League of Legends Team Builder enters testing this week

League of Legends' Team Builder feature will enter testing this week on the game's Public Beta Environment (PBE), Riot Games confirmed today.

Revealed all the way back in October, Team Builder is a matchmaking function that allows you to pick your preferred role and attempts to match you with a group in which you can play that role. It's Riot's attempt at creating a more cooperative Champion Select session; I'm sure you've all be in that game where two or three players call the same role and then end up arguing all throughout Champ Select instead of forming strategy. The result is usually someone getting a role they don't want to play and feeding out of spite. Hopefully this solves that; after all, the key to climbing the solo ranks is cooperation and teamwork. If you've got a team of five with everyone playing their preferred position, it'll likely be a better experience.

In any case, the feature is entering testing this week. On Monday and Tuesday (2/3 and 2/4), Riot is going to run a PBE test of Team Builder from 1:00 to 5:00pm PST. Select testers will be able to try out the new feature and provide feedback.

"Team Builder is a complete re-design of Champion Select, which means it’s extremely complicated and there are a lot of changes," Riot says. "One of our goals is to keep collaborating with players on this feature, and collect feedback throughout the development process." 

This isn't the first time Team Builder has been tested, but this one is said to have "a critical difference" from the others. "To be a Captain, you must first select "Create a Group" then invite a friend before you can continue as a Captain," Riot says. Below are some other additions and changes made for this week's PBE test:

  • Purchased skins now immediately available from your inventory. – Only "Any Role" selections will be available for Captains
  • Skins can be selected during matchmaking. – For this playtest only, you must invite at least 1 friend to be a Captain

The following bugs have been fixed for this PBE test:

  • You can cleanly quit from a Team Builder Lobby (no chat messages remain).
  • The “Play Game” button no longer appears until it should be an option.
  • Available Summoner Spells are now shown by level.

The following features are still turned off or incomplete for this PBE test:

  • Friend Invites from Friends List
  • Dynamic Matchmaking Adjustments
  • Estimated Wait Times
  • Anti-Abuse System

As someone who plays solo queue frequently, I'm looking forward to choosing my preferred role ahead of time. It'll hopefully result in a less chaotic Champ Select period. Team Builder won't completely replace the existing queues just yet, but I can certainly see it doing so in the future — especially if the results from this testing indicate an improved player experience.