I’ve played League of Legends for quite a while, and as “serious” as I was about the normal (unranked) 5v5 games, I never bothered with ranked. I played ranked very briefly but never really got into it. The old ranked system worked on a modified ELO system, which is the system that was originally developed by Arpad Elo to rank players in chess. The LoL ELO system gave you an idea of how good you were relative to all the other players on a LoL server. Riot recently announced that they were introducing a new League system.
The new League system is like nerd crack.
The new system still uses the old system in the background, but there are several changes on the surface that have made playing ranked far more interesting. As before, if you’ve never played ranked, you need to play ten placement matches that will decide where you start off in terms of ranking. From here is where things get a little bit different.
You now get placed into one of five different tiers: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. Each of these tiers is broken down into five main divisions: Bronze I, Bronze II, Bronze III, etc. Depending on how well you did in your placement matches, you will be placed into a tier (e.g. Gold) and a division (e.g. II).
These divisions are quite small (I thought they were supposed to be a max of 25 people, but I saw 33 people listed in my division last night), and from what I can gather is multiple divisions exist. For example, I’m in Silver IV, Lee Sin’s something-or-the-other. This leads me to assume that there’s a Silver IV, Kog Maw’s something-or-the-other-division as well, and that they co-exist in some way. I believe this to be true because there are literally millions of unique LoL players, and there’s no way that ranked could be a total of 625 players.
The great thing about the new system is that it gives you incentive to improve at the game. In the past you could have been in the top 10 000 LoL players (this would be quite an achievement considering there are 14 million people who play the game), but let’s face facts: most people don’t care about being in the top 10 000 of anything. With the new League system, yes, you are still 9976 overall, but maybe you’re the #2 player in Gold II, which on a basic psychological level is far more appealing and rewarding.
I’ll admit that I too have become hooked by this new change and it’s great watching my ranking increase or decrease relative to a smaller pool of players. I’ve taken a much greater interest in ranked and it’s a lot of fun watching my rank increase (or decrease) as I win or lose games.
When I started playing ranked it was somewhat of a unpredictable space in LoL. Pre-season 3 had just started, and with it had come a variety of changes, such as items getting removed, items getting updated, or new toys being brought out onto the Fields of Justice. As much as I had played a lot of LoL, I played my first 2 placement matches and got absolutely destroyed. In both of these games I was against an assassin type character called Talon. He’d gotten a major boost with the introduction of a remade item, the Black Cleaver, as well as having several bugs fixed. The bugs that were fixed dealt with a few issues with him, but the improvements made to Black Cleaver were so good (or bad, depending on your point of view) that players were jokingly saying that League of Legends should change it’s name to League of Black Cleavers. I was pretty bleak since I hadn’t realised at this point that Black Cleaver was ridiculously overpowered, and I thought I was actually kind of rubbish. Even low level ranked players were destroying me!
So I took a break from ranked and kept an eye on the forums. Eventually word got out that Black Cleaver was going to get some adjustments, and after a few tweaks it’s in a much less broken state.
Then there was the announcement regarding the new League system and I thought I’d give ranked another bash. I finished my last 8 placements matches and ended up being placed in Silver III. So despite being brutalised (LoL players: pun intended) in my first two games, I was not as terrible as those games would have led me to believe.
I did however suffer a massive losing streak and dropped all the way to the middle of Silver V. It took me a few games, but I’ve managed to pull myself up back into the lower end of Silver IV, and I expected to be in Silver III very, very soon. From there? I imagine that my climb will be mostly up the rankings, but we shall see.
For those of you who are interested in this sort of thing, you can check out some of my ranked matches on my Youtube channel.