League of Legends isn't an easy game. Anyone who says otherwise is either bragging or, well, probably an #eSports champ. But for the rest of us lowly players, sometimes a little practice is in order, especially when learning a new character. Luckily, that's exactly what Riot has revealed for their game: a practice mode.
Practice Tool is on its way to League of Legends, and it looks quite impressive. The mode lets players practice mechanics in a single-player mode, giving online competitors the opportunity to learn everything from that perfect ult combo to last hitting techniques with a new character.
#RiotGames calls Practice Tool a "simple, straight forward, single-player environment that lets you test out things" without having to plug away time in Custom Games. In particular, Riot's sandbox mode was made to help players learn Champion mechanics and combos, get in Jungle practice, figure out last hitting, check out DPS while item building, and learn maps down to their every detail.
But don't let those five basic details hinder your time in Practice Tool. There's a degree of versatility to League of Legends' virtual gym, too. Riot will be implementing a bunch of commands to control how Jungle, game states, and player abilities work. Meaning, players can rank up their level to a mid-game or late-game point instantly. Or players can activate the "Spawn Dragon" command to practice fighting one of the game's tougher foes while in Jungle.
Commands are pretty approachable too, and appear to use a drop-down box. Which means Practice Tool plans to put a lot of control in the player's hands, with very few things off-limits. You can even give yourself a ton of gold because you feel like it, if you want.
League of Legends fans won't have a long wait for Practice Tool, too. Riot teases in their blog post announcement that their training sandbox mode's doors should "open soon." Interestingly enough, Riot also isn't afraid to compare the game straight to a physical sport. "As League gains more and more similarities to a sport, it makes sense that there be a place where you can go to shoot hoops," the post notes.
It's true that League of Legends is one of the biggest eSports out there in gaming. A recent deal with Riot Games and Major League Baseball's BAMTech means the MLB's streaming service will get exclusive rights to distributing and developing League of Legends eSports tournaments, alongside sponsorships and ads. League is also one of the most popular games on Twitch, clocking in 6.3 million streamed eSports hours alone in November 2016, according to Newzoo. So it seems pretty on-the-nose for Riot to admit that their extremely popular game is becoming closer and closer to a sport every day.
Not just that, but practice modes are pretty standard for another eSports mainstay: fighting games. Take Street Fighter V or Skullgirls. Both games are popular among competitive players, and both feature training areas where players can sit down with the game's characters and spend as much time as they need practicing. Skullgirls even has a tutorial mode that walks players through fighting game basics, like blocking, combos, and light attacks.
These modes are built so players can fiddle around with enemy behavior, too, meaning that Ryu can dish out hadoukens on a dummy, or he can go head-to-head with Chun-Li in a training stage. League of Legends' approach is pretty similar, and seeing how popular training modes are in the fighting game community, their inclusion in League of Legends only spells good news.
With Practice Tool on its way, League of Legends will join the ranks of such MOBAs as DOTA 2 and Smite, which already provide a training mode to get some practice in before matchmaking. Riot also promises to update Practice Tool along with the game's patches, which means there's no need to worry about Practice Tool falling behind with patches and updates. Which would be like walking into a practice gym and finding all the basketballs popped. Blech.
How are you going to use League of Legends's practice mode? Let us know in the comments!