We've all seen it. You queue up for a game, you hover your pick, then someone puts in the chat:
"I can't jg :("
"Will anyone swap with me?"
"GG autofill I guess, never played this role before"
Autofill exists, and it sucks when you don't get to play the role you intended or the role that you are good at. However, I feel like there should at least be the expectation that you know the basics of that role.
We as players have no incentive to learn different roles. Autofill only discourages people from expanding their horizons. They get forced into a role they don't play, have a terrible time, and never play that role again unless they're forced to. Jungle especially is level-locked due to Smite not being available to new players, so when players get into the groove of playing League and find a role they like, it's less likely to be jungle.
I propose that Riot introduce a system that rewards players for learning new roles and flexing when the team needs it.
First: **quests**. Whenever a new event rolls around, we get a series of quests related to the event that reward us with tokens and BE. Why not use that as an educational tool? _Give everybody ongoing quests for each role._ You would have quests that would reward you for playing games in a certain lane and doing things that that lane is supposed to be doing (e.g. "Place 5 control wards in a single game", "Win a game where you had a CS score of at least 80 at the 10 minute mark", "Have every jungle camp on your side of the map cleared simultaneously 3 times"). Each role would have a quest tree active all the time, with scaling difficulty and rewards, so if people want all the rewards, they need to do all the different quests, which means learning how to do every role with the quests to guide them on the benchmarks they should be reaching and the activities they should be doing.
There would also be a daily and weekly quest component. Players would get 1-3 easy quests every day for random roles, encouraging them to stay brushed up on all the roles. Weekly quests would take multiple games to complete, but would be more general.
Additionally, when queues have a low amount of a certain role, players would receive extra daily quests for that role. This would reduce autofill in general by having players willingly play the roles that are lacking and rewarding them for it. The quest component prevents people from just picking "support" and trolling - they have to do something that the support is supposed to be doing, not just be in that lane.
The reward would be special tokens that could be exchanged in the store for keys and chests, random champion/skin shards, BE, etc., just like normal event tokens. Players who dedicate the time to learn every role would get a ton of free stuff, and new players that branch out and try everything would quickly gain access to new champions.
In addition to this system, have the honor system detect when players take a role that somebody got autofilled to, and reward them with extra honor. The game already detects what lane you play, so it if sees that you essentially swapped lanes with someone that got autofilled, it gives you extra honor progress. Despite the quest system, people still dislike certain roles and would be stubborn and not learn them, so rewarding the people that do flex for their teammates would be appreciated.
TL;DR - Riot should implement a quest + token system that encourages players to diversify their champion pool and learn every role, so getting autofilled doesn't suck as hard.