The objectives in Dominion are simple: capture and hold more points than your opponent's team, and for each point you hold over them you'll tick down their starting score of 500 by that amount. Do you spread out and take as many points as possible or do you stick together and secure the ones you have? These are the kinds of questions you'll need to wrestle with as you play. There are five points spread out along a circular path with interconnecting lanes passing through the center.
In addition to the map itself, a number of changes have been implemented to tailor cap and hold to League of Legends. Champions begin the match at a higher level and with more starting gold than in the classic gametypes. This gets you into the action right away. So instead of laning, farming and harassing at the beginning of the match, you will get into big team fights right in the first 30 seconds of the game and you'll have a variety of skills already at your disposal.
Items have been refined with new ones being added and a few problematic ones, particularly some of the powerful defensive ones like Banshee's Veil, restricted. The intent was to make all the champions viable and let the items really balance out play. A new points system serves to emphasize team play instead of simply kills, deaths and assists. As one dev put it, "There are no hopeless moments in dominion, only heroic ones. Dying while holding off three opponents while your team caps two points is heroic, where as in classic League of Legends death is almost always a negative."
The result is a League of Legends experience that has quick and furious combat right at the get go and sustained throughout the average 20 minutes of play. After my first hands-on I couldn't help but scrawl 23 minutes of awesome in my notepad. Every match I played and observed came down to the wire, with less than 20 points deciding the match. I even got to take part in what was almost a 200 point deficit upset when we swept and captured all five points.
League of Legends: Dominion will be hands-on playable at Gamescom and PAX, and Riot Games promises to release it "when it's ready" but said to expect it soon after PAX.