The spectator mode is one of the most anticipated features players have been expecting from League of Legends developer Riot Games. We’ve first seen it in action well over a year ago, and it’s been used ever since to cast tournament games. But to the average player, it’s been unavailable. That’s all about to change soon however, as Riot finally announced that it’s coming with a video detailing the spectator mode features.
While this company is notorious for releasing new features on an extremely slow schedule, a preview video just revealed is giving me a glimmer of hope that we’ll be seeing the fully-fledged spectator mode very soon. Up until now spectator mode didn’t exactly have any advanced features: you could spectate a (custom) game, see total gold accumulated by all players and both teams, see item builds, skill cooldowns and ranks, and of course remove the fog of war entirely. Now however some new features have been announced in addition to the aforementioned ones:
- Spectating friends – you’ll be able to right-click your friend in the game lobby and spectate the game they are currently in
- Featured games – Riot will be displaying “featured games” that players can spectate. Details are a bit vague on this at the moment, but likely it will consist of promoting top-ELO player matches, team scrims and tournament games.
- Timeshift controls – in case you missed some action, you’ll easily be able to rewind, as well as speed or slow down the match up to 8x.
- Directed camera – this camera mode will automatically switch to the part of the map where action is happening, whether it’s kills or damage. Not sure how intuitive it is, but it appears to be extremely helpful.
Even though League of Legends has well over 30 million players, I do feel the lack of a publicly available spectator mode has been hindering it’s growth as an e-sport. This will not only make tournament games easier to cast, but will also enable any player to spectate or do commentary on a game of pro players. While it is not mentioned at all, I assume that the release of spectator mode entails the inevitable release of a replay system as well, which is one of the main things that the community lacks as well.
I am just a tad bit disappointed however that we’ll only be able to spectate our friends. Streaming League of Legends games is insanely popular with some players getting up to 40,000 concurrent viewers, it would certainly be helpful if we could spectate their games, rather than just watch their point of view all the time. I’m a big fan of all LoL streamers and love to watch someone who can play better than I ever will, but their commentary is sometimes not very helpful, or even annoying.
Either way the release of spectator mode is a great addition to League of Legends. No exact release date was given, but it will be released with the next patch (Varus). My only hope is that Riot picks up the pace in the future and starts adding new features more often than once a year: replays, achievements, game modes, new maps are just some that are often requested by the community.