Ranked Queues are changing—here’s what you need to know

Riot is making several big changes to the ranked system.

Image via Riot Games

Riot is bringing major changes to ranked game queues for the 2017 season of League of Legends in a move that should be welcome news to many players.

The changes are likely a response to consistent and widespread complaints from the player-base over the past year. The complaints revolved around Dynamic Queue, a system that seemed to breed team imbalance from the get-go, and that Riot is now pulling the feature after just one year. The goal is to promote healthier team balancing and queue times, and the changes should be beneficial to most ranked queue fanatics.

Ranked queues aren’t the only affected game modes, of course: Normal draft mode is also undergoing some momentous changes. But for now, let’s stick to the queues. Here are they key takeaways:

Dynamic Queue removed

Dynamic queue gives any group of players, up to a full team of five, the ability to queue up for a ranked game together. The fans were unhappy about what this did to cause team imbalance. When the feature first launched, it was common for a team of all solo queuers to be pitted against a complete pre-made team of five. Riot quickly attempted to aid in this obvious imbalance. But that created its own problem: balancing teams in this way without queue times getting too long resulted in teams that could vary dramatically in skill level.

Solo/Duo Queue returns

With the exit of dynamic queue, something must take its place. Solo/Duo queue was removed last year for the introduction of Dynamic Queue to attempt to solve a lot of champion select woes (including multiple people locking the same role, tension brought about because of this, and no Riot-approved system for agreeing on roles). This ultimately backfired, and Solo/Duo queue is returning. This time, however, it brings with it the best aspect of dynamic queue: role preferences. This means that players will retain the ability to select which role(s) they would like to play prior to queueing up. Solo/duo returning with such a helpful feature should prove to be an improvement on what fans endured this past season.

Flex Queue

Flex queue will replace both Ranked Teams and the function that let you queue up with any number of friends. This is the most uncertain change. We have yet to see how Riot will run the “Ranked Team” system (if at all), or if it will just be dropped completely in favor of this. Flex will operate on a separate ranked system, and climbing in both divisions will grant separate rewards. Hopefully, the rewards for playing flex queue are greater than they were for climbing in ranked teams, because they’ll need some serious incentive to get solo players to participate in this game mode. Solo players will be required for this mode to work for teams that aren’t composed of a full five-man group.

Flex queue is launching with a bonus IP incentive, and Riot said that more incentives will follow if participation dips. Will that be enough to draw in the solo players necessary for this system to work? We’ll just have to wait and see. But if fans aren’t happy, this time around Riot is promising an open line of communication regarding both behind-the-scenes details and future plans.