Image credits: League of Legends YouTube
As of the most recent update on the Beta Client, the League of Legends client finally supports a sandbox mode. A sandbox mode allows freely testing various in-game variables without having to jump into a regular game.
The most important aspect of a sandbox mode for practicing the game is that players can test skills and items without the constraint of having to farm gold/exp in a normal game. The tool will allow players to set their gold and experience levels to what they want, and minimize cooldowns to allow for as many castings of Flash as one needs to master its range.
Pros have clamored for a sandbox mode for years, stating that it would help immensely in practicing high-level strategies. Many have rated sandbox mode as the most lacking feature of League of Legends, alongside replay mode (which incidentally, is also being rolled out). A sandbox mode for a competitive video game is the equivalent of dribbling or passing drills for basketball -- tedious and repetitive, but absolutely necessary for an athlete to hone his skills to perfection.
In the past, Riot has defended the lack of a sandbox (and replay) mode by saying that such features will increase the minimum skill level needed to enjoy the game with other players, and create a barrier of entry where one must spend a prerequisite number of hours first grinding in practice mode. Other competitive games however benefit immensely from their sandbox modes, allowing pros to come up with nuanced strategies and regular players to become familiar with the nuances of skill interactions.
For the moment, it seems Riot is finally giving in and has given the players exactly what they're asking for.
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