highlight the entire Free to Play rotation directly in the patcher. The Patch Notes have also been pulled in so you can read up on the latest changes while you’re downloading them.
This new layout applies visual focus to all content, displaying media with every item. To accommodate these visuals, we increased the patcher's size, giving us more real estate to keep a few key pieces surfaced and make it easier to browse other articles. We also took the opportunity to group up 'core' patching tools by condensing the download progress bar, service availability indicator and region selector at the top of the patcher. Your patching progress has also been merged into one bar to provide more streamlined information.
Work-in-progress: Updated client landing page
The client landing page will pull in the same layout changes as the patcher with a few additional content types thrown into the mix. As part of this update, we've extended content all the way to the screen edges. We haven't changed the client's size, though, so we didn't need to reorganize any of the client's other features (aside from a bit of cleanup to the menu buttons).
Overall, your pre-game experience won’t change too much with this first release. The actual patching process is still the same, so don't expect performance gains or increased download speeds. Additionally, you’ll still be using the same mastery interface, store, chat system, etc. While our end-goal is to deliver you an improved pre-game experience, our biggest priority is making sure we continue to provide a reliable and stable client and game.
These first iterations aren't going to redefine your pre-game experience, but they represent work we’re confident we can safely build on as we test and expand on our new core tech. If you aren’t seeing the changes you want right now, don’t worry because we know there are other parts of the client that are hurting for attention and we’re eager to take them into the lab to deliver something great.
We have a vision for what the future could hold for the client and we’re looking forward to sharing our plans with you a bit further down the road!"
On the forums, ChocChipCookie commented the general excitement, saying:
"Thank you. This is the first step of a long process, and we definitely want your continued thoughts and feedback. Looking forward to you all letting us know what does (and doesn’t!) work. We’ve seen a few threads of your ideas on how to redesign the pre-game experience, and are constantly impressed by everyone’s creativity and passion. :)"
When asked about the patcher using AIR, ventropy noted:
"No it won't. The patcher update that we are releasing to PBE includes a lot of the core tech needed for a new client. The patcher update won’t use Adobe AIR, it is built on our own native code base and HTML5 UI."ventropy continued:
"Just to be clear, AIR will be in the client for a while longer, but thats definitely the direction we are moving towards."When asked about the size of the new patcher, RiotAether commented:
"The patcher definitely got bigger - same dimensions as the client, which'll be staying at its current size. Just prettier :D"Aether also commented on the lack of a Featured matches section, saying:
"If you're talking about the Featured Matches in the upper lefthand corner of the live client, we'll still have the ability to put those matches on the landing page, but the update lets us replace it with news or content depending on what's relevant at the time."As for why this is going to the PBE first instead of just going to live, killerbeepea noted:
"We generally release to PBE first to get feedback from players and penta-check that things aren’t completely destroying everything."