Playing League of Legends is stressful. But where does that stress come from? Is it the pressure of performing at least adequately in-game? Is it communicating effectively with your team? In a way, the stress comes from a combination of all of those things, but with the newly tested Team Builder, Riot hopes to alleviate the stress that exists before the game even starts.
Before you start a game of League of Legends, you enter what is referred to as Champion Select. Here, the players choose a champion and a role to play them in. The main issue is that oftentimes, there are several players vying for the same role. This can turn what is supposed to be a productive discussion about team compositions into an all-out flame war. While this isn’t always the case, it has become enough of a problem to where the community has repeatedly asked Riot for some kind of solution. Riot responded with the Team Builder, which not only allows every player to have the role they wanted, but ultimately leads to a more pleasant game experience overall.
If you’ve played World of Warcraft before, then the Team Builder system is something you are somewhat familiar with. The Team Builder works in a very similar fashion to the Group Finder in WoW; you queue up based on both your preferred champion and preferred role. You can either choose to queue up as a solo player to fill spots in an existing group or queue up as a Captain with the ability to designate what roles/players you want on your team. The position of Captain essentially allows people to create off-meta team compositions, which is very important to Riot. The issues that were often brought up by Riot staff when someone demanded this system was the idea that Riot doesn’t want to enforce a certain meta (meaning they don’t want people to feel forced into playing the standard 1 top, 1 mid, 1 jungle, 2 bottom). If you’re captain, you can build a team with 2 junglers, 3 mid-laners, and so on. The catch here is that when people join your team, they can choose to leave if they don’t like the composition you’re proposing.
Since Riot released the Team Builder for initial beta testing last week, I was able to play a few games using the new system. As a person that generally likes to avoid conflict, I found that this system was the answer to the stress I feel whenever I queue up for a game. Team Builder in its current state is essentially perfect for players who want to practice a role. At the moment, if you want to try out a new champion, you have to queue up for a normal game in either blind pick (everyone chooses at the same time, people usually state their desired roles in-chat, you can’t see what the enemy chooses) or draft pick (players choose in a random order, one at a time, with bans being determined by both teams and champions selected being shown on both sides).
Again, many players don’t get their desired roles that they wanted to practice and may end up feeling like the game was a waste of time. Team Builder allows you to just go into the role/champion you want to practice and play with a team that wants you in that role. Much like WoW, however, certain roles are more in-demand than others. If you’re a support player, your queue times will be practically non-existent. On the other hand, if you’re a mid-lane player, you might have to wait up to 10 minutes or longer depending on the time of day and other such factors.
In spite of some of the issues that have been brought up with Team Builder, such as the inability to strategize with teammates and the current inability to counterpick the enemy team (you don’t see the enemy champions in Team Builder until the game starts, unlike in Draft Pick where you see them as they’re being chosen, allowing for strategic champion selection) Riot is working on solutions to these problems. Many players are asking for this method of Champion Selection to be implemented in Ranked play, others are saying it may just hinder the intent of Ranked play and the more competitive Draft Pick system. What are your thoughts on the matter? Is Team Builder an effective enough system to be played in Ranked games? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!