UPDATE: We incorrectly stated that Curse Voice tracked jungle buff timers (it doesn't quite yet) and that it tracks enemy ultimate ability timers (it doesn't). Jack Inscoe, VP of product for Curse, reached out to Examiner and commented on the matter saying, "Our goal is to create features that make the game more fun to play and make your team more effective.
"We are extremely sensitive when creating these tools and services and have vowed to never create something that would give someone an unfair advantage or exploit the game in any way. We will continue to strive to make value-added tools and services with this core ideal in mind."
For what seems like forever, Riot Games has been weighing the pros and cons of players utilizing third party applications to track timers for various camps in League of Legends. Today however, developer relations manager, J. Eckert took to the forums to confirm Riot's official stance.
It's a highly controversial topic among the community as it is possible to know the respawn timers, allowing players to mentally note when things should be available again. Riot has always said that any application that gives you information that you shouldn't have (enemy ward locations, timers of things you didn't see die, etc) are against the terms of service, but these pieces of software have grown tremendously with developers looking to just barely stay within regulation.
The upcoming Curse Voice program automatically sets and displays timers on everything important that is visible to your team. This includes dragon, Baron, and your teammate's ultimate abilities.
"Curse Voice and other related 3rd party mods are something we are actively looking into, given the rise in popularity," Eckert begins. "We are moving forward with how we want to shape our policies around this and I just wanted to give you all a bit of an update on the direction we are headed.
"The original wording was loosely phrased so that we had room to adjust to the best interests of the community on a case by case basis. It's clear however that our choice of wording made our intentions confusing.
How did Riot handle these situations previously? Well it was all kind of murky, "Generally speaking, the intent was that we reserved the right to take action against any programs we deem harmful to the community at any time," Eckert explains," but that we did not have to explicitly keep a meticulous 'bad list' or 'good list' of apps. Instead, things would live in a neutral area until we had a need to make a call one way or another on a case by case basis.
"Unfortunately, this has caused confusion for a lot of you lately into thinking that unless we explicitly green light something, it is a bannable offense. That was never our intent."
So what will the team be doing next? While it's still not set in stone, Eckert gave a rudimentary glance at Riot's approach.
"Moving forward, we are crafting a clearer policy around 3rd party addons. . .To give you some insight on the direction we are headed though (and to solicit your feedback) this is the direction we are heading. (Please note, this is a general idea of where we are headed, and NOT a verbatim example of the new policy.)"
Programs that give you information you have already earned (such as visible timers) are ok. Programs that give you information you have not earned (such as enemy timers/timers in the fog of war), ones that make decisions for you, or take actions for you, are NOT ok.
While these sort of applications help lower tier players improve, they can really complicate higher level of play where every inch turns into a mile. Will "meteos" Harman, Jungler for Cloud 9 (one of the best professional League of Legends teams in North America) commented on the matter through his Twitter account.
"I really disagree with riots stance to allow third party programs to give buff timers, it gives such an unfair advantage to people with them." He continues, "I guess it's a bit personal for me because I spent countless hours practicing how to time buffs, sucks that people can do it for free now."
Instead he thinks that Riot may have to adapt, "If riot wants to automatically time blue/red fine, but don't give an advantage to players who use a third party program."
It's an interesting position for a developer who's constantly growing and adapting. Some of these third party programs are becoming standard for those who play the game semi-competitively (looking to win, not to be paid to play), and Riot is going to have to either say they are okay, ban them, or just incorporate the timers itself.
Wherever the path leads League of Legends, one thing is for sure: the community will voice its opinion.