Riot Games looking to fix high-level LoL matchmaking troubles

Melany M. July 30, 2019

The woes of top League of Legends players might be coming to an end.

After months of complaints, Riot Games is finally giving some answers regarding the matchmaking problems at high ranks. Jonathan “RiotIAmWalrus” Moormann, designer at Riot Games, shared the news on his personal Twitter account.

“We’ve heard concerns about matchmaking at high ranks, and we’re testing out some changes that would get closer matches with longer queue times,” wrote Moormann. “We want to test this thoroughly to make sure we don’t make queue times longer for no reason, but we should have more info soon.”

The issues with LoL matchmaking

Players started complaining about matchmaking a few months into Season 9 when they began reaching Master, Grand Master, and Challenger ranks.

Though the matchmaking ratio is supposed to group together individuals of similar skill levels, players found themselves teamed with players from very different tiers. This saw Challenger players placed in the same game as Platinum, Diamond, or even Gold players.

This has hit solo queueing pros particularly hard. There is a profound gap between casuals and professionals, with average Diamond-ranked players heavily outgunned by Challengers. It is almost impossible for a pro player to improve if they’re facing low-level competition.

At least one LCS player believes that this is hitting the North American talent pool particularly hard.

“Most NA teams would be a ton better in the soloQ environment that both KR and EU provide. Not getting proper practice for basically half your day is hurting especially the lanes to play to their real limit,” wrote 100 Thieves jungler Maurice "Amazing" Stückenschneider on Twitter.

While this is a serious concern for League of Legends' pro community, Riot Games is in an awkward position. Extending queue times in order to guarantee a better experience for high-level players runs the risk of alienating players that just want to find a game and play. Moormann indicated that changes are coming but it remains to be seen whether Riot will be able to find a good balance.