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League Of Legends will be radically changing the way that players select their champions for Ranked matches. Some players are very unhappy with the new system but I can't wait for it.
The current system for Ranked matches is a Draft. If you want to play a Ranked and you don't have a set team, you're matched up with four random players with roughly the same rank as you. While you're in a lobby together, you quickly have to figure out who's going to play each of the five roles. Ideally, the conversation goes something like this:
Player 1: I prefer mid or top
Player 2: ADC please
Player 3: Support or top please
Player 4: Mid would be great
Player 1: Okay I'll play top then.
Player 3: Support it is!
Player 5: Perfect, I love playing jungle! Players 1-5: League of Legends - come for the game, stay for the community!
Unfortunately, these deliberations don't always go so smoothly. You might end up with two people that only want to play mid. Someone who almost never plays support might be forced to do so. In rare cases someone will say "mid or feed" - meaning that they'll intentionally get killed by the enemy team over and over if they get stuck with another role and thereby throw the match.
If you're saddled with a role you don't want to play, your choices aren't great. If you duck out of the game before it starts, you'll take a slight penalty to your Ranked progress. If you suck it up and play the game, you might cost your team the game by being bad at your appointed role and take an even larger hit to your progression through the ranks. Even if you end up winning, though, you could potentially have a lot less fun than you would've had if you got to play the champion and role you wanted all along.
Riot Games' new plan for Ranked is to incorporate Team Builder features for all matchmaking. Team Builder is a system currently available in Normal (unranked) matches that lets players queue up for a game with a specific role and champion. They're then matched up with four players that picked the other roles. This means there's zero discussion about roles or champions once you're matched up. Everyone's getting what they want.
Team Builder Draft is a hybrid between the current Ranked matchmaking and Team Builder. When you want to play Ranked, you'd pick a primary and secondary role. If you're a jack of all trades, you can pick "Fill" as your role to indicate that you'll play any role. The system will search first for teams that need your primary role and then for teams that need your secondary role. Then the five of you will be brought together in a lobby to pick your champions and bans.
This won't solve every disagreement. A player could queue up for mid and top and then try to force his teammates to give him mid - a bannable offense, Riot says. Or that someone will queue for roles with shorter wait times and then try to get a different role. There's also no guarantee that your teammates won't make dumb decisions with champion select or bans. There's always going to be a guy who picks Yasuo when the rest of his team is AD or decides Bard is ban-worthy. I do think that this system will, however, result in fewer lobbies where everyone's fighting over the same two lanes.
I do understand why some long-time League of Legends players might not be fans of Team Builder Draft, though. The one upside to the current system is that it encourages people to be well-rounded. Most players will try to be at least competent in every role before they step into Ranked. Getting experience in every position arguably makes you smarter at the game as well. By letting players queue up just for two roles, players won't need to learn the three others.
Riot's making some concessions to the well-rounded players out there. The "Fill" role for Team Builder Draft will give you an experience that isn't far off from the current system. Plus, Riot says that they may give a bonus to players who decide to "Fill." The fact that Team Builder Draft will become the only option for Ranked rather than an alternate queue is bound to result in some angry debates but at least Riot's trying to keep some elements of the old system in place.
Personally, the possibility of having to play any role stops me from jumping into Ranked most of the time. When I sit down to play LoL, I have a specific position or champion I'm in the mood to play. Why would I play Ranked and have a 20% chance of playing my preferred champion when I can just do Team Builder in Normal mode and have a 100% chance? Team Builder Draft just feels like a much more user-friendly solution for Ranked matches. Everyone has a much higher chance to play how they want to play.
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