A single player may have created League of Legends' most useful out of game tool, and they've come out of basically nowhere to do it. Posting on Reddit under the username Syl_Stormblessed, the creator of the imaginatively named Theorycraftr quit their job to create it over the last few months. In it, players can simulate battles between champions, adding in multiple opponents, items, spell timings and attacks to experiment with how best to build characters in certain matchups. It's an incredibly powerful new addition to the suite of support tools for getting better at the PC's biggest game.
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So how does it work? Usefully, Syl has created a short video tutorial to show off all its capabilities, plus explain which bits do what.
With Riot's refusal to create a sandbox mode for the game, much to the ire of the community, this is now the defacto way to test things without teaming up with a friend to jump in game. Beyond that, it is actually more powerful and easier to use than a standard sandbox would be, capable of switching between different builds more easily, saving them and sharing them with forums or, as the creator suggests, on Tinder. Goodness knows, those folks could use some better Draven builds.
It's even attracted some attention from Riot, as a quick scroll through the Reddit comments will show. Reina Sweet, AKA Riot Reinboom, one of Riot's Technical Designers, provided some feedback on layout and minor tweaks. Another of their guys, Erik Reynolds, said the creator should have a look at job postings within Riot now that they've finished the project and are back to looking for a job.
Most important is the reaction from players, who have been uniformally appreciative and bringing loads of suggestions of their own. For some, it's exactly what they've been looking for. Even those who aren't interested in using it to improve their game, for information hounds like casters and stat-trackers, it can only be useful. When new patches come out, it's going to be the quickest way to form first opinions on new content before taking it in-game, and should generally improve the level of knowledge and skill within the community. In the hopes of continuing the project in a more professional capcity, Syl's set up a Patreon for the project.
There's a lot of plans for the future, getting the tool to analyse replays and spit out optimal moments for each lane where power spikes appear for one side or the other. There's also plans for it to extract fight data and show where things could have been improved, or let you take that information and change variables to see how different decisions would have affected the outcome. I'm excited to see how the project grows and hopefully Riot can put this person to work on an official tool with even more functionality.