Riot dev update promises load screen chat, turret barricades, and more in League

Can a new preseason start when last year's never ended?

Screengrab via Riot Games

We’re about nine months into season eight, and that means the 2018 competitive season will soon come to a close and make way for the 2019 preseason.

Riot’s dev team wants to keep players in the loop at least a little bit, so they shared an update on the official League of Legends forums today. The upcoming features are definitely tame compared to last year’s Runes Reforged, and even to some of this year’s regular season changes, but they’ll still have a heavy impact on gameplay pacing and pregame strategies.

One of the primary objectives of this preseason is to slow down the pace of the game and extend the laning phase. Riot intends to accomplish this goal with a brand-new system—turret barricades.

Image via Riot Games

These barricades are each destructible, and they award you with gold every time you destroy one. These serve as extra protection to directly prevent teams from bursting down first tower and roaming around the map as quickly, but it also rewards you for staying in lane to earn the gold from each barricade. It should also create some unique and entertaining laning interactions between both teams, according to the post.

The next two goals of the preseason are fairly confusing. Riot wants to make games more “comebackable,” as Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng would say, but Riot also wants to make “decided games” resolve more quickly. At a glance, these things obviously contradict one another.

We understand where Riot is coming from here, don’t get us wrong. The post is essentially saying that when games are already decided, they’ll be drawn out because the enemy is able to clear minion waves too quickly. The losing team almost never actually comes back and wins, the result of the game is simply drawn out to a painful point. The other goal is to make the actual act of coming back easier, so they’re slightly different. The only issue, though, is that these two things are very difficult to separate.

Alongside the tower barricades slowing down snowballing and the game’s pace, Riot has plans to tweak the bounty system to help out with skillful comebacks, too. Here’s where things get iffy, though. In order to help games resolve faster, melee and cannon minion health pools will now scale much harder throughout the mid and late-game, which would certainly make it more difficult to come back. Riot will have to balance these goals on a tightrope to make sure they don’t clash, but we don’t know enough details yet to draw a conclusion.

On top of all that, a couple of other mostly minor changes are coming. First, stat bonuses will no longer be tied to a rune page, and you’ll be able to select them separately. In other words, you’ll be able to choose Aftershock but receive an Attack Speed and Ability Power stat boost. Internal tests are reportedly “very promising” so far. And lastly, text chat is coming to loading screens, so teams will be able to banter and strategize to fill the void of long load times. This feature probably won’t ship during the preseason, but this is still the first we’ve heard of it.

Akin to past years, the preseason will probably kick off this November, and we expect Riot will reveal more details as the season ends.