Red Post Collection: League Client Update Pre-Alpha PBE tech test & Introducing the Rotating Game Mode Queue

Posted on at 8:06 PM by Moobeat
[3/8: Updated with more about the League Client Update Alpha!]

Tonight's red post collection includes a look at the upcoming PBE pre-alpha tech test League Client Update and the announcement of the upcoming Rotating Game Mode queue!
Continue reading for more information!

Table of Contents

[League client update] Briefly visiting the PBE for a pre-alpha tech test 

First up we have CapnBranFlakes with information on the upcoming PBE pre-alpha tech test of the League Client Update!
"The League client update alpha isn't yet ready for primetime, but a few of our PBE players will soon get a chance to help us run the client through its paces in a temporary tech test. Our engineers need to make sure the stuff we're building deploys to servers properly and can survive load tests. Basically, we need a few of you to come stomp around in our bouncy house while we check it for leaks. This is a very early look at the updated client, so expect bugs. After a couple of weeks of testing, we'll turn the test off.
In the next week or two, some of you will receive email invites with a download link for the client update on PBE. Be aware that we're only letting in a few folks for this tech test; testers who have their PBE account linked to their verified, live account have a better chance of getting in. We're also prioritizing players with mid-to-higher spec machines because this is an unoptimized, pre-alpha build. If you receive an invite, it'll only work for your account (sharing the download link with your buds won't get them in).
For the purposes of this test, the special tech test edition of the League client update only includes the ARAM queue—it's got fewer moving parts than SR, so it lets us focus our test on the tech stuff that matters. Those who participate in the tech test will get an early look at the updated lobby, champ select, and end-of-game experiences from the updated client. If some of that stuff feels unfinished, that's because it is. We're still tweaking things while we get ready for the upcoming alpha.
We'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback on the updated client, but be aware that our focus during this temporary test is on ensuring that our technical foundation is solid—we're just kicking the tires as part of preparations for the road trip we're all about to take together. Once the live alpha begins, we'll begin really digging into player feedback and communicating about the ways it's helping us. If you find a bug to report, please use the icon that’s at the bottom of the friends list in the client to send along your report—if you need to share a screenshot of a bug, please leave it in this PBE forum and put this tag at the start of your new thread’s title: [League client update].
We'll begin sending out the invite emails in the next week or two, so keep an eye on your inbox! If you have any questions or run into any issues, please comment in this thread—we’ll be monitoring it often."

As for what the client update covers, CapnBranFlakes  noted:
"The client refers to everything you experience outside of the map loading screen and gameplay on the map. Re: "spaghetti code" -- Yes, we're building the updated client in new tech:"
New Tech
We're abandoning the legacy client's tech framework and building the updated client from the ground up, so players will finally have the more reliable, responsive client they deserve. Bonus: teams at Riot will have an easier time developing and delivering new features

To clarify how this will work for the PBE test and future live tests, CapnBranFlakes noted:
so if we get an invite do we get a new alpha account or we are login in with our PBE info?
You'll log in with your PBE account if invited to the PBE pre-alpha tech test. Once we start sign-ups for alpha down the road, those players accepted will use their live accounts to log into the alpha (as the alpha will be connected to the live severs, meaning you can still play and chat with your friends who are not in the alpha)."
He continued:
"The post mentions that the special tech test edition of the League client update only includes the ARAM queue -- we're not in alpha yet :). If you get into the tech test, you'll basically have 2 icons/ clients since we're not replacing anything yet: Legacy PBE client (the one you use now) and League client update PBE (the one for the tech test)."
He continued:
"Windows and and MacOS will be included in this tech test."
SapMagic also added that they'll have more dev blogs on the new visuals and flow in the future:
"Hey lolKhamul! 
This initial release is focused on making sure that our technology works as expected, but as a designer myself I love seeing input like this. 
We'll be publishing in-depth blogs covering various aspects of the League client update. In short, rethinking how players interact with the client (experience design) and how our visuals reinforce those interactions in a clear and consistent way (visual design) will help us deliver a more intuitive experience. 
New graphics are part of our larger goal to craft a clear and visually-consistent client that does what you expect and in the way you expect. Some of the specific things you mentioned could be part of achieving that goal, so it's awesome to hear your feedback."

The thread was updated on March 8th with more info on the email invites coming out soon, as well as known bugs.
"====UPDATE: 8 March 2016==== 
Hi folks, 
We're going to start sending out the email invites we mentioned below a little later today. Please check out the context below before jumping into the tech test, as well as the list of known issues. Reminder that this is a tech test, and you're going to encounter other issues. If you do and they are not in the list below, please use the bug report button icon that's located at the bottom of your friend's list to let us know about it—if you need to share a screenshot of a bug, please leave it in this PBE board and put this tag at the start of your new thread’s title: [League client update]. 
How you can help if you get an email: 
  • Download, install, and patch
  • Log in (you can log in after client patches and before gameplay patch is complete)
  • Use the PLAY button to queue up for ARAM
  • Invite your friends on PBE when in the ARAM lobby (non-tech test participants with PBE accounts can still join you)
  • Play ARAM games
  • Use your friend's list to chat with friends, add new friends, etc.
  • If you crash, please completely fill out all requested information in the bugsplat window
IMPORTANT: While the client is being updated, the rules are not: scripts, hacks, or modifications are still never cool. We can accurately detect players logging in with a hacked client versus a legitimate one that's been approved for the tech test. This test doesn’t represent the full product, and maintaining a consistent, healthy testing environment is critical to testing efforts. 
Major known issues: 

