Reflections on LoL’s new Hexakill mode: the good and the bad
Late last week, the new Hexakill game mode went live for League of Legends players worldwide. And since the mode will be available for at least the next couple weeks, it’s worth taking a moment to review.
First off, if you haven’t played Hexakill yet, here’s what it is: a regular match on Summoner’s Rift, except with six players per team instead of five. Yup, that’s the only difference.
- Freedom from the meta. The addition of a sixth player screws up the established meta, but I find that it’s actually kind of nice. It allows for a bit more freedom and more opportunity for teams to approach things differently. For example, do you make your extra player a support and send them top lane? Do you make them another jungler and try for some super-ganks? Abandon jungling entirely, put two players in each lane and try to push the lanes down and get fed by stacking kills before the other team can catch up by farming? Finally, there are some options (even if some of them are bad options).
- A new team game. Having six players also changes the late-game phase somewhat, in that keeping everyone together now makes you even more powerful, but splitting your team is more viable because you’re breaking up into 3 and 3 rather than 3 and 2, so there is no weak link. In my experience so far, most of the players at my level still want to group-up and try to steamroll our opponents in the midlane, but even so, having another champion and another set of items in the mix changes things a lot. If you have two supports, for example, you might have all kinds of auras and buffs going on your team. But the other team could be lacking a second support because they’ve got an extra damage-dealer. You never know!
- Hexakill! If you’re good (or someone on your team is good), you might get a chance to completely obliterate the enemy team and hear the in-game announcer say “Hexakill!”. At least I assume that’s possible. It hasn’t actually happened yet in any of my games (I’m certainly not good enough to get one) but achieving a hexakill would be a pretty nice feather in any LoL player’s cap.
- Been here before. A sixth player certainly adds a twist, but it’s still just a Summoner’s Rift game, and you’ve played there a million times before. A new map would have been nice, or at least maybe a re-skin of Summoner’s Rift to keep things feeling fresh. As much as the sixth player does add a new dimension to gameplay, it feels a bit lazy on Riot’s part, like they just switched a five to a six and then sat back, expecting to be praised for their revolutionary new game mode.
- More room for idiots. Hell is other people; LoL hell is other players. Introducing a sixth player into the mix on each team is introducing yet another person who can make your game miserable by raging, AFKing, or just generally being an ass. As long as you aren’t that person, you’ve got a slightly better chance that your enemies will end up with him, of course. But playing a multiplayer game with unpleasant people is never fun, and if you pick 12 random League players, chances are at least one of them is going to be a total dick.
If you haven’t given Hexakill a shot yet, I definitely recommend checking it out. Use it as an excuse to get a little creative with your team composition and meta and it can be a fun distraction from the regular game—even if it is played on the same exact map.
Oh yeah…here’s what a Hexakill looks like, by the way: