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League of Legends 2016: champion select, mastery, and ranked update

Riot Games has announced what is in the pipeline for League of Legends in 2016. The comprehensive update covers almost all aspects of the game, and Riot will endeavour to release all of the updates before the end of the year. This follows a massive announcement last week by Riot on changes to the marksman role, alongside in-game updates that will come into effect in season six.

Related: League of Legends bans key reseller from team sponsorship

Champion Select

The current champion select for blind, draft, and ranked in League of Legends is hardly perfect. Players are sometimes unable to get the position they want and the lack of communication leads to arguments before the game even begins.

Riot wants to fix that by creating a new champion select that starts with you picking two roles (top, jungle, mid, marksman, and support) and receiving a pre-assigned role before picks and bans start. Instead of handing the power of bans to the first pick, the three last picks will choose one ban each. Players will be able to show the champion they’re interested in playing before the bans start, to make sure that champion isn’t banned.

After bans, each player will pick their champion one at a time. The player can change summoners, skins, masteries, and rune pages while in the queue. Instead of two players picking champions at the same time, though, the player higher in the draft will get the first pick, followed by the second pick.

Ranked

And instead of only being allowed to solo or duo queue, in season six Riot will let players queue up in “Ranked Teams” of five. These teams will be able to rank up together, removing the barriers for friends who want to play ranked together. Ranked teams will receive IP bonuses for competing as five.

The League of Legends community has been largely against this move, claiming that this will lead to a poor solo queue atmosphere. The additional communication on teams compared to solo queue players might also be a significant advantage, but Riot has said most ranked teams will play against other ranked teams, rather than a group of solo-queue players.

For players below Gold 1, Riot is adding a promo helper system that will give you a free win in your promotion, if you lost your previous series. This will apparently help players with “promo anxiety” that fail to play at the same level while in a promotional series.

Riot is also giving a helping hand to high-level players above Diamond, making matchmaking a lot quicker. Some Challenger-level players have to wait 30 minutes for a game to start, so Riot is looking at balancing the MMR at high-level to add more players into the pool.

Mastery & Crafting

hextech-crafting

Riot is launching a new system to earn champions, skins, and other rewards by playing League of Legends. Champion mastery will be one way to win prizes, but playing in ranked teams or winning a lot of games will also reward you.

The Hextech Crafting system is where players will go to create keys from key fragments and open mastery chests. All of this sounds like Hearthstone’s system for rewarding players with free packs of cards — Riot has even added “essence” as a pseudo currency for creating keys and purchasing chests.

The launch of team icons, ward skins, and chroma packs adds to the amount of content Riot is currently offering for sale. Now, there is finally a way for players to avoid paying for the game, while also getting access to skins and other items.

Social

Alongside ranked rewards when you queue up as a team, Riot is also adding new clubs, parties, and a mobile social app for Android and iOS.

Clubs will be group chats on the client with up to 100 members. Leaders will be able to kick or invite other people to manage responsibilities. Riot claims this will be the place to organize games and events outside of League of Legends.

Parties are a smaller group that will only remain together during one login session. It allows a group of players to stick in one group, instead of losing each other after the game finishes.

The app will let players chat one-to-one with other League players and talk in clubs, making sure to never miss a match and allowing them to meet up outside of the game.

Client

On top of all the changes coming to League of Legends, Riot also announced it is developing a new client from the ground-up based on new technology. It claims the development will not only improve the experience of League of Legends, but will shorten development time by removing a lot of the spaghetti code.

The client will be available in alpha stage later in the year for some of the community to test, but Riot currently has no launch date. No mention of a replay system or sandbox mode for the game was in the announcement.