Like any popular competitive multiplayer game, League of Legends has its go-to characters and its... less well-loved ones. To shake its champion selection up, the game recently started testing a new gameplay mode that has people choose the opposing team's lineup, rather than their own. What could possibly go wrong?
The new mode, known as "The Nemesis Draft", was introduced to the game's public beta environment (PBE) community over the past few days as the first "Featured Game Mode" of the year, as someone from League developer Riot explained in a forum post late last week. The idea for the new mode was to encourage serious League fans to get creative with character combinations by having fun at their opponents' expense. It works similarly to the game's standard 5-v-5 mode, the main difference being that the pre-game draft is done in the opposite order to how it usually works: going down the line, each player chooses a champion character for a member of the opposing team to play. Teams can also select three champions to ban from a particular match.
"So ... we're excited to see how scheming and creative you guys are," Riot's L4T3NCY wrote in the forum post. "Are we about to uncover some diamonds in the rough? Will it be, 'Give them all melee champs' or 'Give them all AD so we can just build armour!' And then the inevitable, 'Ok guys. We've got four junglers and a support.. but so do they! Let's do this.' I can't wait."
In other words: sure, it might be frustrating to fight your way through a League match with a bunch of crummy characters. But since this is an optional mode only available in beta form, everybody could have some fun with it...and get some good old fashion trolling in to boot.
That's all well and good -- in theory. The main problem is that any custom gameplay mode with an arbitrary set of rules that sticks people with less-than-ideal characters is that everyone involved would have to be a good sport about it. League of Legends is an insanely popular and ferociously competitive game that has many ongoing issues that stem from the behaviour of its players. You do the maths.
Once the mode got up and running, players on the League of Legends forum started to write in with myriad frustrations. One complaint that continued to pop up was about excessive "dodging" -- players jumping ship on a particular lobby if they're not happy with their character or the overall team make-up. The ubiquity of dodges got very old, very fast for some players testing out the new Nemesis mode. Like this player, who said what many others were thinking:
As in any typical League of Legends game, dodging leads to an increase in waiting around in lobbies, and generally spending less time actually playing the game. So while some players were tentatively supportive of the new mode in theory, they were annoyed that its debut was being hampered by people who didn't seem to understand or appreciate what the whole nemesis draft idea was for.
I mean...sure, getting stuck with an absolutely horrible character sucks. So wanting to just say "screw it" and wait for another, hopefully better match is an understandable impulse to feel, as one player pointed out:
But isn't getting stuck with "a sucky champ" also the whole point? That's the point that some others feel the community at large has been missing so far:
Some League players who've been toying around with the nemesis draft mode suggested that Riot implement a harsher penalty for dodging to keep the mode up and running properly as a result of the poor sports out there:
The Nemesis Draft is still only available in beta form, mind you, so even Riot isn't sure how it will work out in the main game -- if it ever gets introduced at all.
Personally, I hope that the developer does manage to figure out a neater way to protect against poor sports. Because I love the idea of a purely "for fun" way to play League that lets people mess around with many of the game's less popular characters. Who knows: someone could find some as-yet-undiscovered technique that launches a champion into the top-tier. Or, probably far more likely, people will just indulge in some good silly fun.