  • If you lose internet connection on the in-client alpha landing page, you'll receive a notification with an unclickable hyperlink to our support page
  • On extremely rare occasions, you will notice assets missing everywhere on the client -- please restart to fix
  • The settings window will briefly flash in the upper-left hand corner of your screen when you open it
  • The client doesn't scale well with high dpi settings
  • The client will close if you advance your computer's date/time
  • If you attempt to repair an installation, the repair button animation gets stuck
  • You are not notified if you disconnect from the Internet while patching
  • You can't navigate away from the main landing page if you are disconnected from the internet and will see a white 404 error page
  • When the client has been open for an extended period of time with no activity (9+ hours), all functionality is lost
  • Disconnecting from the internet during an initial install may corrupt the install
  • The uninstaller reports success even when unable to delete all files, which causes subsequent installs to fail until the League Client project is deleted
  • You may experience a crash when self-updates finish and close
  • [OSX Specific] The client disables screen sleep
  • [OSX Specific] Pinning the client to the Dock, then launching from the pinned icon will cause a crash
  • [OSX Specific] Progress bar not appearing when updating the game client
Pre- and post-game
  • Occasionally, Lobby Tooltips don’t go away
  • You don't receive a warning message if you decline 3 times on the ready check screen, but you may still incur a penalty if they dodge queue too many times
  • Black screen may occur when transitioning into and out of ready check
  • Invites and suggest panels load slowly
  • Some players may experience performance issues with masteries and ARAM trades
  • Skin selection carousel and chroma button don't appear disabled when champ select timer hits "0"
  • Client window flashes briefly when your game is marked as victory/defeat before you click the button to leave the game
Friend's list
  • 'Disable Notifications' currently doesn't function
  • Game status' appears truncated in the friend's list
  • Friend's list hovercards linger when you unfriend your last remaining friend /amumu
  • *NOTE: You will encounter other issues, so please use the bug report button icon that's located at the bottom of the friend's list to let us know about it
  • The upcoming initial PBE deploy for patch 6.6 may have an issue that potentiallyprevents players on OSX from being able to get into a game -- teams are actively working on this, so please watch this link for updates. We'll remove this note if the issue is resolved."

Announcing the Rotating Game Mode Queue 

The second big announcement from today is the introduction of the upcoming ROTATING GAME MODE queue, which will cycle through various featured game modes during the weekends! For example one weekend could be One for All while the next could be Poro King!
"From the original clone-tastic One For All to the frenetic manatee magic of Ultra Rapid Fire, featured game modes provide unique spins on the classic League formula. Now, more than two years after the debut of our first game mode, we’re announcing a rotating queue that’ll bring the alternative action on weekends with a suite of familiar game modes and maybe a fresh face or two. 
We’ve specially tuned Champion Mastery so you can earn points in each mode, whether you’re summoning our poro overlord in Legend of the Poro King or chaining Final Sparks in a One For All laser light show. Once Hextech Crafting and loot is live, because the rotating game mode queue is optimized for champ mastery, you’ll also be able to earn keys for your wins and loot chests for your (or your premade’s) S­-, S, and S+ games. 
Rotating queue will join Classic and ARAM in an upcoming patch, but part of why we’re announcing it now is because two years in a row, we delivered the Ultra Rapid Fire game mode in increasingly absurd ways. While we’re pretty sure you aren’t going to believe us anyway, we’re telling you right now that URF will not return on the first of April. We’re not quite ready to announce the full slate of game modes that’ll feature in the new Rotating queue, but we are ready to share that Ultra Rapid Fire will appear at least twice in 2016. 
As for the other modes, we’ll publish the schedule ahead of time once it’s locked down, but we wanted to get in front of any ultra rapid speculation this year so you know you’ll be slapping buttons with a spatula eventually, just maybe not when you were expecting it. 
We’re excited for the debut of Rotating queue, so stay tuned for the first rotation schedule and let us know what modes you’re hoping to see make it!

In the comments, L4T3NCY continued:
Does this mean the Rotating Queue will stay forever? Or it's going to be the same as any other special game mode, it will come and go?
"This is a new queue being added to LoL. The rotating part is the modes."

