10 ways to Improve the Ranked Experience
1. Require players to have played 25 Normal Que Draft Games before they are allowed to play Ranked.
The Pick and Ban phase is the largest difference between Normal Games and Ranked Games. Most players enter their first Ranked Game with no idea how to work each side of the map, and what picks are a priority. By requiring players to practice Draft Mode before they can play Ranked, it help even the playing field. This is especially important as the placement match period can be difficult for new players when paired with veterans stuck at that ELO.
2. Eliminate Promo Series between Divisions.
It's illogical to have some games be randomly more important than other games. While I understand that Riot was trying to mimic the feel of competitive league for solo que, it just doesn't feel the same. With that goal being impossible to achieve, Riot should just remove them. All they do is enforce the idea of an ELO hell, as a player can have a decent win rate, but still fail to climb based on the inevitable randomness of solo que. In addition, it's not a true best of 3. It's a best of 4, but you have to win three out of four games. This is because you have to win the game to qualify for the promo, plus two out of the next three. If Riot wanted a true Best of 3, they would have to format it so a player had to win the game to qualify, and then one of the next two. In addition, it makes no sense that you can lose additional ranking based on how well you do in the best of 3, but not gain additional if you sweep it.
3. Increase number of Bans per team to 4.
This change is one of the hardest to justify. But the fact is, the number of power picks is just too high now thanks to the fact that there are now 121 Champions in the game. Since Riot uses athe imperfect balance strategy for their game, it's important to make sure players can properly counter their opponent's picks.
4. Raise minimum number of Champions from 16 to 24.
For the same reason as #1, there are now too many Champions in the League. Owning 16 of them isn't enough anymore. That only averages out to 3 Champion's per role. Increasing the minimum number of Champions required to play Ranked means a player will be better prepared for Ranked by the time they are able to play it.
5. Introduce a Reward System based on climbing the Ranked Ladder
Promo Series offer little reward to the player, and a lot of punishment. If they win, they get what they should have gotten already. If they lose, all their previous work gets nullified. It's time Riot bring back that Achievement page they never actually used. Rewarding Players with bulk IP, IP boosts, or even a small amount of Riot points for going up tiers makes the entire Ranked experience more rewarding.
6. Improve consistency of Red/Blue side
One possible way to do this is to institute a formula similar to how crit chance works. For each game in a row you get one of the sides, your chance of getting the other side goes up. Example:
1 Game in a row: 50/50
2 Games in a row: 60/40 other side
3 Games in a row: 70/30 other side
7. Rework rule limiting players to queing with friends a full tier above or below them
It doesn't make much sense that you can't que with a player more than a tier above you, but matchmaker can sometimes match you with one. Having a rule based on tiers in a system based on hidden MMRs makes no sense. Either remove the rule, or rework it. Perhaps allow players to que with anyone, but they can only duo que a certain percentage of games without getting their LP gains throttled, or possibly removing the ability to duo que until you get below that percentage. Alternatively, you can allow players to duo with anyone, but disallow duo que for Promo Series games.
8. Require players to be under a certain ping to play ranked
While everyone should be allowed to play ranked, it shouldn't come at the expense of the other 9 players in the game. Introducing a stability requirement would improve the game experience for a large number of players.
9. Allow Players to purchase extra inactivity time (with IP or RP)
This would help players on deployment, but also players who just want to take a break from ranked without losing their progress. It's an interesting way for Riot to make some money by providing players with something of real value.
10. Clarify your TOS regarding pick order/calling.
This is one of the original ranked issues, and one that still remains. For a company that loves its rules, it's mystifying that they've yet to define how they expect teams to go about the Pick and Ban phase in a fair and orderly fashion. I'm not sure exactly how they could go about this. Perhaps some kind of reward is needed for players who are flexible, people do tend to be motivated by incentives. I know mandating pick order won't eliminate trolls, but it will help define the pick and ban experience, and make it easier for the system and players to pinpoint toxic players. It's very likely that a system that perfectly solves this problem doesn't exist, since the biggest variable is the human element. I think Riot sees Team Builder as their possible fix to solving the frequent fights over Roles that occur in Picks and Bans. But at the same time, Picks and Bans bring a strategic element to the game, and removing it waters down the ranked experience.