LoL Adding Smart Team Builder For Pickup Matches

By Nathan Grayson on October 17th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

A bad League of Legends pickup match can be like showing up to a party wearing the exact same outfit as someone else. It’s super awkward, and you almost immediately start arguing over who gets to slaughter your mutual enemies and their pets while everyone else keeps one of you from keeling over. “I owned this dress first! And I’m a way better AP Carry than you,” says my mixed metaphor born of sleep deprivation, immediately conjuring up images of LoL players of all ages, codes, and creeds duking it out in ostentatious party gowns. Fortunately, Riot might just have a solution (for the role selection issue; not my sleep deprivation or intrusive party gown fantasies): a smart team builder that matches players based on which roles they feel like playing.

Lead social systems designer Jeffrey “Lyte” Lin explained in a forum post:

“An ideal champ select is one where all five players get their preferred role and feel like they’re all on the same page for the upcoming match. Sometimes things work out perfectly and everyone gets the champion and role they wanted without a hitch. But if multiple players are looking to play the same role or lane, a consensus has to be built in a relatively short period of time. That’s time that could be used to get to know each other, agree on a strategy and build confidence that it’s going to be a fun match.”

“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.”

It’ll enter testing soon. In conjunction with that, Riot’s also hoping to beef up the brains of its matchmaking system, which will soon account for experience with any given role, position, or champion. Sounds pretty smart, I think.

The worry, however, is that this system will serve to reinforce a rigid set of metagame roles instead of allowing players to experiment with outside-the-box plans for various champions and positions. And there might be some truth to that, but we’ll have to wait and see how the system is implemented. For now, I at least like the idea on paper, but there will almost certainly be kinks to work out. What do you think?

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32 Comments »

Top comments

  1. AngelTear says:

    I have mixed feelings about this, it really depends on how it is implemented.
    But considering how many trolls and raging kids there are in LOL (mid or feed, and the such, and no one ever ever gives up; I had to play a draft pick game with a top, me as support and 3 adc because no one would let go, even if Riot officially backs pick order to solve controversies) I’d say this could be a good thing. Not sure if I’d like to see it in ranked games though.

    And to be honest, 95% of players will only look to play the current meta as opposed to experimenting with it.

    Edit: Actually, reading the third post on the thread linked in the article, it looks much more flexible than you’d think at first. There is a team leader who decides the strategy and 4 people who come over to fill those roles. It seems that the team leader decides the meta, as opposed to Riot enforcing it. Plus, you can accept or reject the overall strategy before committing to that game and that team leader, so no trolls doing a 5-man-jungle comp.

  1. The Army of None says:

    Super, super excited for this long overdue feature.

  2. Serpok says:

    Did I understood it right? This is basically a wow’s LFR, do people get to just pick role or pick hero, role and lane?

    It might work good in lol – I don’t think it has a single hero that could be efficiently used as, say, both jungler and a support, and no one plays anything but 1-1-2-J anyway.

    • Ringwraith says:

      By the sounds of it you can pick a lane, and can even specify non-standard lane comps if you wish. Or just pick a certain champion, seems fairly flexible.
      It will also work on its own queue to start with as well, which is another good idea.

    • AngelTear says:

      Actually, there are several champions that can be used and are used in multiple roles, even in the current meta.
      Just a few examples: Fiddlestick: jungle-support; Annie: Mid-Support; Aatrox: Top-Jungle; Ezreal: Mid-ADC bottom; Lee Sin: Top-Jungle; Thresh Support-Top.

    • Jockie says:

      Stretching the definition of efficient, but there are characters who can play support and jungle – Fiddlesticks being the most obvious (Karma and Gangplank both do ok too).

      I’ve seen planty of people do lane swaps for early advantages as well, although that usually happens in 5vs5 teams more than pick-up games. I don’t think this feature will affect that.

      But yeah, this feature really could ease the pain of queueing up only to find your favourite role instantly taken away from you and being forced into an unfamiliar position.

      But what I REALLY hope gets introduced is a Ranked version that support duo-queue, because when you queue as a two unless you both main bot-lane you inevitably get pushed away from your favoured positions. This usually ends up with your mate who exclusively plays Lee Sin jungle trying to play Support.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      I hope this doesn’t group champions into positions, that would be stupid. I don’t think that is the idea, this just stops the childish bitching that goes on in champ select over who gets mid etc, once you have your assigned role you should be free to pick whoever you want.
      This could also fall flat on its face once the community realises there are probably 100 groups all looking for a support player because nobody wants to play it.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Oh, pick me, pick me!

