Why League of Legends
Dynamic Queue Sucks

League of Legends Dynamic Queue was first implemented by Riot Games in January 2016 and was intended to replace the Solo/Duo Queue and team ranking. Instantly, the new system was met with a firestorm of criticism from those who felt that the change was a mistake. Players argued that a player’s rank would not mean as much because you would never know if it was based on his skill or if it was based on an unmerited boost from someone on his team. Before long, it became clear that players’ concerns were valid. Because of the dynamic queue, games have become dependent upon which premades are better. This is unfair to many players and it also penalizes players who like to play alone. It came as no surprise to many that a short eight months after introducing the new system, Riot Games was forced to admit that the Dynamic Queue sucks and that its implementation had fallen short of many goals. LoL lead producer,

New001 wrote: “Dynamic queue is still failing to meet many of your needs. More specifically, it’s undermined competitive integrity at the highest levels of play. It’s taken us too long to get here and we apologize for the delay.”

Why the Change to Dynamic Queue?

While many are confused about why Riot changed to Dynamic Queue, the company maintains that it had some good reasons for the switch up. The Dynamic Queue was introduced at the start of the League’s 2016 season. It was favored because it allowed players to queue ranked matches in a group of any size. This change replaced the previous system which only allowed solo or duo players to compete on the ranked ladder. Many players preferred this previous system because they felt that it more accurately reflected a player’s competitive standing and better maintained the competitive integrity of team coordination. They argued that the Dynamic Queue skewed the matches because it did not accurately reflect the individual skill of players.

And yet, it’s not hard to understand why the brains behind League of Legends would opt for a Dynamic Queue. After all, LoL is a team game, so it seems to stand to reason that Riot Games would want to move in a direction that would better facilitate team play at all levels. It is conceivable that when they decided to move in that direction, they assumed that anything that improved team play across the board would be seen as an improvement, period. But, they were quite wrong on all counts.

The Biggest Issues with Dynamic Queue

One of the biggest issues with the Dynamic Queue comes with role selection. While the Dynamic Queue still allowed players to select their roles, it did not effectively prioritize primary roles. As a result, mid-tier players and lower were often forced into roles they did not want while higher ranked players were almost always given the roles they wanted. With the new changes, players should get their primary position more often. Before the changes, a support main had a 95% chance of getting the role he selected, while a mid main only had a 55% chance of getting hers.

Another major issue with Dynamic Queue comes with premades. Riot had to take a good look at match quality because the games featuring premades versus non-premades were very unfair, making players unhappy. Since last season, adjustments have been made to lessen the handicaps and make the playing field more even. Additional problems occurred when matching higher-tiered players and these were addressed by limiting teams ranked Diamond or higher to solo or duo play.

And finally, MMR queue times were a problem that needed immediate reconciliation. Riot made some adjustments to how the matchmaker works, and effectively reduced the average queue times for high MMR down to 17 minutes (from times as high as 30 minutes). Riot was able to shorten queue times by making an intentional trade-off in cutting back on supplying specific roles in order to better ensure high quality matches in a shorter time span.

Why Dynamic Queue Needs to Be Fixed

Instead of enhancing play, the change to Dynamic Queue only succeeded in undermining the ability of the ladder to accurately judge the skill level of competitors. Many players complained that without having an accurate way to assess competitors, there was much less motivation to play ranked games. Rankings are very important to LoL players and they are a major reason why players play ranked games.

Moreso, it’s not like these rules only apply to top-tier players who are very highly ranked. Players at every level benefit from knowing what the real rankings are for their competitors. Lower skilled players rely on accurate rankings to gauge whether or not they have improved over the course of the season. They want to know how they match up against their peers. One of the biggest complaints among the highest ranked players is the difficulty in getting a match. They are forced to deal with extremely long wait times along with many more games in which they were matched up with lower skilled opponents. Thankfully, Riot Games understands that it made some serious miscalculations with the Dynamic Queue.

A company representative noted that “it’s never been a goal for us to make League more casual. We believe League is for hardcore gamers, and mistakenly believed we could offer real competition to all parties with the same experience. Our long-term vision is to be a global sport, and our goal remains the same: to offer competitive experiences for all players, from solo competition to focused, competitive team play.”

When Will Riot Bring Back Solo Queue?

