League of Legends: The Proving Grounds
Over the weekend I found myself logging into League of Legends for the first time in a few months. It wasn't because I wanted to have a reason to start drinking more Jack Daniels, a side-effect of playing LoL for me, instead it was because Riot managed to sneak a new map into the game under a lot of people's radar. Even when I'm not playing LoL, I still follow the game and their announceement forum to see what they are up to, and I was surprised because there was literally no mention of this new map to be found anywhere on there. After some fishing around, I did find a post on their general discussion, but it's easy to see how this has been missed by a lot of people I know.
The new map being floated out there is called "The Proving Grounds" and you won't find it by playing through the normal queue system. In short, the new map is a single lane map much like the one found in the tutorial that is only available for custom games. Now at a glance the idea of a map with only one lane might seem pointless, that is of course unless you are into a fan favorite mode of play called ARAM.
ARAM stands for All Random All Middle, which was a fairly popular fan created way to play LoL. As the name suggests, all players would be forced to have their champion randomly selected and players are only allowed to use the center lane only. In addition to this, players are not allowed to go back to base to heal or buy items. Now under the old system, all of thee rules had be known to all the players in the game and the enforcement was sort of an honor thing where you would hope everyone in the game would abide by them.
This is where the real beauty of the Proving Grounds comes into play. The map already being one lane automatically makes it so players are forced to abide by the center lane rule. Additionally, the map has the other rules basically hard-coded into it. Under the random options for the map, it prevents players from using the shop to buy gear unless they are dead or have just respawned from a death and haven't stepped off the base. Another nice little touch is the map also contains little healing packs on the ground spaced out down the lane for people to fight over since they aren't allowed to go back to heal.
In short, the Proving Grounds is a boon to anyone who loved to play ARAM. I'd highly recommend any current and formal player of League of Legends to head into the custom games and try out a game of ARAM. The only downside I can see is that I really wish this map and mode would be rolled into the normal queue options without requiring players to go through the custom game list. Regardless this is a large step towards that direction, and I think if Riot sees that ARAM and the Proving Grounds becomes popular, they will eventually make it into something bigger.
Co-Leader of Inquisition