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Riot are splitting ranked League of Legends in two: “The ranked season definitely didn’t go like we wanted.”

League of Legends ranked 2017

League of Legends players, at least the vocal portion, have had a pretty serious grievance with the game for the past year. For 2015, Riot changed how queueing for competitive matches worked, making it so solo players and those grouped with up to four friends were all in the same pool. While they’ve spent the last year trying to make it work while accepting that it doesn’t at the highest levels, Riot’s strategy for 2017 is different: two queues, two ladders and two totally different sets of MMR for every player. One for solo and duo play, the other for games that can contain more coordinated teams.

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The information comes out of their preview of 2017’s season. Here’s how it will work:

  • In solo/duo queue, only players on their own or with one friend are competing. This is essentially the 2015 system, but with role selection and matchmaking improvements from the last 12 months.
  • Ranked Flex is the new name for Dynamic Queue and has everyone in it – teams of 4, 5, solo players, the lot. You have to choose which you queue for when getting into a game. The worry here is that solo players will never want to use it, but Riot say they’re willing to see what happens. If it ends up abandoned, they’ll refactor this queue into one for five-player teams only.

Riot admit not only in the post but a number of follow-ups that this year has not gone well, and their resistance to change has harmed the game and ranked play. This comment from Riot Cactopus and further replies sum it up rather well:

Comment from discussion Ranked 2017 Changes.

Comment from discussion Ranked 2017 Changes.

That Reddit thread, along with the comment section on the post itself, is full of Riot employees explaining decisions and saying that while they don’t believe it was a totally failed experiment and had defendable elements, the new system is the right direction. There’s a roundup of clarifications, expansions and mea culpas over on Surrender @ 20.