Last season was a mess and a lot of players were very open about how much they missed the solo or duo queue system. So, when will League of Legends Dynamic Queue be fixed? Luckily, in August of last year, Riot announced that the solo queue system would be reinstated along with a new ranked method with “legitimate competitive standings” for players at every level.

The company also made the solo queue available to the highest skilled players which helped cut down on wait times and the difficulty of matching with someone in their skill level. These changes were expected to solve many issues that top ranked players were having with the Dynamic Queue with the promise that the 2017 ranked system would provide legitimate skill rankings at all levels. Since last August, Riot has announced that starting in 2017, Solo and Duo Queue would be returning for all players.

New Changes in Place

There are new changes in place with the way that the new queue system is set up now. Currently, you can queue up alone or with a trusted friend and aim for Gold (or higher). There are differences, however, in the way this is set up compared to the 2015 season. One of those major differences is that currently you are able to select two preferred positions and veto your least favorite (when autofill is enabled or if you choose fill). But that’s not the only difference. Duo Queue is not available for those playing in Challenger. Ranked Flex is another new addition which is a lot like dynamic queue in that it allows five players to queue up together. Ranked Flex is open to people in pre-made teams as well as people playing solo, which makes matchmaking a much less frustrating process.

These new changes are interesting, to say the least. Previously Riot has been vocal about its preference of supporting one ranked queue. Seemingly, Riot is more concerned with gaining back some of the traction it lost with Dynamic Queue and it hopes that supporting two ranked queues at once will give players the options they seek. Although Riot was once concerned about the queues destroying the population of each other, the company is hedging its bets on this new system. Will separate rewards and pre-made teams — as opposed to teams made up of players queuing by themselves —create the ideal environment? Time can only tell.

Challenger players will now only be able to queue solo, while players ranked Diamond and above must queue solo or with one partner. In addition, Riot is changing the rate of ranking decay at Master and above to encourage more ranked play, and planning to create a stronger reward structure for ladder success, with details on new “physical rewards” for Challenger players to be announced. Riot is also adding a stipulation that players will never be “auto filled,” meaning placed into a role they didn’t explicitly select, during promotion series, which decide whether a player will advance in rank.

Dynamic Queue wasn’t working, Solo Queue was late, so unsatisfied players soon raised a big stink, prompting Riot Games to respond to the concerns of their customers. In short, the devs promised to improve Dynamic Queue to minimize the problems raised by the community and admitted that the plans to reintroduce Solo Queue have been scrapped if there even was something like that planned in the first place. There were a lot of angry gamers. A lot of them.

Now, with the season drawing to a close and League giving ground to other games, like Overwatch, Riot Games announced that they plan to essentially go back to the old system, keeping the champ select feature from Dynamic Queue. Now, you will be able to choose your two preferred positions and veto your worst role if autofill is on or you chose fill as one of your preferred roles. You will also be able to Duo with a friend. This mode is intended to reward the “solo carry” mentality and test your individual skill as a League of Legends player.

The second Ranked mode available will be called Ranked Flex and function similarly to Solo Queue, while being separate. According to Riot, it’s supposed to serve coordinated groups of players or simply people who would like to practice more team-oriented skills. This mode’s success will heavily depend on the number of players who value individual skill over teamwork, so to speak. If you thought that Dynamic Queue ruined Ranked integrity, you probably won’t touch Ranked Flex with a ten foot pole. If there are a lot of players who think along the same lines, Ranked Flex’s queue times will suffer heavily. Riot gave themselves an out in such a case, they will just turn it into the old Team Ranked with some polishing up, utilizing their algorithmic improvements, made when trying to make Dynamic Queue not suck.

You won’t hear anyone else complaining about these changes. Most people say that the only problem is that even when completely revamping the system they rammed down players’ throats for a year, Riot still tried to spin it to be a good thing instead of just straight out coming out and saying, “Mea culpa, we fucked up, we knew you were right, but we didn’t want to admit it.” You know, if Riot said something along the lines of, “Hey, guys, you’re right, Dynamic Queue sucks but we can’t just switch back to Solo Queue with the Ranked season in progress. Would you mind terribly if we kept it for this season and introduced Solo Queue back next season?” That would have been cool, that would have been transparent, that would have reduced the animosity towards Riot, felt by the community. This is one of these rare instances, where PR is bad. Just admit you fucked up, players will respect you for it. Well, at least they are fixing it now. We will have to see how it goes, but most players seem to be optimistic.