League of Legends, the hugely popular Defense of the Ancients-style multiplayer game, is about to become seriously competitive. Not that it wasn’t competitive enough before, which you’d know if you’ve been yelled at by some of the game’s less than friendly players. The type of competitive I’m talking about involves ladders, ELO ranking numbers, premade teams, champion draft selections and live television broadcasts. Serious.Pendragon, League of Legends‘ Community Director, dropped the the announcement this past week:

“We’ve been doing a whole lot of talking about Season One lately, and I am sure that you’re all wondering when exactly you’ll be able to start indulging in the epic new features that come with it. Well, today, I’m here to officially share with you that we are targeting the 13th of July for the launch of Season One. That’s right, Runeterrans, your long wait is nearly over! This time next week you’ll be firing up your first ranked games in competitive Season One! I hope you’re all prepared!”

Here’s a rundown of Season One’s main features:

Ranked Games:

Once Season One begins, summoners of Level 20 or above will be able to indulge in our ranked game system. At launch, ranked players will be able to join one of three queues: 3v3 Premade, 5v5 Premade, or 5v5 Solo. Players will receive an individual rating for each of these queues.

Ladders:

Once Ranked Play begins, players who choose to participate will have their Elo ratings displayed publicly on the League of Legends Ladder. On the ladder, players will be able to see just how they stack up against the rest of their fellow summoners. The ladder will be available on the League of Legends Community Site.

Draft Mode:

Champion selection during ranked play will take on the form of a live draft. In 5v5 premade and 3v3 premade, the first phase of this draft process will provide the inviter[sic] of each team with the opportunity to ban the use of two champions. Banned champions cannot be selected for use on either team, so choose wisely!

After bans have been dispensed by both sides, the teams will begin the draft process. During ranked play, draft picks will be exclusive, meaning that a drafted champion will not be available for play by the opposing team. The team who received the second ban will begin the drafting process by drafting a single champion. Following that, the game will follow a 1:2:2:2:2:1 draft format for the 5v5 brackets and a 1:2:2:1 format for the 3v3 bracket.

Through this system, we hope to encourage players to embrace a wider range of champions, allow for teams to effectively counter popular strategies, and develop a familiarity with their opponents and counter accordingly. Initially Draft Mode will be available both in Ranked Play and in practice games. Casual games still utilize blind pick during champion selection.

Improved Visual Styles:

Since our launch back in October of 2009, our UI Team has been hard at work improving the visual components of the PvP.net interface. With the substantial renovations required to support Ranked Games, now seemed like the opportune time to give the game a facelift. We wanted the new look for League of Legends to be brighter, more visually appealing, and easier to use. I could elaborate further, but I think that once you get a look at the accompanying screenshots their work will stand on its own.

The features we can expect for Season One, while exciting beyond all reason, are the bare bones what a lot of LoL players were expecting. While the graphical upgrade is a nice surprise, the majority of competitive players are sitting, wondering where League of Legends‘ replay or observer systems are. Currently, competitive players can find a wide selection of LoL matches streaming on Livestream.com, often accruing thousands of spectators. I can’t imagine this is an audience Riot Games wants to lose to outside sources.

My conspiracy theory is that Riot will make a surprise announcement on G4TV, showing off their observer system to a national audience. After all, how else will the be showing games? They’ll either have to have a live premade team in the studio, be capturing the games off of Livestream, or have an observer system in place being tested.

On top of all of the new Season One features, Riot has also announced a new champion for the grand opening in Xin Zhao, the Seneschal of Demacia. Make sure and check out this champion’s first details here. There’s also been mention of multiple new champions available at Season One’s launch. Riot is really going all-out this time around.

Are you a League of Legends fan? Ranters, I’ve got to recommend this game from the top and bottom of my soul. It’s a million times more accessible than your Warcraft III Defense of the Ancients maps; the community is top notch; there’s tons of champions to play and goof around with; it can be legitimately challenging and competitive, if you’re looking for that.

You need to be level 20 to participate in the Ranked matches, so make sure to create an account and start racking up those triple kills!

Source: League of Legends Forums

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