Between RP sellers, scammers and Elo-boost spam, the League of Legends public chat rooms are a serious mess. Too much of a mess to be allowed to live, Riot has decided, and so it's shut them down completely while it tries to figure out how to turn them into something "useful and accessible."
The downside to the most powerful system of communication in the history of the human race is that people will occasionally use it for non-entirely-altruistic purposes. Sometimes it becomes necessary to drop the hammer on bad behavior, but of course that's only possible if there's actually a hammer to drop.
"The official public chat rooms have grown rife with RP sellers, scammers and Elo-boost spam. The default four rooms we established can be used by a tiny fraction of our players at a time. Given the number of League players, most conversation spills into private, community-created rooms," Riot explained in a "Chat Systems Forecast" update. "Unfortunately, private chat rooms and even the awesome community hubs like Dominate Dominion and Summoner School lack moderation tools beyond the ignore button. While the experience in private chat rooms is better than the public versions, we still want to provide tools to address unwelcome drop-ins and toxic behavior."
In fact, the chat room situation is so far gone that Riot has elected to tear everything down and start over. "We're going to disable the public chat rooms until they're useful and accessible," it said. "In their current shape they just don't work and can actively create negative experiences for many players (especially new players)."
Riot said it hopes to turn the chat rooms into "a persistent hangout for the friends you play with," simplifying the process of extending invitations and jumping into games. Some "great communities" already exist in LoL, but effectively managing them is not an easy thing. Thus the do-over, which will begin with "a solid set of tools that empowers players and Riot to create, own and manage all kinds of different social environments."
When the chat rooms will return is anybody's guess at this point; for now, Riot is seeking input from players about what they want to see in the overhauled "social spaces." Tell them what you think at LeagueofLegends.com .