Ask a question about League or Riot, and we’ll try to answer it. Answers go live every other Thursday at 1:30 pm (PT)
This week, we’re answering your Ranked questions with Riot SapMagic, lead for the Ranked team.
How are positional ranks going?
We’ve had a crazy week since position ranks launched, but overall we feel cautiously optimistic. Queue times, position assignment rates, and game quality overall are the same or better than last season, and we’ve seen positive feedback from players who appreciate being able to branch out and play something they aren’t as good at yet. We’ve also seen plenty of constructive feedback. Based on that, here are the three biggest topics on our minds right now:
- Swapping — Last week we patched a bug that let players take advantage of position swapping at high MMR. Going forward, we need to continue watching for potential abuse cases like this to ensure the systems we built to mitigate bad behavior are working properly.
- Incentives — LP splashing is intended to be an incentive in two ways. First, you earn bonus LP for your main position when you win autofill games, which should feel good since it’s still less punishing if you lose. Second, if you’re throwing matches or it looks like you’re not bringing your A-game, negative splashing—which affects your main position—should quickly get larger and raise the stakes. We’re looking at how we can improve the effectiveness of those incentives.
- The Grind — We’re keeping a close eye on players who play a lot of different positions to determine whether we need to adjust splashing or rewards. We’re already planning some changes to promotion series that should help Fill players as well.
How does decaying work with the new position ranks? Will you decay for positions you haven’t played recently, or are your ranks safe as long as you are playing one position?
Decay hasn’t changed too much for position ranks. Here are the rules:
- Decay now starts at Diamond IV rather than Platinum IV
- Each position that is eligible for decay has its own decay timer
- When you play a position, we reset the timer for that position and every position with a lower rank
Decay rules for Master+ are unchanged from last season:
- Each game you play in Master, Grandmaster and Challenger tier is stored as a “banked game,” up to a maximum of 10
- Each day, 1 banked game is removed from your reserves
- When your banked games reach 0, you’ll lose 100 LP per day until you bank more games
- Wins and losses both count toward banked games; all that matters is that you play
Why is the position ranks queue only in 2 regions?
With position ranks, we’re interested in how satisfying off-position games are, how effectively splashing deters bad behavior, and whether players value having a more accurate view of their skill. We can’t get a clear read on most of those without players getting hands-on experience during the season.
At its core, position ranks is a pretty huge change. We’re taking steps—like tracking both position ranks and current ranks in all regions—to ensure players don’t lose progress if we have any issues, technical or otherwise, but we still believe it’s responsible to roll out the feature carefully so we can react to feedback before getting it in everyone’s hands.
Why can’t we choose a role we don’t want to play?
Over the years, we’ve experimented with a couple of alternative position select systems, including one where you could “veto” a position. Essentially, it ended up sucking because everyone chose to veto Support, which lowered matchmaking quality and increased queue times dramatically.
Autofill was introduced as a last resort way of ensuring people don’t sit in queue for a ridiculously long time. We try to avoid autofilling you if we can, but the design challenge here is striking a balance between you getting to pick your position, not having infinite queue times, and getting fair matches. Currently, the only way autofill wouldn’t be necessary is if each position had an equal amount of demand—20% of players—literally all the time. This is a tricky thing to get right, but we’re going to continue looking for ways to get you the position you want and make every game feel winnable.
Have you ever thought about letting people hide their ranks so others can’t see them on their profile?
We get requests like this from time to time, but the answer is: Probably not.
Ranked is meant to be a public, head-to-head competition where players are measured against each other. It’s a mode that players use as a way to know how good they and their friends are at the game. Making rankings and matches public for anyone to see is an important part of reinforcing that.
How does the provisional system work? Because I won more games than my friends in placements and got placed in bronze 1, and they all got placed in silver. But I used to be in silver last season.
During placements, we consider a few pieces of information: your past rank, your MMR, and your win-loss record.
When you play your first game of the season, we give you a provisional rank based on where you ended last season—you should expect it to be about a tier lower. Then, during the rest of your placement games, your LP gains and losses will largely depend on your MMR and your record against the teams you face.
Any or all of those variables could be different from one player to the next, and if they are, that could explain why you got a different result. You’ve got this though; good luck on your climb—I’m sure you’ll be Gold in no time!
We’ll do our best 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.