To share some insight into the PBE release of [persistent chat rooms](http://boards.pbe.leagueoflegends.com/en/c/client-new-features-feedback/IapEOvEg-new-upgraded-chat-rooms), Limely (product owner and designer) and Drevarius (designer) dished about the past, present and future of how we hit the Rift with friends. Read on to learn more about where we’ve been and where we’re headed with League’s social systems. We’ll hang out to answer questions below.
So, persistent chat rooms hit the PBE earlier today. How do you expect players to use them?
We expect groups of friends to use persistent chat rooms to stay connected, organize games, and potentially get to know friends of friends. Having a bit of chat history also makes it easier to have some context for the conversation when you log on and join the chat room.
We also put moderation tools in there so players can have some control and keep out unwanted guests like spam bots and sketchy dudes. Ultimately, this stuff is pretty overdue, but we’re still excited to get it out the door.
Cool. So, bigger picture: “Social systems” is a big and kinda vague term. What’s it mean to you? What are some of your guiding principles for building social systems and features for League?
Social systems are essentially features that connect players and encourage them to experience League together. This is still a big and vague description, but there are a lot of components that contribute to social, like finding IRL friends (Facebook friend discovery), learning more about the friends you already have (player hovercards), and sweetening the pot for playing together (party rewards).
These features all individually add value, but they’re pretty narrow and isolated in terms of the problems they solve. We want to start looking at “social systems” as something more cohesive. We want to get to a point where the whole suite of features work together to do all the things Drevarius mentioned and more.
That’s our big picture goal, but the actual implementation starts with some tedious overhauling of existing and foundational systems. That work was and still is time-consuming and almost invisible to players, which sucks. The strategy moving forward is to release larger features piece by piece, that way we ship stuff at a better cadence and iterate based on timely feedback from players. Persistent chat rooms, a pretty modest system on its own, is an example of one of those smaller, quicker steps.
How do small steps like persistent chat rooms feed into that broader vision for social systems?
Well, we’ve tried to make it easier to connect players with their friends, but we’ve learned that sometimes it takes more than that to get friends actually playing together. If you have no context as to the type of player your new friend is--jungler/silver/Warwick main--you might never go to the trouble of finding out if your playstyles are compatible, let alone jump into a game together.
It’s about more than providing playstyle context through hovercards though. Party Rewards get people playing together through bonus IP, but that doesn’t mean the friendship will stick and those players will keep playing together. So the strategic approach Limely’s talking about needs to include ways of finding players that you want to keep playing with.
You mentioned friends of friends. Do you see those connections as especially important?
Yeah, we do. You’re more likely to have things in common with friends of friends than outright strangers. And besides that, when we help you connect those dots, you can play together without that mutual friend.
Hopefully the mutual friend doesn’t get too jealous. What are some of the bigger picture social challenges you’d like to tackle in the future?
I think the big one we’re aiming at is giving players a reason to strengthen the bonds they have with current connections, maybe even helping them become genuine friendships. We think there’s something compelling about a group identity as well. That group identity can attract strangers who share similar playstyles, giving players even more people to play with.
We also want to make sure that the friends we’re helping you make are friends you can actually have a good time playing with. That mix of group identity, similar playstyle, and a mutual friend or two could be really compelling. When I group up with friends, I feel like I’m ready to take on the world--we want more players to experience that feeling.
The three of us will hang around the comments for a bit. Hit us with your questions about League’s social systems and look for persistent chat rooms to reach live after a bit of testing!