My thoughts on League of Legends: One for All

League of Legends: One for All is a special, limited time, featured game mode where everyone on your team plays as the same champion. The latest iteration of One for All happened between August 5-8 2016.

The champions are chosen by a voting system. During pre-game, a random player from each team gets to ban three champions from the match. After the banning phase, teams can’t tell what the other team is doing. Each player nominates a champion. Multiple teammates are able to choose the same champion as any teammate. The majority nominated champion wins, or a weighted lottery takes place with odds acording to nomination percentage. Often, individuals end up having to play a champion they did not want to play. This fact can lead to a number of nasty problems which I’ll describe below.

Dodging

It seems like moreso than ARAM, one player will decide to quit the game rather than playing the match, kicking the 9 other players out of the pick & ban phase and back into the queue. These dodging players will sometimes give their reasoning for the dodge. “Evelyn is the most retarded pick ever. Bye.”

Dodging can be quite annoying for the players who were ready to play. The majority or lottery must take place again once a new match has been created. Sometimes, picking a champion that a majority agrees on is difficult, and takes some convincing. All this effort is nullified once a player dodges. I have seen a dodge streak of 2, where two subsequent matches were cancelled due to two players dodging. I have heard of dodge streaks of 4, where one non-dodging player had to wait through 4 pick/ban phases before they were able to play.

Big thanks to leaver-buster here. Leaverbuster makes it so players who dodge cannot rejoin the game queue for twenty minutes. Without leaverbuster, this problem would be even more pronounced. I was hoping I could make some sort of suggestion to improve the dodge problem, but I don’t have any other ideas right now. I just want to say to the dodging players– One for All is a special game mode. Read the description and don’t queue up in One for All if you aren’t prepared to play a champion you don’t like!

edit I have since thought of a suggestion for the dodging player problem. Player substitutions! Players who have earned Teamwork ribbons are elligible to serve as substitutes. Instead of 9 players being booted out of the pick/ban screen, the dodger leaves the game, gets leaverbusted, and a substitute is swapped in from the substitute queue. To valid substitues (friendly teamworking players), substitute queue is no different from a regular queue. The substitute just gets to “cut in line” and potentially skip a large part of the wait in pick/ban phase. This would take some engineering, but it would give players one more reason to not be a dick in game, which I fully welcome. Fast queues and interesting games for teamworkers!

Team morale

If you were in a normal game and there was a lane with a recurring 1v1 battle between one overpowered champion and an underpowered champion, the team with the one underpowered champion can work around the difference in power. The underpowered champion could get carried. The underpowered champion could hug the towers and play passive. The underpowered champion could switch lanes. In One for All, if you get a 5v5 battle between five overpowered champions and five underpowered champions, life is horrible for the underpowered. Tactics can help a great deal, but at some point, the opposing champions might just outscale you. This leads to poor morale, frequent ff@20s, and the next problem.

Team putdowns

“I kicked them right into you and you and you just stood there. You’re bad.”

This situation was true, but the reaction wasn’t helpful. Instead of saying, “you’re bad”, I wish this player would have taken the special game mode into consideration. A comment more to the extent of, “when I kick them to you, try to auto them and then mash W and E” would have been more sportsmanlike. The player who f’d up may have been playing the champion for the first time. The player may not play that champion’s class, ie. the player could play only ranged mages, but the pick was a melee AD juggernaut. Playing a champion well takes experience that the player simply might not have had.

You may know that already, but again I bring up the previous point, Team Morale. I’ve seen more team put-downs in this mode than any other I have played (with the exception of ranked.) People make mistakes, teammates get pissed, and the blame game begins. It is so consistent in this mode, I’m just amazed. The negativity repeats so often that starts to become funny. Whichever team is getting pwned will try to forefeit, and when a few teammates reject the idea, shots start firing. I even see it in /all chat, “My team plays like bots.”

This is a big problem I see in every game mode of League. The player may actually be very bad, but the putdown doesn’t help anyone. I think it’s more likely to hurt the player’s or team’s performance, and maybe even benefit the opposing team. I think a sportsman should offer a bad player a tutorial and pep-talk rather than a shame and a slam.

There’s no good solution to this problem. League provides an endless rollercoaster of emotions, and I can understand the reasoning some players have for being a total jackass when a 45 minute game goes sour. I’m not agreeing with it, and I think there are better ways to cope, but it’s out of my power and that’s life, I have to take the bad with the good, the yin with the yang.

Conclusion

Even with the problems, One for All is very fun. My best games were had when my team started out with a seemingly bad champion, then worked together to decide tactical build items, ganking strategy against that one really good enemy player, split pushing while bot got trampled, overcoming the downsides of our team pick, fighting back and forth, neck and neck, then eventually destroying the Nexus together.

It really takes a positive attitude, or at least holding my tongue when I want to completely give up. In those moments of doubt, I find it’s best to stay quiet, play safe, and rely on my team until I see an event that gives me a spark of hope. I think it’s much better to say nothing than say something negative and start a train of grief. It’s been exhilarating to see some of the comebacks we’ve been able to pull off.