Hello. As the title suggests, this post is about whether or not players should be allowed to play champions they have never played before in ranked play. I am going to try and set out my reasons in a very clear and thoughtful way so that Riot can have a look and consider it (again? I assume this has been considered in the past) so it is going to get a bit long.
To start, I like this game. I have played it since the very early days and I will continue to play it irrespective of whether or not this issue gets fixed. However, it **is **an issue and it can very easily be fixed by implementing a rule which says that a player must play a certain number of games with a champion, or reach a certain level of mastery before they bring that champion into a ranked game. I don't know how many games that should be, but I would suggest that it is at least 10 (though I personally would like to see more played).
The reason I would like to see this implemented is because I believe it wouldn't fix every issue in LoL, it would go a long way towards improving many of them. For example:
* Quality of Play - The first and most obvious point is that it would improve the quality of ranked play. This is because it would (a) mean that everyone on the map has at least a basic understanding of their champion and (b) it would prevent people from randomly pick a FOM champion they have never played because they got stomped in the previous match by it. Simply put, games would be more about which teams players played well in that specific matchup, and less about who lucked into being against a team of people who don't understand their champions.
* Flaming and Trolling - When people get stomped, or they make bad plays due to inexperience, it causes other players to flame. This change would certainly not get rid of flaming, but in simple terms better play (in the short term and long term) leads to less flaming which leads to less trolling. In addition, people would be less likely to risk having their accounts banned if they knew that there wasn't just a grind to level 30 to get back into ranked, but also getting new mastery on all of their champions again.
* Queue Dodging - Most people dodge queues because they look up summoner scores on champions, and if they see that their team is bad, they dodge. Therefore, more experience and better play generally = less dodging.
I could go on about all of the knock-on effects of each of these (generally happier play and better attitudes, etc. but I think the point is made. I've seen a number of counter-points made in the past so let me address each of those:
* "It would be tedious to get mastery on champions in normal" - It is far more tedious
to be stuck in a game where your team has given away 15 kills in 8 minutes, and you will have far more of these under the current system than the number of games required to be at least mediocre on a champion.
* "You can’t get good experience in normal games because people are playing for fun, so you need to practice in ranked" - I agree that ranked is better experience, but that does not mean that you need to start there. Level 1 isn't as good as experience as ranked, and we don't have level 1s running around in ranked because it would clearly affect the quality of play. This issue also affects the quality of play, and should be treated in the same way.
* "If you are good enough you will climb anyway, so who cares?" - This is true. However, I would argue that your experience of climbing would be far more enjoyable if you were consistently playing with and against players who have an idea of what to do, rather than going from totally stomping an enemy to desperately trying to carry a game where every other lane is getting stomped.
* "You would need 20 champions to play ranked" - See the point about tediousness. In addition, playing at least 20 champions would improve the overall quality of play, as people would have a better understanding of how different roles and champions work. This, in itself should also be a requirement for competitive play.
* "I played the champion before the mastery system came out" - This is the situation I am in, and I would suggest that if you haven't played a champion since the mastery system came out, then you probably need some practice on it anyway. I accept it is inconvenient, but the benefit far outweighs this inconvenience.
* "It’s my smurf account - my main account has mastery" - Smurfs are another issue altogether which generally ruin the quality of play and exaggerates community toxicity. If this system made smurfing more difficult or inconvenient, then I consider that a bonus.
* "The community is full of 12 year old kids who would be annoyed by this" - Why is this even a consideration?
In summary, I could write a list from here to the moon about why it makes sense to implement this change. I am going to keep playing the game either way, but I hope if Riot sees this, it will take the time to consider the immediate and obvious positive impact it would have in relation to a number of longstanding problems with this game. Other MOBAs (such as HotS) have a similar system, so it is absolutely doable.
I understand that there may be some people who feel different. If that's you, please explain your reasoning to me, because I honestly cannot see any reason to keep the system the way it is.
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