PBE: How to get a PBE account for League of Legends
With all cool stuff coming to League practically every patch, players are all eager to try new things as early as possible. Luckily, PBE gives you that chance. Let’s dive into the current setup.
In the first half of League’s cycle, players had to explicitly sign up for a separate PBE account and hope that it eventually comes their way. It took me about 15 months of playing LoL to get the PBE account. I still remember the excitement from getting the email as well as the frustration, since I got the notification early in the morning.
Nowadays, things are mostly easier. All you have to do is visit LoL’s website and create a PBE account on top of your regular one. There are, however, stricter requirements:
- The regular account should not be banned currently
- The regular account should be Honor 3 or higher
- Accounts on the Korean server are not eligible
Note that I’m saying your regular account rather than your main account. Nothing in Riot’s guidelines implies that you cannot use a smurf to get access to the PBE. If your main account is banned at the time, so be it?
Thanks to yet another update from Riot, you can download the PBE client of League of Legends by choosing PBE as a region on the login screen. It will be a separate download (just like in the old days), but at least you can manage it with the regular launcher.
Another upside is that you can use most localizations while playing on the PBE. This includes languages that you wouldn’t be able to choose on your regular server. Time to enjoy dem Japanese voiceover!
Unfortunately, regional diversity is not as good as the linguistic one when it comes to the PBE. Riot only hosts instances in North America. As a European, I tend to have a ping of about 200.
A silver lining here is that most people would be playing with higher ping as well. If you feel like the delay makes too much of a difference, avoid playing during peak NA time.
League of Legends operates on two-week patch cycles, so new versions have to be completed almost a month in advance. For example, Patch 10.2 was released on January 22. Shortly after, Riot Games uploaded the contents of Patch 10.3 to the PBE server. The game is less flexible this way, but at least you get to check out new stuff much earlier. This includes balance changes, skins, new champions/reworks.
Apart from changes for the next numerical version, League developers may update PBE with things for later releases and/or experimental stuff. For example, Wukong rework was first presented in late 2019, tweaked for testing during PBE 10.2 cycle, but never made it into the live build of Patch 10.2. Some things, fancy or otherwise, never make it to the larger player base.
Sewn Chaos skins for Amumu and Blitzcrank were eventually cancelled
For some reason, PBE doesn’t seem to be a good testing environment when it comes to players’ feedback. Multiple prominent players and content creators claim that Riot often ignores their bug reports for months and never addresses balance concerns. This leads to extreme outliers like 10.2 Diana with a win rate of 55% or release Aphelios who provide enemies with no context to his abilities.
Essentially, PBE appears to function as stress test grounds and a source of quantitative feedback. Individual concerns are mostly addressed during extended cycles, such as Preseason or new game modes/Teamfight Tactics. This may change at least for skins with the new approach for Season 2020, where Rioters hardly reply to any feedback but go through all of it.
On the other hand, PBE players are not obliged to provide any feedback at all. You may simply try out new champions and satisfy your curiosity about other new things. Although this is practically a standard even for closed betas nowadays, this liberty certainly was novel in the early 2010s.
Skins will be your biggest currency sink on the PBE server. After all, you start with Level 30 and all champions unlocked. There are no daily Riot Points grants anymore (they simply broke), as they were replaced by a daily mission. One matchmade game a day gives you 3,000 Riot Points. Store prices on the PBE are the same as on regular Riot servers (Garena uses different pricing on their Asian servers).
For testing purposes, you’re also able to access several legacy skins. As of January 2020, however, your options are Victorious Elise, Victorious Morgana, Draven Draven. The rarest stuff, like PAX Twisted Fate, is unavailable.
Annie-versary can be purchased on PBE for 2,450 RP
Naturally, Riot Games has a separate PBE board on League’s official forum. It is clustered, but you can still see people get replies from Rioters on critical issues. If the developers specifically want feedback on a new piece of content, they create a thread in the Feature Feedback section.
As for keeping up with changes, the best direct source would be Mark “Scruffy” Yetter’s account on Twitter. The Lead Gameplay Designer shares both tentative updates and completed lists of balance tweaks that would make it to the live servers. Also, the SkinSpotlights channel showcases all pre-release skins.
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Where can I see the PBE server status?
League developers have recently moved on to a unified list of issues across all servers. If there is no mention of PBE on the page, the issue is either too recent and/or not on Riot’s side.
How can I login to LoL PBE?
If you created a separate PBE account before October 2017, it may have been deactivated. Both new and returning players can sign up for a PBE account here.
What does PBE stand for?
PBE is Public Beta Environment, a separate League of Legends server dedicated to pre-release testing of new content and client features.
What are the PBE requirements?
Hardware-wise, you can use any PC that can handle a regular version of League of Legends. To create a PBE account, however, you should be Honor 3 or above and not be banned at the moment. Regular accounts for the Korean server currently cannot be used as a stepping stone for a PBE account.