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Aug 7, 2013

Riot Chats About League System + Promo Series Expirations


TLDR; Earlier today Riot took a minute to reflect on the switch from MMR to the ranking system (but mostly to give themselves a pat on the back) and also explained that there's a new promo series expiration (28 days after entering the series)



Hey Summoners,

Wanted to address some of these concerns. Now that we’re well into the season we can share some data with you about how the League System has changed the landscape of ranked since it was released. Month for month ranked participation increased as much as 2x over the same time periods last year while dodge rates dropped to about half. The number of leavers / afks in these games also remained well below most other queues. In other words the number of new ranked players and existing players who participate in ranked games is greater than ever before and the quality of the games improved. Ultimately we think this is the best measure of how successful a game type is but for the sake of looking at this vs. the old system we can look at the pros and cons of each:


In what ways is leagues better?

• All players have immediate achievable goals once they’re in a league and have frequent opportunities to feel competent as they progress.
• All players are divided into smaller leagues typically including some of their friends making progression feel more meaningful.
• Players are punished for queue dodging in a way that makes more sense in terms of progression. Again this reduced dodge rates dramatically.
• Promotional series create spikes in intensity which make the overall experience more fun and rewarding to participate in.
• The system shields players from ladder anxiety once they’ve reached a new tier and has some protections in place to keep them from instantly falling out of a division once promoted.
• Losing while still not a great experience is overall less punishing.

In what ways is leagues worse?

• Currently players can’t drop tiers, which causes some players to get to their target tier for the season and stop trying.
• Because league placement and MMR are not tightly coupled matchmaking appears to do funny things in some cases, leading players to believe they’re being matched unfairly when this is not the case.
• League point gains swing slightly more than MMR gains and in some very fringe cases places can earn 0 LP for games.


In what ways is MMR better?

• MMR gives a very accurate representation of your global position at any given time and it’s easy to see that you’re always being matched up against the correct opponents.
• The system is very fluid and players don’t have as much slack as in leagues to not try as hard once they’ve reached some threshold.

In what ways is MMR worse?

• There is no mechanism in place to properly punish dodging. Specifically if you try to lower a player’s MMR when they dodge, you’re marking them as a worse player, but this isn’t really true. This makes matchmaking much lower quality.
• You are seated into a very massive spectrum of players with no real meaningful sense of position (ie. rank 120,503 is less meaningful than rank 10 in Malzahar’s Captains)
• The system itself sets no obvious achievable goals for players and you never really get the sense that you’ve done something special by being involved.
• Because of the way the distribution grows over the course of the season players are heavily incentivized to participate late in the season but not before that.
• Losing is very punishing and you’re never shielded from a string of losses. 

Overall when we weigh these two systems against one another even without the empirical data leagues is clearly a better system for players and the one we’re more in favor of. That said it’s not perfect and there are some areas that we want to improve on.

What do we want to improve?

• Far and away the biggest issue we want to address is the case where players can’t drop out of a tier once they’ve obtained it. It’s very likely that next season we will allow players to drop out of a division if they’re at 0LP and far below the MMR threshold for the tier they are in. This should solve a few issues, namely the trolling that happens once players reach their target tier and the issue where players get very small LP gains after being at 0 for a long period of time.
• The issue where players receive 0 LP in some cases when being at 99LP we’d like to fix by just instituting a minimum LP gain of 1 instead of requiring the player to be above the required MMR to get into the target tier though we’re monitoring the MMR of players in this tier closely to understand the consequences of that decision should we implement it next season.


TL DR: Overall the Leagues System has had a measurable and consistent positive impact, and while it’s not perfect we feel that it’s superior to MMR as a framework for us to work with and improve upon in the future.


Promo Match Changes

Hey Summoners,

We made some changes to the way a promotion series can expire over time. Read below for an explanation:

Short summary: Last patch we released a change to the league system to fix a behavior that was extending players promotion series beyond the expected time amount. From the day you enter your series, you now have 28 days to complete that promotion series or it will be automatically ended.

Context: With the latest ranked play update, players now have a 28 day time limit from the day they qualify to complete their tier / division promotion. Previously we had allowed players to extend the series for an indefinite amount of time. Players who fail to complete their promotion series within 28 days will be removed from out of their series, where regular LP decay can be applied.

This change was to address an unintended behavior that was causing some players to have a promotion series that could run almost the full duration of the season. We've applied the update retroactively to all players currently participating within ranked play.

Unfortunately we failed to properly message this change within our official patch notes, and some players may have already been affected by it. This announcement is to provide clarity if you've been automatically failed out of your promotion series and were wondering why. We apologize for the inconvenience as we strive to make ranked play a more consistent and dynamic experience overall.