He continued, noting the increased frequency at which players will be able to play various modes:
Does that mean featured games, that we'd typically get for two weeks, are only going to last 4-8 days now? I'm basing this off of "but we are ready to share that Ultra Rapid Fire will appear at least twice in 2016.", and to assume that other featured game modes are only going to appear roughly twice?
That's the idea, modes will be in the queue for shorter bursts, but have a dramatically increased appearance rate compared to before. EG: The most modes we ever did previously in 1 year, was 7. This queue will let us get you guys 7 bursts of game modes in just the first 7 weeks. 
The goal is for you guys to have more access to more of your favourite modes, more of the time. More more more. :)"

When asked about the start times for these weekend modes, L4T3NCY noted:
Do these "weekends" start on Friday evenings or Saturday mornings? Hopefully Friday!
We're still figuring out the details, so stay tuned. I think Fri night is a good target though, most people's weekend's start then. :D"
He continued:
"Initially the queue will be available across weekends, but we're flexible on the timing (EG: Fri to Mon or something similar) while also being conscious of different timezones. Mode rotations will be weekly. Exact timings are still TBD, but we're building it to be extensible if need be."

As for MMR in the new queue, L4T3NCY noted:
"As with all featured game modes to date, each individual mode has its own MMR assigned that will be used for matchmaking. That way, if you're good at Mode #1 but terrible at Mode #2, you'll still be matched with appropriate opponents."

When asked about also getting champion mastery on the non SR queues like Twisted Treeline and ARAM, L4T3NCY noted:
"Atm the team building this queue is focused on getting Champ Mastery working for all the featured game modes that will be going into it (which is quite a bit of work, still ongoing). Not particularly against Champ Mastery in TT, just haven't got to it yet."

When asked about the URF comments, ZenonTheStoic noted:
I think they will probably give us URF 1 day before/after April the 1st.
Nope. None of that. I know it's hard to believe anything around April Fool's, but this announcement isn't lying. URF won't make April Fool's this year. 
But you'll get it TWICE instead! Plus game modes all the time! I'm excited."

When asked about the possibility of Ascension returning now that Dominion is retired, L4T3NCY confirmed it can return!
"That's unrelated. Both Ascension and Dominion are separate, viable options for this queue. ^_^"

L4T3NCY continued:
"Nice question list. Here we go. 
1. Will each game mode have it's own list of banned champs? 
TL;DR: Our goal is always to have NO champions unavailable in ANY of our game modes. 
I think it really sucks when you love Champ X, and get excited to play them in one of our modes, only to discover "sorry, Champ X not available". :/ After 2014 URF, we actually made sure to have everyone available for 2015 URF, which we're hoping was way more fun for people who loved those champs. 
2. Will there be new items specific to certain game modes? 
I don't want to say "never", but unless the mode is specifically exploring that kind of gameplay (IE: Black Market Brawlers) I would say "no, we don't aim to dev mode specific unique items." 
3. Will we see the return of Butcher's Bridge, or a even new maps? 
That Butcher's Bridge map was gorgeous, I loved it too. I'm not directly involved with it, but I hope we can see it again as well. 
An entire new map just for a specific featured game mode is a pretty big task. I'm not sure if we'd go that far, right now our main focus is on finishing this queue. :) 
4. Future Featured Features? 
Yes, the Rotating queue will be the new home for Featured Game Modes. As to how frequently modes come back, you're right, we'll need to consider each one case-by-case."

RiotStephiroth elaborated on the new queue, explaining:
"Hey Beatzboy~ 
We'll be announcing the full schedule of modes soon :) so just hang tight. 
This is a new permanent queue! So the idea is for it to continue to exist, and for us to bring you featured game modes more often! 
We pick the game modes based on a lot of factors, usually focused around timing (what can we deliver and where does it make sense to deliver it), and popularity/reception. We want to make sure we release fun game modes that you guys will enjoy! :) 
In terms of champ mastery, people will earn what they hopefully feel is a fair amount. You're probably not going to receive the same amount of points for an S+ on SR and an S+ on URF, for instance. We're going to be weighting these pretty consciously to make sure that people are earning at a fair and balanced rate. 
It's not necessarily true that there's "no mastery" in featured modes, but there are varying degrees of mastery for sure :) And we want to balance that. Personally, I think with the recent tie-ins to Loot and Mastery, it would be sad (or almost punishing) to not give players mastery for playing in this queue. 
Hopefully this answers most of your questions :)"

When asked about the timing of only weekends, RiotStephiroth commented:
"Hey Raoul! 
Good questions :) 
There's a few reasons we have chosen this kind of time frame. Typically the lifetime of the featured game modes (aka the actual activity in the queue) did not really match with the amount of time we were previously putting them on. So the idea is that we're going to more properly line up with the peaks and troughs of the game modes with this schedule.
We chose weekends specifically to make it more accessible to most players. We will be analyzing the data from these runs to inform future runs of the modes! 
Also as a note, we're not tied down by the schedule we announced. We're going to be monitoring the queue and activity and making sure that this schedule is appropriate, and if it's not, we'll adjust! 
ootay~ ootay~"

She also commented on the potential return of Ascension, explaining:
actually with the dominion map being removed i don't think ascension is "most likely to appear"
I'd love for it to appear but it doesn't seem like it will now.
Even though Dominion and Ascension share the same map, they are totally separate game modes. Dominion being removed does not impact our ability to deliver Ascension!

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