League of Legends spectator mode revamp adds time controls and AI-driven camera

Josh Augustine at

There's already a spectator mode in League of Legends, but it's pretty bare bones and not many people use it currently. But all that's about to change with the official release of spectator mode, coming in the next patch, that adds a ton of new features and awesome ways to watch your buddies dominate in the Fields of Justice.

The four main features of the new system are outlined in the video above. My personal favorite is the ability to simply right-click someone's name on your friends list and click Spectate to immediately jump into their game and see how they're doing. Is Lucas really dominating as Anivia, or is he lying to cover his shame of being 0-21? I can see for myself, and also take a peek at how close he is to finishing so I know if I should wait for him or get a quick co-op match in before we play together. Once you're in, the TiVo-style time controls are going to be crazy fun to play with: slow-mo when Lucas traps Teemo behind an ice wall. Yes, squirm, you little yordle freak, squirm!

The most innovative element is probably the Directed camera mode that lets AI control what you're looking at and attempts to show you the best parts of the match at all time. This could be an amazing feature that lets you kick back and relax when you're watching games that aren't being shoutcasted. The AI will have to be pretty stupendous to keep it from becoming frustrating or semi-useless, though, so I'm eager to test this out. Combined with the launcher's new Top Games listing that directs you to the best LoLers duking it out at any given second, it sounds like the new spectator tools will be able to immediately put you in front of prime LoL esports entertainment.

As of now, you can only view live games and the tool will not support saving videos of matches or watching replays outside of moving inside of the live game you're currently viewing. However, Riot Games has consistently said that this spectator mode tool is laying the groundwork for replays, so I expect they've got a team working hard to make those a reality in the semi-near future.