Aren't you glad I put a TLDR; at the top? What do you think of the changes? Comment below!

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  1. Good everyone has to be at the same page!

  2. As much as we all complain about "Elo Hell" (which I am in), it is mostly our fault as players for not stepping up and making serious changes in our game play. However, I feel like it is grossly unfair for me to have lost at least two promotional series, because someone has been AFK from the start. not only that, but you lose LP for these games, why is it that a team is still docked points, when someone is AFK for large portions of the game? I feel like there is a really easy solution to this problem: make it so that there is no LP loss, or vastly reduced LP loss for the players on a team, with someone who is AFK for extended time periods, or has an incredibly high ping for large portions of the game. Sure some people will say that this is pointless, and that if a few of us did step up our games, we would get promoted anyways. Well, this simply isn't always the case; we cannot always blame our losses on our teammates, but everyone has experienced someone throwing a game, or being a troll, and I have been on losing streaks where I have crushed my lane, done everything right, but then had a few people throw the game, and when this happens, it really sucks, and it destroys your MMR, so a little mitigation on the games that you can't possibly fix, is always nice. I would also point out that I think it is very stupid to put people in different leagues, in games together. I understand that this reduces queue time, and allows some players to boost their MMR a lot, but it seems kind of stupid. Why not only match B3 players with others in B3, that way the best players in the division move up, and the worst stay where they are, or move down. For the sake of fairness, this makes way more sense, and I would be willing to wait in an elevated queue for the chance to do this. I really hope something like this happens soon. Let me know what flaws you see in my logic, or what else can be changed to make the game a little bit more fair.

  3. SSJSuntasticAugust 07, 2013

    Well, one major flaw I see is that if you start to lose, all you need to do is have your duo queue partner afk or turn on a torrent, and you'll never lose Elo. I agree that it's unfair, but it happens to everyone.

  4. I also think that there should be a much more severe penalty for going AFK, and sure some people will do this, but it is easy enough to see simple patterns like that; it is not too hard for a computer to analyse the scoreboard, see an obviously loosing team, and see that the person in a duo queue on said losing team spontaneously goes AFK whenever the game is going poorly. Or, they could make a rule that does not allow the negation of LP loss if a member of a duo queue goes AFK. It may not be optimal, but it would at least help mitigate LP loss because of a bad player, regardless, some sort of rule like this should definitely take place if two people on a team quit.

  5. I think the league system makes it substantially harder to advance than MMR. I gain about 2/3 the LP that I lose in matches, and though it takes 3 straight losses to fall down a tier, it takes 4-6 wins to jump back up. Not a fan

  6. Yeah, finally they add the ability to get dropped out of a division... wonder if Silver 5 will be as stacked next year as it is this year with the change.

  7. Only if you're MMR is lower than your tier standing, I blazed through silver because I was winning 3/4ths of my matches... Average LP gains were just under 30 and losses were usually around 10. When I slowed winning in Gold III (switching inet providers for $$$ reasons has been a negative experience overall) it took a long time before I started to drop. Now I accept my Gold V rating and until I switch ISPs again, it'll be where I live.

  8. This all goes back to the idea of if you play well and don't afk/troll yourself you have a 20% better chance of seeing an afk/troll on the opposing side than on yours and thus will overall GAIN LP over time. The problem is when it happens to your team at a critical time for you it sticks in your head and you get the sense of 'always me'. Sense =/= truth, but in most people's mind sense > truth.

    That said AFKing can't be overly punished because of trolls.... example: @ 20 mins your bot/jungle are even (i.e. 2/2/2), you're 5/1/5 mid, but your top is 1/9/2 and refuses to change his play.... You MIGHT be able to pull a win so you keep playing @ 30 mins no change in bot/jungle, your top is now 1/18/4, you're 8/2/8, and gobally you're down 5 towers and 4 dragons.... Your team refuses to surrender & you're not getting any enjoyment out of the game, but you also don't want to drag it out another 10-15 mins... afk/trolling yourself are your only options. I personally belive they should go to a time to # of votes required to surrender (i.e. after 10 mins all 5 required, 20 mins 4, 30 mins 3, etc.).

  9. Enrique ComasAugust 09, 2013

    I think tier dropping is rough, I mean you just won you promotional to go to S5 or G5 and they you lose 5 in a row and go back to Silver or bronze 1. That is kind of unfair

  10. Enrique ComasAugust 09, 2013

    you shouldn't lose 5 in a row, but im saying who knows, I mean what if you actually get 5 afkers, shit happens lmao


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