      • magogjack says:

        I would have you know good sir/madam that I main support and am fairly certain that I am not no nobody but in fact a someone.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          Hehe, I also play support all the time, you get my sentiment though, there are generally far more mid and top laners than anything else, they could have some wait.

  3. Amun says:

    I used to join defense of the ancients games in warcraft 3, pick a random hero, then follow one of my team. When they got in trouble from the other team, I would just watch them get slaughtered. They would be typing the worst things you can imagine at me before inevitably leaving. I used to break up game after game like this.

    These days my friend wants me to play LoL with him, but I have refused since I know what deep and terrible suffering it would bring him.

  4. AngelTear says:

    I have mixed feelings about this, it really depends on how it is implemented.
    But considering how many trolls and raging kids there are in LOL (mid or feed, and the such, and no one ever ever gives up; I had to play a draft pick game with a top, me as support and 3 adc because no one would let go, even if Riot officially backs pick order to solve controversies) I’d say this could be a good thing. Not sure if I’d like to see it in ranked games though.

    And to be honest, 95% of players will only look to play the current meta as opposed to experimenting with it.

    Edit: Actually, reading the third post on the thread linked in the article, it looks much more flexible than you’d think at first. There is a team leader who decides the strategy and 4 people who come over to fill those roles. It seems that the team leader decides the meta, as opposed to Riot enforcing it. Plus, you can accept or reject the overall strategy before committing to that game and that team leader, so no trolls doing a 5-man-jungle comp.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Yeah when you look at it this could actually HELP experimentation away from the meta.
      At the moment if you try and play something that isn’t meta, even if you try and play a champion which is considered slightly underpowered at the moment, you will receive a torrent of abuse from the other four people in the group, without fail.

      The meta is pretty much decided exclusively by the challenger tier and the pro scene, once the change happens there it filters down to the rest of the players.
      For instance after the Tri-Force change I built it on Ezreal, only to be harassed constantly by 2 teammates for the whole game from the moment I bought it because “that build is trash”, “you are noob” etc. A week later and you would be called a noob for not building Tri-Force on Ezreal because people had since seen all the pro’s do it.

      This could actually help people find groups that are accepting of unconventional picks/builds/strategies because at the moment solo queue and even normal/unranked games you get looked at like a leper for doing anything remotely out of the ordinary.

      Maybe this could even help more unconventional strategies succeed/flourish because they will actually be given a chance to work by a team willing to accept it, at the moment something unconventional is likely to end in a flame fest which means it will fail because the team has stopped working together and are just flaming someone, ofc everyone just puts the loss down to the unconventional pick rather than the fact they are shitty human beings and have zero teamplaying skills.

    • Mercykiller101 says:

      I don’t agree with you suggesting that stifling experimentation with the meta is a bad thing. If people want to try and experiment they shouldn’t be doing it with a PUG, which is what this system is for.

      I don’t want to sound elitist, but I don’t want to be on a team with some genius who insists veigar jungle can work. Go test that crap in a custom game, on your own time.

      • Kitsunin says:

        I get ‘ya 100% if we’re talking about ranked, but I could say the same thing to you: Play ranked and/or outside of a PUG if you don’t want to deal with people who aren’t super cereal, be the asshole that makes everyone unhappy because some guy doesn’t practice several hours a day on your own time ;3

  5. Cam says:

    They needed something to replace their draft picking system for ranked for a long time. Using pick order to solve disputes is completely unreliable, because there are plenty of players who will agree on a role when the selection starts, only to switch at the last second, leaving people after them with lanes they didn’t want or can’t play well; this leads to more bad games overall, and more people leaving during queue. Their current draft pick system is like being stuck in traffic with everyone trying to cut you off.

    I don’t care if they enforce the meta; the various annoyances of both ranked and unranked matching have far more of an impact on people’s game experience than not being able to play jungle-Jinx without people rolling their eyes.

    • darkChozo says:

      This is an alternative for blind pick, at least for now. You queue with a specific champion, so you don’t even go into champion select.

      They’ve said they have some idea of how they’d do draft with it, but I’m not sure how they’ll handle it, given how flexible drafting can be.

      • Cam says:

        A draft-replacing version of this would probably be slightly less flexible than a non-ranked version, but should still be superior to the current random nature of draft-picking. Play enough ranked games, and you easily see the effects of people having their lanes/roles switched around due to people abusing pick order instead of actually cooperating during champion select. The ability to choose a role ahead of time would go a long way to help this constantly recurring situation.

