Riot Games has killed ranked ladder for people who prefer to play alone.
I had originally written a huge blog post about this, but I realised that it was so long (it went into quite a bit of detail in regards to how ranked worked, and the changes they’ve made to the system since last year) that very few people would actually read it. As a result, I’ve written a new post which captures my main thoughts on the subject, and posted two Youtuber’s opinions on the matter as well.
Here’s my Not-so-TLDR thoughts.
Not-so-TLDR: At the beginning of this year Riot Games changed the ranked system from Solo Queue (basically playing alone or with one friend, while the rest of the team was made up of three or four random strangers) to Dynamic Queue (you can play with a maximum of five friends, while the remaining slots on the team are filled with random strangers, or other groups of friends).
Why did they do this? The main reason is to encourage group play, which means players who usually play ranked alone will encourage their friends to play. The various in-game rewards that come with ranked undoubtedly increases player emotional investment, and also boosts profits because more players simply equals more players buying stuff. It also reduces the friction (aka toxicity) that happens when five strangers get together to try and achieve a fairly complex goal.
When this change was made people got upset. Riot quickly announced that they would reintroduce Solo Queue in a few weeks.
However, it’s now been a couple of months and Riot have recently announced that they are considering not bringing out Solo Queue, as it would affect Dynamic Queue queue times.
All the events leading up to this point (the initial announcement of a few weeks, to we’re still working on it, to now) feel like Riot made the Solo Queue announcement simply to trick people who were upset about the loss of Solo Queue (which was a lot of people) into playing Dynamic Queue.
Apart from the fact that Riot very likely lied, is that Dynamic Queue has issues. The main problem that many people, including professional players, have is that Dynamic Queue doesn’t carry the same feeling of accomplishment for individual players (regardless of whether those individual players are playing with their friends or not). This is because it heavily favours players who have either a lot of friends, or friends who are good at the game, or both.
For me personally, I played to test my individual skill. I liked the challenge of having 200 ping (most players have 25-100) and still making it into the top 20-15% on the European servers every year. Since the changes, I’ve really just been fooling around with Dynamic Queue while I wait for Solo Queue. However, with the announcement that it’s probably not coming back, there is absolutely no reason for me to play League any more. I play other less competitive/serious games with my friends (Rocket League for the win) as I know how intense some people can get about competitive games (yes, I am mostly talking about myself here).
If they add Solo Queue I will probably go back, but at this point that seems very unlikely.
So there you have it, if you’d like to find out a bit more, here’s a couple of other player’s opinions on the subject.