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So, I was watching the Player Behaviour presentation by Lyte and Carl Kwoh. One of the questions that someone brought up was along the lines on how to form a lasting connection between players since matchmaking in League constantly rotates you with other players - so I thought, if Riot gained the most success improving player behaviour by motivating the community to be active themselves, then why not facilitate that experience of connecting with other players?
Why not make a party system? I know League already has a system like this, but it's really basic and requires invites from others. Plus, the only public ones are custom games.
The Party system
One way to implement this would be to integrate this into the ordinary matchmaking system. Give players a third option in PvP, "Let me join a party". When selected, the player will be given a list, asking him which roles he would prefer to play, as well as other filters. The system will then place those rooms that best match the player's choice at the top of the list, with those that don't really fit the description further down the list.
Speaking of those rooms, they will be created by players themselves. Modify the "Let me choose my own teammates" option. Start by first allowing it to be either public or private. Then choose from a list the qualities you want the members in you team to have - for example, you choose top, so in the options, you set the room to look for a mid, a jungler, an ADC and a support. Perhaps give it optional advanced search options - say you want to play an AP top like Rumble, so you set the room to search for an AD mid. Of course, this means that players who are looking for games will also have to option to say they want specific roles, like "AP jungle" or "AD top".
So, how does this improve player connection? Well, by having a pre-game lobby where people are contented with their roles, more time can be focused on interaction. For example, now with everyone knowing their roles, more time can be spent discussing tactics and other information. Have a large "Add as Friend" option next to everyone's names. Make it such that everyone returns to the party lobby after the post match screen, instead of the main menu. Allow players to get to know each other better by allowing them to play together more often. Heck, even give "consecutive party bonuses" to teams who constantly play as a full team for multiple games in a row, which lessens when someone leaves (it may not be the best idea, but should work nonetheless).
Potential problems and solutions
I understand there are several problems with this, but they can be solved. One issue that would be apparent would be that with so many options, finding a proper room or teammate to complete the party would take longer. I guess that League has already solved the problem due to its really large player base. Plus, with the player not being actually forced to pick a particular role (he simply states which he prefers to play), it lessens the problem.
This brings us to the issue of what to do when a player finds himself no rooms that really fit his description. The solution would be to give players the option to "peer" into rooms, and check what roles they are looking for. Maybe out of all of them, he will be able to find something that he -is- able to play, even though it may not be his original intent.
How do we enforce this then? Well, we can start from when the player first joins a room. Upon entering a room, the player will be shown a window with the available roles to choose from. When he does so, he will be brought into the actual room, with each party member having a tag beside their name showing what roles they are going to play. What this does is eliminate confusion before the game starts, by allowing everyone to see who's going where. When the game does start, there will be a group kick option. If someone does not stick to their role, then a member can initiate a kick vote. As long as 3 out of the 4 voters choose to vote out the player, the offender will be kicked out and all players will return to their party menu. (As a side note, this can also be implemented into the party room itself)
Won't this be subject to abuse though? Well, the thing is, people are likely to dodge anyway if someone decides to troll or fool around, so the issue of the game returning to menu isn't really going to worsen. Plus, if it is a case of abuse by other members of the team to an innocent player, then all the innocent player (who got kicked) has to do is find another room, which he would probably have a better time in anyway since the original party was so abusive to him.
I believe that if everyone knows (and is -content- with) their role, then less time can be spent arguing over who should be what and more time can be spent having meaningful interaction. Also, having a party system that encourages teamplay, rather than just blind matchmaking, lets players have a feel of choosing their teammates, leading to less "why did I get teamed up with him" moments, and thus less raging. Having played other games with a system like this, the only main issue I found was that a lack of players meant that having the perfect composition was very hard to come by. But, since League has so, so many players, I don't think that'll be an issue here. So, what do you guys think?