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The much-anticipated Team Builder mode for Riot Games’ powerhouse title League of Legends debuted yesterday and will be available until 9 a.m. PDT on March 12.
Team Builder mode allows players to queue up for a specific role, position and champion rather than scramble to call, lock-in or beg for them at champion select. Riot believes this will improve player morale and teamwork. “Everyone knows what they’re playing and where they want to go, laying the foundation for great teamwork,” the website says.
Each region will get to test out the mode for a period of 48 hours. Riot will closely monitor the mode to make sure that no critical errors go unchecked, but it reminds players that this is only a beta test.
I spent a few hours with the mode yesterday, and here are some of my observations:
What you’ll like
- Team Builder looks good. The menus are easy to navigate and understand. You select your champion, role and location and the menu gives you an estimate (very long, long, medium, etc.) as to your wait time.
- The reasoning behind the mode is great. Everyone gets to play what they want, and everyone gets a chance to look the team over before committing to a game. There is no initial penalty for leaving after you have found a team, but if you keep doing it, you will face a timer. This should take some serious sting out of what is arguably the most toxic community in gaming.
- The skill levels matched up pretty well. I played three games, and the lowest ranked player I encountered was a Silver III, while the highest was a Platinum III. Two tiers doesn’t seem like THAT big a difference for a new mode still in beta.
- If you are a support or jungle player, your queue times should be very manageable. Your teammates will also love you forever.
What you won’t like
- The main knock against this mode is that it rigidly enforces the meta, which inhibits creativity and new ideas. It is still early, but I found this to be true. Sure, you CAN select any role or position for any champion (see below), but your teammates will likely leave once they see your support Aatrox. You also have the freedom to simply queue up as a jungle, then go for a 3-man bottom lane. But, unless your team is on board with this, the same problem awaits you. If you have a full team that IS supportive of your terrible ideas, then you don’t need to use this mode in the first place.
- There MAY be issues with the chat (see above). The box doesn’t allow you to send blank messages or spaces, so I think my chat was bugging out. Either that, or that crafty Lee Sin was playing a joke on us.
- If you want to play a solo lane, just forget about this mode. I tried to queue up for mid, but after 20 minutes I gave up. Every queue I joined had a wait time for either a support or a jungler. I was able to get in almost immediately as an ADC, but I think that may have been a fluke. This is to be expected, as this mode is just like queuing up as a DPS in an MMO and waiting 30-45 minutes for the queue to pop. I ended up switching my role over to support and getting into a game immediately.
- The fact that you can leave a game without penalty because you don’t like the team/players/anything makes the queue times balloon up. It should be just like every other mode on League of Legends, and I am sure it will be once it is finally unveiled.
- The servers broke a few times during my testing. All modes will suffer until they can finally get those fixed/properly secured.
The Team Builder mode seems to be exactly what we all expected it to be. Queue times are long for the popular roles, and short for the unpopular ones. It helps out with player morale, but it also enforces a specific way of playing the game. I think it offers a lot of intriguing possibilities, but we won’t know exactly what we have until they release it in its final form and allow people to enter Ranked Queues through it.
Originally posted to Gamer Headlines