MOBA

Is League of Legends' new solo queue ranking system creating more problems than it solves?

The MOBA sensation *League of Legends*' ranking system has remained essentially unchanged since it launched back in 2009. This is all about to change starting in 2019 if Riot Games new announcement is to be believed.

Until now, your champion's ranking system functioned just about the same way whether you played Mid Lane, Top lane or in a support role, jungle (and so forth). Since your champion levels up based on experience, applying the same ranking system across roles might not bode well for those in support positions.

According to Riot, the 5 unique positional solo queue ranks are designed to address this problem. Players now playing outside their usual role will not be penalized as much for their performance. The new system would also track players based on performance in their individual off-roles, in order to better pair them with enemies of a comparable level.

Though this announcement has been praised by the community, some have pointed out some obvious flaws. The fact that each role will be ranked individually rather than collectively may lead some players to neglect their secondary roles in favour of their primary roles. Conversely, players who enjoy switching between roles would find themselves levelling up each role individually in order to keep them all up to date. This could be particularly annoying for more casual gamers, who don't have the time to invest in each character, discouraging them from developing secondary roles in favour of their position of choice.

The push towards 'specialisation' might also compound the problem in the long-run. gamers who opt to stick with the main position might refuse to be assigned other roles (where their champion would be weakest), thus throwing the game.

The most curious issue here, as blogger Rodney Davis points out, is that this ranking system rearrangement is a classic case of a company trying to fix something that isn't broken. Riot Games may have been tempted to make this change after observing that the current ranking system might not do enough to acknowledge the skills of more hardcore players, who had developed proficiency in all the roles (since they would all rank up anyway). The idea was that under the new system, players who put the time into developing all their positions might better compete against those who chose the easy route, by just working on their champion's main role. Despite criticisms, this may prove to be an effective strategy of keeping core gamers engaged, even at the risk of alienating some casual gamers.

In making these changes, Riot Games might soon find itself creating more problems than they sought out to fix. It seems we'll have to wait for the new ranking system (as well as the new tiers and placements) to roll out in Season 9 to find out how effective they would be.


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