In real-world work, team building exercises mean everybody losing a perfectly good day to go-karting or zorbing. In League of Legends, it’s going to mean less time wasted, not more: the new Team Builder is a queue system designed to telegraph players’ favourite roles and champions to each other before they hit the lanes.
In a beta test on live servers this week, players will select the specific role, champion and position they’d like to play before joining a team. The hope is that, if everybody knows who wants to do what, they’re “laying the foundation for great teamwork” - and reducing the likelihood of swears and threats later.
Riot will roll out Team Builder testing across LoL’s various regions between now and Friday - beginning with RU and EUNE and gradually spreading to TR, EUW, BR, NA, OCE, KR, LAS and LAN region servers.
“We took into account the size of each region, the available architecture and hardware, and the current player experience (such as current queue times for all levels) to design the staggered launch,” explained the developers.
Riot will monitor the results of each test for critical bugs or issues and be on standby to ensure the “health of the system”.
“Our main goal is delivering an awesome experience so we’ll postpone or revise the schedule as needed, and each region will have a thread keeping you posted on the current status,” they wrote.
Team Builder won’t replace LoL’s other queues - instead existing alongside normal blind and normal draft pick in unranked Summoner’s Rift matchmaking.
There are currently no plans to implement it for ranked play - Riot believe the existing banning and picking order mechanics are “critical to the competitive nature of ranked mode” - but the developers plan to apply some of Team Builder’s features to other queues and modes if they turn out to work particularly well.
There are limits to the new selectivity. Players who reject “more than a reasonable number” of potential group-ups will be subject to cooldowns or even the loss of Team Builder privileges. Captains who boot unreasonable numbers of players, meanwhile, will be punished in similar fashion. Check the official FAQ for more.
Do you think you’ll make good use of this? In a game as team-centric as LoL, it certainly can’t hurt to check that everybody’s on the same page before they leave the lobby - can it?