Shortly before the conclusion of Season 3 last year, Riot Games announced ‘Team Builder’ for League of Legends, a comprehensive way to eliminate the need to compromise roles in the game.
Scheduled for a probable release this year, Team Builder will allow players to queue up by stating their desired role, champion and position. A promised improved match making system will then connect five of the players into the game. Hence, providing a team whose players are not stingy over having to compromise on a specific role, which in most cases is usually the support role.
But doesn’t this automatically enforces the meta, to which Riot Games has been against for so long?
When League of Legends was released, there wasn’t any specified meta or roles. Players were free to dwell into whatever positions or roles they wanted to. However, with the passing of each Season, the competitive scene began giving birth to new styles of play each year.
The support role for one was never intended for the game, or at least I believe that to be so. Pretty soon having a support on every team was deemed necessary. However, that role was usually force-fed to the one who was last-pick in the champion selection screen.
Plenty of reasons as to why it was considered an unattractive role – a support player is not to get kills over his accompanying partner in the lane; the role is considered too passive and boring by most; it’s a difficult role where messing up can have heavy consequences.
For a game-like League of Legends, I believe restricting a player’s game-style can prove damaging to the community’s life in the long run. Hence, if prior to the announcement of Team Builder, it was going unsaid, it was now believed that Riot is finally accepting the meta and enforcing players into specified roles.
Many thought the new feature to be a double-edged sword. Where Team Builder would get you five players who are happy with their selected roles, but at the same time it also meant restricting the game. However, that isn’t the case.
Riot Lyte, the game’s lead social systems designer, stated last year that the Team Builder will allow players to go past all of that and it’s not necessary that a game must have the regular 1 mid, 1 top, 1 jungler, and two in the bot lane combination.
As the Captain of a group of players joining the queue, you’ll have the option to accept or decline players (with their specified roles) being thrown at you by the system.
To balance this out “Summoner Names are not revealed to the Captain at this time so the team can’t do any scouting.” This eventually means that you can choose what type of composition you want.
Want to head into the game with two junglers instead of one, just accept another jungler for your team. Care to play with assassins only, keep on declining the rest of the roles and accept assassin champions only.
There of course is going to be a limit to how many times a Captain can decline players, but overall it will remove the issue of players being grouchy for having to fill the shoes of an unwanted role.
Team Builder is intended to bring players together that complement each other’s expectations and intentions from the moment they enter the lobby. When everyone’s aligned on who will be going where and playing what, the only thing left to figure out is how to dominate the opposition.
Initially Team Builder will only allow you to select one role. Many excel in multiple roles but with the new feature will have to compensate for one alone.
According to RiotDavin, Senior User Researcher, Riot Games is going to be “starting with the most core functionality” and then work their way from there. So it’s possible that a later update will allow you to queue in with multiple roles selected.
One major concern that I have with the introduction of Team Builder is the queue time. In contrast to quickly connecting five random players, finding ‘selective’ players might increase the time taken to start a game.
A bit of searching today made me come across a comment by one of Riot’s developers who revealed that “the people who identify with the roles don’t have as much variance as people expect. Lowest is jungle at ~17%, top end is Mid at ~22%, with the rest spread between there.”
He also added that the team will be “keeping a close eye on queue times” once Team Builder is rolled out.
While our personal encounters may say otherwise, Riot’s statistics spell out that roles are evenly spread out and hence, we’ll not necessarily have to wait it out to find a support player.
Lyte also revealed an impressive tweak to the upcoming new Match System, which will take into account the number of games and performance of your selected role and champion before connecting you with suitable team mates. So for example if you’re trying out a jungler for the first time, the game will try to match you against similarly skilled opponents.
Once again, the quality and perfection of this new system is yet to be seen. While it sounds good in theory, the current match making system also promises the same aspect but isn’t quite that perfect.