For an eSport, the ability to systematically practice one thing over and over again is essential. After all, the most effective way to get better at something is doing it thousands of times, until it becomes instinct. While some games have had such a tool since their release, League of Legends, the most popular eSport there is, never has. Prior to Season 7, Riot Games promised that it would be there soon. Now, it’s been reported that the files for the Practice Tool have been added to the PBE, a testing ground where lucky players with an invite can go to see content before it’s officially released and provide feedback to the developers.
In a game like League of Legends, there are multiple moves you can combine in creative ways to make the result better. For example, there’s animation cancelling, tricks with the Flash Summoner Spell, last-hitting, skillshot landing and many other things which could be improved in a sandbox environment where you can reset the lengthy cooldown of Summoner Spells like Flash, attack a practice dummy which will never die to get the hang of Riven animation cancelling, or simply perfect a combo for Zed. Yes, landing an InSec on a dummy with Lee Sin will be different from what it’s going to be like in the actual game; however, the chance of success the first time you try it in the game are much higher if you’ve practiced it in the Sandbox a hundred times before.
For some reason, Riot Games have been hesitant to implement the function for years, despite it being one of the most requested features in the game since its release next to replay integration, which is already in the game. They expressed the opinion that the best way to get better at League of Legends should be playing League of Legends. The community disagreed. Vehemently. Of course, nobody is saying that the practice mode should replace games. It’s more than likely, that only a handful of players will actually have the patience and dedication to use the Practice Tool at all; however, for those with the determination to get better, it should still be there nevertheless.
To be honest, the most likely people to use this function the most are the pros who aren’t known for their outstanding mechanical prowess, only getting by with their game knowledge. The Practice Tool should have a console, which should allow them to change the game in whatever game they want, creating the conditions to improve specific mechanics. For those already skilled mechanically, the Tool won’t provide much value, their time will definitely be better spent playing the game and trying to figure out the best ways to do something knowledge-wise. The casual player… he might play around with the Practice Tool while it’s new, but the novelty will wear off soon and they won’t touch it again. Not many are actually dedicated enough to getting better to bother with it.