It’s all change in League of Legends as we roll into the 2016 Season. Pro play begins this very week, so the larger balance changes have already been locked in, but down in the trenches of solo queue and ranked, things are still being experimented with. Soon to launch is the new champion select. It was revealed some time ago, but it’s now gearing up to be put in place, and it’s also been revealed that it means the end of the Team Builder function.
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The aim of the new champion select mechanism is to get more players on champions and roles they like, creating happier teams with better balance and, hopefully, more close, interesting games. Here’s a quick rundown on how it works:
- Players select two roles to take when queueing up, or one role and ‘fill’ if they don’t mind what they play. While it means players will need to be more diverse, once they’ve found new places they’re comfortable it should be better overall.
- Once you’re in a game, you learn which of those roles you’ve been assigned you and who on your team is playing where.
- Just before the ban phase of a normal game, ‘pick intent’ is used to show which champion you’re going for. It displays it to your team-mates, and makes it easier to build good team compositions.
- Bans take place, but are dictated by the three players who are picking last on each team, rather than all by the first player who was previously the defacto team captain. This is to help split responsibility.
- Picks are then made in the same fashion as before, and you get to the fighting.
For casual observers or the non-League-obssesed, this may seem like a relatively minor change, and it is as far as gameplay goes. However, for the community and the way social interaction within the game plays out, and therefore how fun the game can be, it’s huge. Champion select can be where the problems start for the most toxic games, and Riot’s plan is to remove some of that. There are some possible holes, particularly when it comes to forcing players to pick two roles despite the inevitably of them being better at one, but that’s why it’s only rolling out to normal games, not the hardcore ranked queues, first. Changes will be made and it will slowly be applied across the board.
As detailed in this post on the official blog, this means the death of Team Builder, Riot’s previous mini-solution to getting people playing champions and roles they like. It involved getting an entire team together before the draft phase, but meant there could be no bans. It was a good system, but they believe the new one is better. The world will find out when it hits live servers in just a couple of days on the 13th of January.