League of Legends’ negative LP spurts are “normal,” Riot says

If you're grinding League of Legends' ranked ladder in Season 14, you may have noticed you're losing a lot of LP; Riot says it's "normal."

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I love League of Legends, but ranked has always been the bane of my existence. I gave up relatively early in my 2023 climb attempt because I felt like I’d lose most of my hard-earned LP in one fell swoop following a loss – and not a particularly bad loss, either. As my climb begins in season 14, I’m already a little sceptical about just how much LP I’m losing – but, according to Riot, those levels are “normal.”

At Emerald, League of Legends‘ midpoint rank, some players have complained that, despite high win rates and good play, the system is handing them hefty LP drops for losing games. As a result you just stagnate – or, if you’re unlucky, you can start to drop through the MOBA‘s ranks despite playing well.

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According to X (formerly Twitter) user ‘Kara,’ their win rate sits at a pretty decent 71%, but they’re only gaining 19 LP, where they lose 21. After tagging lead gameplay designer Matt ‘Phroxzon’ Leung-Harrison in an image showing their current stats, he has responded, writing that this ratio is “pretty normal.”

“Gains in Emerald+ will be centered around +-20 this season,” he writes. “Gains below Emerald will be centered around +-28 or so (we’ll see if this ends up being unsustainable). Getting short spurts of +19/-21 and +21/-19 in Emerald+ are pretty normal (typically there will be about equal of each), typically when losing a few times at tier boundaries.”

A comment from League of Legends' lead game designer discussing the ranked system in LoL Season 14

Another player responds “I still don’t see why an account that is winning way more than it’s losing should ever have negative gains, even for ‘short spurts.’ I am definitely a fan of making players gain and lose similar amounts, but to gain less than I lose especially when performing so well? Just feels bad.”

Leung-Harrison responds “Winning a lot or losing a lot at tier boundaries is why you get negative LP gains. I’ll explain it in the general case, but not specifically for our system.

“A player goes 30-0. You know they are better than the games they are playing in, but not how much better, so you put them in harder and harder games. Then when they start losing you need to start pulling back their growth, but you don’t know by how much. There’s a very very high chance that their rating over shoots and has to be pulled back = negative LP gains.”

A comment from League of Legends' lead game designer discussing the state of ranked in LoL Season 14

I’m not a game developer, so I’m in no place to tell Riot how to solve ranked’s issues. I can say, though, that I’ve also felt relatively short-changed by the LP system – especially when botlane (and support by proxy) are so incredibly squishy on League of Legends patch 14.1. It won’t stop my ranked climb, but it’s certainly starting to leave a bad taste in my mouth when a single loss is so heavily punished.

And there are a lot more League of Legends Season 14 changes to contend with, too, so I urge you to take a look before you dive in. And, given just how much the meta has shifted, I’d advise checking out our LoL tier list, too.

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