My first thought when I opened up the new lobby type on League of Legends called “Team Builder” was “damn… am I playing Warcraft 3 again?”. The layout was very simple to understand, and it looked like it was made for a Battle.Net game which came out about ten years ago. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing… I actually really enjoyed the layout, and it made me feel like I was playing an online competitive video game again. Staring at an outdated client while there is a countdown at the top of the screen has never stood out to me as something a competitive game would have, so this new lobby just made the game feel more intense before it even started.
Okay, okay, I talked about the lobby enough… right? Nope. It’s a small part of the experience, but it really is a necessary part of any online game in my opinion. Hell, even Halo 2 had an amazing pregame lobby on the Xbox and that game came out a couple thousand years ago. My favorite part about the lobby is the opportunity to chat with your teammates while you are waiting for a match to be found. This is a great way to get to know your teammates and joke around a bit before the match, and I felt like it got rid of much of the toxicity which plagues the fields of justice. In this lobby you can see the champions and roles that everyone is playing, and you can discuss strategies using your team composition. On top of this, everyone got to play the role that they asked for, so there was no need to argue in the lobby over “pick order vs. call order”. I felt a much friendlier atmosphere in the Team Builder lobby than the usual blind pick / draft pick lobbies.
Some issues with Team Builder that I ran into during the few games that I played are as follow:
1. The roles aren’t properly labeled. I had a “fighter” support, and it ended up being a Darius who actually wanted top lane. The roles mix sometimes in the pregame lobby process of choosing them, and this can make for some odd team compositions. I had a Malzahar ADC that same game.
2. You cannot establish a solid team composition without booting players on your team and waiting for the right champion to show up. It would be nice if you could call a role and maybe 3 champions in which you wanted to play so that you could choose based on your teammate’s champion choices.
3. My final complaint isn’t really a complaint, but a suggestion. This lobby was really fun and reduced the toxicity in every game I played ten-fold, and I would like to see it implemented in a non-blind pick format. As I stated in problem #2, I think that you should be able to choose a few champions to go into the draft lobby with, and choose from those after a banning phase has gone through. In a ranked lobby, I think that you should just need to call a role and not a champion. This would allow for both the banning phase and the picking phase to occur. Draft would still go in order like it currently does, but you would only be able to choose a champion to fill your respective role, and everyone would be happy because they would get the role they wanted. For example, if I wanted to jungle Elise, I would go into ranked queue with “jungle” as my role, but not Elise. The draft lobby would go through as normal, and if Elise was up when it was my turn to pick, I would pick her.
On a completely unrelated note, I am terrified of spiders but Elise is my favorite champion in the game. Oh what a tangled web we weave…
All in all, I really enjoyed Team Builder and I hope that they find a way to implement it into the Live server forever very soon. The toxicity levels dropped dramatically, and I actually felt like the people on my team were my teammates rather than crazy psychopaths sitting behind a computer screen waiting to stab the next person who stole their blue buff. The game was fun… really, really fun.
TL;DR: Team Builder = #Worth