Geek Ink Thinks: How to improve the League of Legends ranked system for Season 4

LoL Ranked System

I discussed in an earlier post why the ranked system that Riot introduced in Season 3 was an improvement over the ranked system for Season 2. While this remains true for the most part, the new ranked system has room for improvement. Here are some suggestions for Riot to introduce into Season 4:

Start everyone at Bronze (so we can get rid of placement matches)

Bronze V meme
Placement matches are a good idea in theory, since it allows better players to avoid having to slog through the lower divisions. Unfortunately, the flip side of this is that sometimes you have bad players who somehow end up in high divisions or tiers.

Why is this a problem? They’ll just fall back down to their suitable skill level right? Yes, that’s true in most cases. Unfortunately, while they’re busy falling down through the system, they’ll be busy ruining games for people who are trying to climb up.

You also have the problem of the system randomly throwing new ranked players into games to figure out where they stand. That’s great for them, not so great for the rest of us. For example, I played a game where a guy was playing his fourth or fifth placement match, and let’s not beat around the bush here: he was shit. Me and another player on the team dominated their top lane and jungler, but when it came time to group up, we got destroyed. Why? The new guy was always out of position, so the enemy team would just flatten him, leaving us to 4v5 the enemy team. It didn’t help that he and his friend lost their lane badly as well, so their bot lane was able to compensate for their top lane and jungler being behind. This would have been a balanced game if every player on our team was competent, which was definitely not the case.

And if you’re one of those people that thinks they’re trapped in elo hell: if you are a skilled player, you will climb up the ranks, regardless of where you start. Really good players have shown numerous times how easy it is to get out of “elo hell”. And if you’re that good, you’ll skip divisions, just like in the current system.

Only allow players to play against people in their tier (except for division I players)

Are you bronze V and think you deserve to be Bronze I? Then prove it by winning enough Bronze games. Congratulations, now that you’re in Bronze I! Think you deserve to be in Silver? Now that you’re in the Bronze I, the top division for your tier, you can play matches against Silver players. Win enough Silver games, and you move up a tier!

Also there will be no more of this:

Enemy team: All low level Silver players. For example, all their MMRs are 1200, for a total of 6000 MMR.

Your team: One higher level Silver player, three low level Silver players, and one Bronze player that the higher level Silver player is meant to balance out. For example, the good Silver player has an MMR of 1350. The three decent Silver players have 1200 MMR, and the Bronze player has an MMR of 1050.

On the surface, this appears to be an even matchup, but it isn’t. In most cases the lower skill players are a huge liability and do actually bring the teams performance down, unless the higher rated player is able to compensate, which doesn’t always happen. Also, weaker players without enough experience may collapse under the mental pressure of playing too far ahead of their current skill level. I have seen this happen to other players, and experienced it myself when I first got to Silver III and didn’t belong there.

If you tighten the matchmaking parameters, games will become a lot more even. This will allow players who are pretty good, but not amazing, to acclimatize to a certain level of skill. This also prevents weaker players getting put against players who they can’t compete with. In addition, you’ll be able to assume that you can rely on players to have a certain base set of skills, which doesn’t happen when matchmaking places guys from different tiers together.

Again, good players that don’t belong in a division won’t be there for long because they will be winning lots of games. The more games that you win in a row, the faster you’ll get to division one of your tier, so that’s a non-issue. If you’re not good enough, well then…

One problem with this idea is that it’ll probably make queue times longer. Maybe only apply this from Bronze V to Silver I, otherwise Gold and higher players may have to wait even longer to get ranked games. Another problem with this suggestion is that the current system does take into account the fact that the teams won’t always be even. In these situations the weaker team gets more points for winning, and loses less points if they aren’t victorious. Still, I would like to see the difference in skill levels tightened up a bit.

Allow players to drop tiers

Currently, a lot of people play League so they can get to Silver/Gold/Diamond V, and then go “HA! I made it! I am the greatest!”. They then proceed to play like idiots. Yes, even though their hidden match rating is dropping, the ranked system doesn’t drop them below the fifth division of their tier, so they think they’re still the bees knees. Here’s a perfect example:

I'm Gold V Hidden MMR

Kazenyru here thinks that he’s awesome because he’s in Gold. The thing is, he’s in Gold V, the fifth division of the Gold tier. So in his head he thinks “I’m an awesome Gold player. Fuck these scrubs.” but in reality his hidden MMR (his actual skill level) is roughly the same level as the scrubs he’s insulting.

Also allow players to drop tiers through inactivity. We once had a Diamond V player in one of our games. He hadn’t played for months and was getting decimated by other Silver tier players. The other team joked about it the entire time, bringing his morale down and ultimately costing us the game.

Oh and don’t get me started on people who pay boosters to get them to a certain rank… if there was any reason for Riot to implement this suggestion, it would be to kill the boosting industry. Thankfully, from what I’ve heard, Riot will be dropping players from the lowest division if the player doesn’t belong at that skill level.

Remove duo queue (or at very least let me not play with them)

Now this may be a contentious issue for people who like to hold hands with a friend while they play. The problem with this is that those of us who don’t have friends (Q_Q) who play LoL get a bit screwed over by this. Now I know the system does its best to ensure that both sides have a duo pair, but this isn’t always possible, and if it is possible, there’s another problem that exists:

My team: “We’re premade, but I’m going top and he’s going mid.”

Other team: “We’re premade, so we’ll go bot lane and use the major advantage duo queuers have (communication) to absolutely destroy the opposition.

My team: Me and some random guy who have never played together. We have pings and text to type to each other.

Other team: Two buddies who have played dozens, if hundreds of ranked games together, have good synergy and a voice chat program so they can talk to each other,

Me and the random guy get destroyed. Unfortunately our duo may as well have not been playing together, because even if they are doing ok, they don’t do enough to dominate their lanes the way we got dominated bot.

Yes, I understand this isn’t always the case, but it’s happened to me enough for me to want to bitch about it.

Also, no more high level players trying to carry their low level friends.

Or, if Riot doesn’t decide to implement this, here’s a far better solution for both duo players and solo players: simply allow solo players to click a check box that says “Only play with solo queue players”. Done.

And again, I acknowledge that Riot does take this into account with the matchmaking, but again, I still find it incredibly annoying and the suggestion I have above would make people in both camps happy.

If you agree, disagree, or think I’m drunk, please add a comment expressing so below!



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