League of Legends to change positional ranking after harsh feedback

Olivia R. March 14, 2019

League of Legends will be discontinuing positional ranking worldwide on March 13.

According to an official announcement from League of Legends metagame system designer Ed “SapMagic” Altorfer, Riot has noted players’ frustration with the “grindiness, low satisfaction of off-position games, and teammates not taking off-position games seriously enough.”

Altorfer said Riot has noticed that up to 30 percent of League of Legends players in North America and Korea are not satisfied with positional ranking.

“After reviewing your feedback, we regrouped and considered all the changes we could make to improve the system. Ultimately, we didn’t feel like we could make position ranks the experience you deserve. Many of you simply aren’t happy with th core trade-offs of the system,” SapMagic said.

New year, new rank system

Earlier in the year, Riot introduced gamers to positional ranking as a way to encourage players to experiment with more roles while avoiding opponents significantly better than them in those other roles. The individual ranks theoretically allowed for higher ranked players to experiment with unfamiliar roles without harming their team or their own rank.

To prevent players from throwing games in off-roles, Riot also implemented splash LP gains and losses, making your wins and losses affect all of your active roles’ LP. This made it possible to get demoted in rank from one role by losing while playing another.  

Criticism quickly followed.

League of Legends began to feel like a grind, especially for players that already enjoy playing more than one role. These more flexible players had to grind in each of their preferred roles to climb to higher ranks, so one role wouldn’t be left too far behind. Flex players were also punished for swapping out champions since their rank was based on the players’ lane, not the role assigned in lobby.

Many players soon realized that the splash LP system failed to stop trolls from purposely losing matches. Autofilled players were still throwing games just to end games faster, allowing them to get back on their main role more quickly.

A little bit of spring cleaning

While positional ranking is being eliminated in a few days, players can expect their highest positional rank to become their new overall rank. LP, promotion series status, and progress will also be preserved, along with rewards obtained.

“Even though we’re ending the position ranks preview, we made a ton of improvements to matchmaking in the process of building the feature that we’ll be keeping,” SapMagic said.

These features include faster queue times and higher primary position rates.

According to SapMagic, Riot is planning to perform a partial ranked reset for high elo players, which will solve matchmaking issues that run rampant in Diamond and higher. When Iron and Grandmaster tiers were added to League of Legends, a new bug was discovered that allowed a “nontrivial number of players” to get to Grandmaster. A second bug allowed some Diamond players to climb to ranks they shouldn’t have been able to reach.

To deal with these major issues, SapMagic stated that players above Master tier will all be reset down to Masters with zero LP. Diamond players will also be getting a similar demotion. Meanwhile, Grandmaster and Challenger ranks will be temporarily locked for a week during the reset.

SapMagic acknowledged how “painful” a mid-season partial reset is and apologized for the frustration many players might feel.

“We believe this partial reset is necessary to preserve the integrity at the top of the ladder,” SapMagic said.

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