3 Solo Queue Problems That League of Legends Didn't Fix for Season 7
With the preseason in full swing, League of Legends is showing off some very juicy changes in Season 7. Aside from the new items, jungle changes, and a huge rebalance to Assassins, League's competitive ladder is also undergoing a major facelift.
While I do think it's leaps and bounds better than what we were given in Season 6, I still have issues with the new iteration of "solo queue." In this article, I'm going to explain three things that I really think Riot should have addressed before this preseason.
Still no solo queue
Since the start of League of Legends' competitive ladder, you've always been able to queue with a minimum of one other player. Season 6 took it to the extreme where dynamic queue -- last season's rebrand of the ladder -- enabled players to queue with three, four, of even a full team of five.
Dynamic queue really brought a problem to the surface that many of us should have recognized about the duo-player capabilities of the ranked ladder in seasons past: inconsistency leads to less integrity. Being able to queue as a full team until you reach a certain point, only to then begin queuing all by yourself, is a huge integrity problem. These are two completely different things and should be measured as such.
Riot did the right thing in pushing majority-premade teams to to their new "flex queue" in Season 7, and now we're back to the old way of doing things. Players can queue solo or duo up until Challenger, and at that point you can only queue as a solo player. But why? Being able to queue as a duo anywhere on the ladder is still a matter of poor consistency; friends can carry you, boosters can boost more reliably, etc.
I think everyone can agree that League, and video games in general, are more fun when played with your friends. There's now a queue for that though. Why does that overlap into what everyone has always dubbed "solo queue?" It would have been a step in the right direction for Riot to give us a pure solo ladder this season. It would make Season 7 the most competitive season in League history.
The promotion series
The promotion series was welcomed with open arms a few seasons ago. Many players viewed it as "Elo security" and thought it'd really be a way to lock yourself into a certain ranked bracket once you've made it in. However, it's not like that at all.
Rather, it's looked at as one of the most frustrating parts of the ranked experience. The promotion series brings ranked anxiety. The promotion series brings tilt and stress. Players go into this series of games expecting to have someone troll through the champion selection process or go AFK in the middle of the game. Sure, it's statistically no more likely to happen than when you're not in your series, but it really hits hard when it does.
Up through Gold, you're given a free win in your promotion series if you've lost it once before. While that's an appreciated cushion, I wouldn't mind seeing it replaced by something else. My personal approach would be to make it so that once you're promoted, if you're ever demoted from from a tier or division then you don't go through the promotion series again. For example, if you make the jump from Silver II to Silver I and then get demoted back to Silver II, you'll play until you reach 100 LP in Silver II. Your next game, should you win, will put you directly into Silver I and you'll gain whatever LP was earned from your last game.
It would effectively be a one-game promotion series, but it wouldn't feel like such a pressure situation. The result of this would be a slight inflation of everyone's rank, but I don't think that'd hurt on a ladder where over 50% of the players are ranked Silver or below.
No measure of individual skill
I know, I know... It makes me sound like the guy who "always gets the feeding team," right?
League of Legends' mastery and grading system from last season brought a lot of depth to the game. Even though it's far from perfect, when you go off -- I'm talking 16-0 on Fizz -- the grading system knows it and grades you appropriately. When you feed like a madman, you bring home the bad report card. It gets a little fuzzy for the grades in between, but this system is far from worthless.
I think it'd be huge for the ranked ladder if more time was put into really honing the algorithms used to determine how good or bad each individual player performed. Should that happen, I feel like ~25% of your LP gain or loss should be impacted by how you did. For example, let's say you lost a game with that 16-0 Fizz score. You might lose 15 LP. If you're the 0-16 Fizz, you'd lose 20 LP.
I know that the first argument against this is, "But there are intangibles! Some things don't show in the scoreboard." Of course, that's true. However, it's also hard to argue that it's the 16-0 player's fault if you lose. Is it possible? Maybe in some obscure 0.001% of cases it is...
This is a massive change to the ladder that is easier said than done. It'd require complex and deep tracking of statistics for every individual champion and role, and it'd need to be something that can't be gamed or exploited. If Riot was able to figure this out though, it'd be one of the biggest things ever to hit the ranked ladder.
Although it isn't perfect, Riot is clearly making efforts to make the ranked experience on League more enjoyable and competitive. Do you think League of Legends got solo queue right this season? Have any suggestions other than what I've proposed here? Let me know in the comments below!