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Ranked Edition

Wood tier, position ranks, placements, resets, and AFK players.

Welcome to Ask Riot! Have a question?

Since we’ve been talking about Ranked 2019 so much, we’re kicking off a few special editions of Ask Riot so you can get all your Ranked questions ironed out. Keep ‘em coming!

Q

Why is it Iron tier instead of Wood tier?

A

Once we figured out how many tiers we were going to add, we went through a pretty exhaustive process in terms of figuring out what to name them.

The top tier was pretty straightforward—Grandmaster felt like a natural extension of Master. On the other hand, the lower tier was tricky because we had a few goals going in. First, we knew we wanted to put it below Bronze so it could be a starting point for new players. Second, we wanted it to be a metal to match the other tiers around it. Third, it had to be a name that would work for every language.

Wood is pretty iconic, especially in the west, but not really in a good way. Some players might think it’s funny to be Wood IV, but a lot of other players—especially new players—might end up feeling alienated, and we don’t want that. It also wasn’t a metal and raised concerns for a number of our other regions, so we decided to pick something a bit more… neutral.

After considering Wood, we narrowed down our search to Copper or Iron. The team felt both names were worthy of someone on a competitive journey, but in some languages the translation for copper is… well, unideal. For example, in Japanese, the translation sounds identical to “kappa” which is a creepy-looking demon/imp creature, and in Korean it sounds similar to another word that loosely means “this stinks.” On the other hand, Iron works out pretty well in every language, so we ended up going with that.

Designer
Q

It feels like new accounts are placed in mid-silver. I feel this contributes to a large scale gap within the silver tier. Will Riot change how accounts new to Ranked are placed into the system?

A

Yes, we are working on changing how new accounts land in Ranked. We have always seeded people in at the “average player” skill, because otherwise the meaning of a rank would slowly drift as new accounts entered the system (many of them smurfs). We’re working on detecting and moving players to their correct skill faster without causing that drift. This lets us start people in easier games, which should make a better experience for new players; it’s also why we can start new players at Iron 4 this coming season. These improvements will also help us reduce the amount of collateral damage a smurf inflicts before they get to their correct rating, so that should make match quality better for everyone.

Designer
Q

In the recent dev diary for Ranked, position ranks weren’t mentioned, has that idea been thrown out?

A

Nope! We’re using our recent videos and dev blogs to focus on specific parts of the Ranked system so we can explain them in depth. Next up we’re going to talk about splits and rewards, and closer to the start of the season we’ll detail the ins and outs of position ranks.

You didn’t ask for it, but here’s a quick recap on position ranks: We announced the feature back in April knowing that it would take some refinement before we could bring it to you on live. We got a ton of feedback about the problems we needed to solve and recently announced we’re going to do a preview of position ranks for a few regions in the first split of the new season. From there, we’ll figure out how to roll it out more broadly.

Our goals for position ranks are to give you better matchmaking than you’ve had in the past and be way more transparent about your skill in any position you choose to play. At some point, we may also want to reward players who have broad mastery of the game, whereas right now we’re pretty much incentivizing specialists.

We’ll give another update soon, but in the meantime feel free to keep hitting us up with your feedback and input so we can make next season as good as possible.

Designer
Q

With new placements and new tiers coming, how will the Ranked reset work? Hard or soft?

A

Ranked resets at the start of the year will be slightly different. Because of the changes to the game during League’s preseasons, season start still feels like a good place for a soft reset. However, we want to be more transparent about how you are reset. If you were ranked last season, your initial seeding after your first provisional game will put you no lower than 5 divisions below that rank. Plat 1 will remain the highest starting rank, and you can now be placed there after your very first provisional game, meaning you can streak into Diamond before your placements are even over.

Designer
Q

Will changes be made to how Ranked handles afk players? It feels bad for the 4 people who stay. Will there be more penalties for afk players? Adjusted LP losses for the rest of the team? Adjustments to remake?

A

We have to handle this very carefully to avoid creating perverse incentives around leaving games. Otherwise we might end up doing more harm than good by creating abusable loopholes. For example, you can imagine a scenario where someone on your team might want to try to get you to rage quit if they think it can save them from LP loss.

We want to ensure that there are meaningful consequences for not trying in games. Specifically for Position Ranks we have a system to track your performance over multiple games in a position. If you are performing very poorly, going afk, or trolling in those games then then you will get higher splashing LP losses for your other positions when you lose. Leaver Buster will remain in place as well, so this combination of LP and LeaverBuster penalties should be more effective than today.

Designer

Thanks for reading this week’s Ask Riot. Have a question?

Head over to Ask Riot and sign into your League account. Check out the Pro Tips, then ask away.

We promise to read every question, but we can’t guarantee they’ll all get answers. Some questions may already be answered elsewhere, and some won’t be right for Ask Riot. This isn’t the best place to announce new features, for example, and we might skip conversations on issues we’ve talked about in depth before (though we can clarify individual points).

We are listening, though, so keep asking. We’ll make sure your questions are heard by the Rioters working on the stuff you’re curious about.

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