Wednesday, March 12, 2014

League Analysis: Hexakill Should've Had Draft Mode (and more!)

In the more recent days, Riot has implemented "fun" map modes that exceed the dimensions of the more "standard" maps through modes such as One for All or Showdown. The most recent of these modes was Hexakill, a mode that allowed players to facilitate 6v6 matches (which has been possible since very early on in the game because old spectating involved bringing in a 6th player on both sides). This mode, however, doesn't seem to have received the appeal or adoration that the previous modes have. Why is this the case? In this short article I will try to explain some possibilities as to why Hexakill didn't make as large of an impression and what could've been done to improve Hexakill's popularity.

The existence of a sixth person on Summoner's Rift seems exceedingly underwhelming. At the same time, however, because of the sixth player, the possibility of double top, double jungle, or double mid (this is rare compared to the aforementioned two) means that a new meta may coalesce. For instance, the following metas could exist:
  • Double bruiser and marksman/support duo lanes that can either go top or bot to attempt to get a more favorable matchup, though the overall comp may end up getting outscaled.
  • Two marksman/support lanes could be run, though this may run into the problem of lacking tank/bruiser champions in the overall.
  • An aggressive double caster lane could also be run with double bruiser or marksman/support, though mage champions have a tendency to scale better with levels.
  • Double jungle could also be run, as mentioned above, though the consequence of this is that one or both junglers may end up becoming immensely underleveled if they don't manage to gain absolute control over objectives and/or the enemy jungle. The second jungler could also be replaced with a roamer who goes to help lanes as needed but may not jungle as much.
  • Double mid could be run with any sort of combination, which would increase roaming strength and dragon presence while also forcing the enemy mid into a potential 1v2 matchup, but at the expense of leaving a side lane in the same sort of matchup.
  • And more...
However, given the short time Hexakill was around, there probably was only time to try these "metas" out with little time left to theorycraft potential combinations and six player team compositions and the like (not to mention players didn't remotely have enough time to get more than a few Hexakills).

The above reason is a common complaint for the other limited modes as well, making it less of a Hexakill-exclusive issue as opposed to one regarding limiting enjoyable modes. However, what sets Hexakill apart from Showdown and One For All is that it was limited to Blind Pick mode while Showdown and One For All had their own unique pick types. Aside from the fact players may have a tendency to be partial to Draft Mode (and the fact that this suggestion was made numerous times), I feel there are definitive reasons that Draft Mode may have made Hexakill more intriguing as a game type :
  • Your team and the enemy team can see the comps of the other team and speculate on what sort of meta (or meta break) the team is considering.
    • This also allows players to not "blindly" walk in to a comp that could be extremely frustrating to play against (for example, going against double jungle as Amumu).
  • You are less liable to get "countered" in terms of champion picks (this also applies to Normal Blind vs Normal Draft).
    • In addition, you and other players get the opportunity to run rune and mastery setups based on the enemy composition, much like in Normal Draft mode (as opposed to running something a bit more universal or blindly guessing and potentially getting screwed over).
  • It would give players time to pitch to their teammates ideas of what sort of comp to run (i.e. double jungle, double bruiser top, etc) instead of taking what's available. This could also potentially reduce conflict among teammates since they are more likely to get to do what they want.
  • It gives an opportunity to test features that could be implemented into Normal Draft, such as a 4th ban per team and so on.
With that said, I really hope Riot implements some of these experimental map features soon. While the prior two were very fun, Hexakill, in my opinion, had the potential to add value to the competitive scene at all levels because with a sixth player on each team, there would be a unique, shifting meta specifically for that type of mode.

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