        • gi_ty says:

          I agree.I have played hundreds of games and in all roles, and through that experience have learned that I only play ranged ap/ad champs well. As it is though, I am a team player and will fill whatever role is needed as best I can and its generally not well. I hope this is implemented well as I could focus on my strengths in ranked games and not have to be the only person willing to fill roles.

  6. Mart82 says:

    My biggest gripe with the game over DOTA is the rigidness of play. The last thing I would want as a player who likes to mix things up is the meta reinforced even more than it already is.
    ‘Picks X to fill Y role’…. How DARE you go against the grain GTFO NOOB!!!! /kicked

    No thanks

    • Kohlrabi says:

      I normally ignore meta whiners during hero selection. On the level I play variances in player skill have a far bigger influence on a game’s outcome than meta. It’s most annoying to play with people who cannot even properly navigate their hero or pick proper fights but insist on meta gaming.

    • Awesumo says:

      You see variety in pre-made teams (double jungle, double top lane then swap to double bot lane, jungle + roamer, etc.. but when your playing PUG’s it’s easier if everyone has a role to fill and everyone knows what each other should be doing.

  7. darkChozo says:

    Quick summary because this isn’t quite as obvious an implementation as it first may appear:

    A player or a premade group join the queue as team captain and define a strategy based on roles and positions (ex. fighter top, mage mid, tank jungle, support bot, marksman bot). Then random people can queue up with some champion/role/position combo and will get matched with strats with open slots. Both parties have the opportunity to see the champion/strat and can reject before they join properly, and team captains have a last resort kick if someone joins with AFK in fountain or what have you.

    Once a team is put together based on the captain’s strat, they are immediately put into a match with another team, no champion select required. It’s basically express blind pick with some actual control involved.

    It looks interesting, and certainly creative, though I’m not sure if it’ll ever work for anything draft. Normals are kind of a mess right now though, so it’ll be nice to know what you’re getting into instead of someone locking support Trynd at the last second or whatever. I’m also wondering how it’ll handle the various tiers of unorthadox strats; I’m sure something like a duo mid will work fine, but how long will you have to wait to assemble a team of five roaming supports?

  8. pastuh says:

    I dont get why so long?
    Obvious its best decision.
    1 Year ago i was talking to my friends.. why Riot cant create simple system..
    Choose your champ, press ready and wait your game.
    They could even show in top of client how many players playing with each champ.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Because also the ‘main’ way of playing the game, draft mode, staggers picks between teams after a banning phase, not allowing duplicates, and the alternating pick order meaning you can strategically pick your own based on what your opponents picked.
      This doesn’t work this way, instead functioning as a sort of alternate blind pick mode.

    • Awesumo says:

      That would ‘reward’ people (by giving them more games) if they picked uncompetitive (aka fun, interesting, but invariably loose at higher tiers) champions *cough* Heimerdinger *cough*

  9. Awesumo says:

    1,000,000 RP and 2,000,000 IP …. erm, want to swap accounts with me?

  10. Falcon says:

    The problem I see with this system is the same problem with MMO dungeon queues: when playing LoL ranked, there are by far more people who want to play mid, top, and adc than support or jungle. Support and jungle players will find teams almost instantly while everybody else will sit there waiting for support and junglers to fill their teams out. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than the current system where often people that don’t even enjoy jungle or support get forced into their roles; my girlfriend and I duo queue and since our MMRs/ELOs are close, we both tend to be last pick (a side effect of them bumping up your MMR for matchmaking when duo queuing) and we end up playing a lot of support and jungle because of it. While I don’t mind too much, my girlfriend’s best position is mid, and it’s nice for me to be able to do mid or top from time to time.

    It’s the too many DPS and not enough healers and tanks problem played out in a different genre. It will be interesting to see how well this works.

    • spleendamage says:

      So, how is this a bad thing. If you want to play a lot, you’ll learn support and/or jungler. If you want to just be the carry, for the big numbers on your score sheet, you wait in line…

      • Kitsunin says:

        It certainly does sound better than it only being the douchebags who get to be carry/mid, while the people who are willing to sacrifice and play something they don’t like as much never ever get what they actually want. At least with this system it’s fair for everyone.

  11. Daniel Klein says:

    Our hope is that with the captain being able to define what roles go where on his team, we should not be enforcing one meta. Want a Jarvan/Xin Zhao kill lane bot? Ask for it! Do you think sOAZ’s Blitzcrank top from the LCS is a thing that solo queue needs more of? Queue up as support/Blitzcrank/top and find a team that wants you to play this.

    That’s the theory, at least :)