Riot devs explain why League of Legends client issues are so hard to fix

Luke Edwards
league client bug fi with ornn

A Riot Games dev has explained the difficulties with overhauling League of Legends’ client, with over 150 plugins making the task all the more tricky.

League’s client has been one of the community’s biggest memes for many years now. While the game is frequently updated, the client has only really seen one big overhaul, which happened back in October 2016.

However, the client still relies on running two separate applications at once: in plain English, you have the application that runs the game and another application that runs the menu. However, players have grown frustrated at this system. In the past, as it has caused data leaks which have made the game lag, or sometimes not even loaded up at all.

The frustration has become more prevalent as time has gone on and Riot has released new games. Valorant, for example, seamlessly switches between menu and gameplay with very few issues at all. There’s also Wild Rift, a mobile version of League, which, despite being (on the surface) more technically limited due to being on mobile, keeps the game and menus in the same app.

league of legends client feb 2021
League’s client has very rarely been clear of issues.

Riot on improving the LoL client

To quell player frustrations, Riot’s League Client Team (LCT) ran a Reddit AMA, which had some interesting responses.

One player asked how the issues got to this state in the first place, and Riot explained how there is a maze of code, implemented through plugins, that needs to be untangled.

Riot senior software engineer Gastón ‘Givanse’ Silva explained how the original client was made up of over 150 different plugins, all running at the same time. The team has reduced that number to 48, but Riot aims to scrap the plugin system entirely.

practice tool icon league client
The client overhaul in 2016 allowed for the practice tool to be introduced, but failed to cut out the bugs.

“The lack of uniformity and the boundaries that exist between features (plugins) made it very hard to maintain and improve the client,” he said. “The ideal would be to get rid of the plugin system and have a single app. We are working towards that. The last few special configs are very tricky to get rid of.”

The client system seems to have a maze of plugins which is very hard for devs to navigate, and they refused to rule out not rebuilding a new client from scratch.

Product tech lead Brian ‘Penrif’ Bossé said: “For now, we’re committed to iterating and improving the existing, but that does not lock out the option for us to undertake the huge project of moving to in-game tech somewhere down the road.”

League players will be glad to know the client issues are at the top of Riot’s priority list. But we could be waiting a while before we see meaningful change.