Melany M. February 3, 2020
Evil Geniuses’ bottom laner Bae “Bang” Jun-sik is not happy with the current state of North America’s solo queue environment.
According to Bang, NA solo queue is simple “not valuable”, the player wrote on his Twitter. He added that he is going to keep playing anyway. In a second tweet, responding to a fan, Bang said that high elo players in North America play like Platinum players in South Korea.
The tweets sparked the conversation about solo queue and the poor state of the server. The ranked ladder in North America has been in the center of the debates for a long time, with most players asking for a fix by developer Riot Games.
Some of the problems include high ping and toxic players. Riot Games has failed to address both issues. The players are constantly asking for a server based in California that will help the LCS players with their training. The developer has also failed to ban toxic players from the server, and in many cases cases bad behavior goes unpunished.
Riot offers short-term solutions to long-term solo queue problems
In October 2019, Riot Games allowed players to stream tournament realm matches. The goal was to give them the opportunity to play in a more favorable environment and better engage with their fans. In the following weeks, some pro players organized in-house games and took advantage of the tournament realm. As time progressed, organizing those games became less attractive for players. The reality is that it’s just easier to play solo queue than it is to get nine other players to agree to a game.
Considering all of this, it makes sense for Bang to complain. Other players replied to the tweet and agreed that the situation needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
While it may sound like the professional players are complaining for the sake of it, the truth is that the state of solo queue has real effects in the team’s performance. During the regular season, the teams are stuck in North America and the only way to get proper training is during scrims with other teams.
In regions like Korea and Europe, the player bases are larger and thus the overall experience at the very top of the queue is better. The best players are often mechanically better and the ping is more similar to the players' experience in an actual pro game. Denying this extra pracitce tool to players in North America is ultimately hurting their performance abroad.