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Riot acknowledges LoL ranked seeding quirks; resolving them may create new challenges

League of Legends Ranked Queue: Addressing Matchmaking and Smurfing Issues

League of Legends faces an eternal problem in making its ranked queue feel balanced and fair, which involves fostering healthy matchmaking for new players and punishing smurfs.

The Plague of Smurf Accounts

A player on Reddit lamented about the current state of ranked on April 10. “I’m convinced that most of the players in plat 2 + (atleast in my server) are just alts. I’m not calling them smurfs because they’re hardstuck exactly where their main is,” they said. They wondered why players would want to place lower on the ranked ladder when using an alt account.

Insights from the Lead Gameplay Designer

Matt “Phroxzon” Leung-Harrison, League‘s lead gameplay designer, weighed in on the discussion. “‘ve seen 20 or so threads like this and I’ve yet to see a single person that plays normals before playing ranked who has been incorrectly placed after the change to fix those seeding issues (~early feb). We’ve also done some comprehensive data analysis on this,” he said. In a nutshell, Phroxzon believes that after Riot Games fixed the seeding issues, players should be ranked correctly without any problems.

Addressing Diversity and Priorities

Phroxzon explained getting ARAM and bot games players into ranked matches is a “priority.” He said this isn’t considered part of seeding because of the diversity of the modes. He added it will take the developer some time to fix but agrees it’s a “problem.”

A vanguard warrior from League of Legends inspires her soldiers
League’s ranked queue is complicated. Image via Riot Games

Riot has been trying to make it easier for players to climb the ranked ladder by addressing consistent LP gain issues.

Phroxzon said the unfortunate reality is that “there are about as many people who are alt accounts that are trying to ego boost themselves as there are new players that go through this ARAM/bot flow,” which stopped the developer from changing the initial starting injection point for players.

But Phroxzon also believes that changing the starting injection would be “trading one issue for another,” which further complicates the issue by mixing higher win-rate players with low-skilled players.

League is riddled with matchmaking problems but also has rampant toxicity in its ranked queue, so new players are especially struggling to enjoy their time in ranked.

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