Are ranked ARAMs a possibility?

Riot’s designers dive into the potential for the game mode to get competitive.

There are those of us that play League of Legends for one game mode, and one game mode only—ARAM. If you’re one of those people, and the thought of an ARAM ranked queue sounds like a great idea, Riot has one thing to say to you: Don’t count on it.

In the most recent edition of Ask Riot, League’s game designers tried to answer a very popular question that’s been on a lot of players’ minds: Would Riot ever consider upping the competition factor of ARAMs by giving it its own ranked queue?

For starters, Riot believes that the current state of the ARAM is in a decently healthy spot. There are enough players to warrant shorter queue times, which is a very big deal when talking about a secondary game mode. Most special modes that have a low count of active players usually just end up getting cut out completely (RIP Dominion). That being said, there aren’t any big plans to change ARAMs at the moment.

The idea sounds fun, though. Having a separate ranked system for a game mode outside of Summoner’s Rift would keep the game a bit more fresh, and might even introduce another set of ranked rewards. Unfortunately, when you stop to think about the details, the idea begins to unravel. Even if Riot was looking to introduce big changes to the Howling Abyss, a ranked queue still wouldn’t make sense.

Image via Riot Games

Randomness is the most obvious issue. When you think of the competitive game you take seriously, the one that you put hours into in order to improve and spot weaknesses and climb the rankings, you don’t want it to be too random (*cough* Hearthstone). The fact that your champion of choice is defined by a dice roll would be way too frustrating. You would have a hard time improving at any champion in particular, and, let’s face it, there are some champs in ARAMs that are just way stronger on the single-lane map than others. Your team could roll much worse champions than your opponents, and the fact that victory so heavily relies on luck can be very punishing.

Speaking of which, there is always going to be such a harsh curve when it comes to champions being strong or not in an ARAM, because they aren’t designed for an ARAM. They’re each designed and balanced for Summoner’s Rift. This leaves certain champions feeling very useless when they don’t have the corners, nooks, and crannies of the Rift to utilize on the Howling Abyss. Rengar has much less bushes to jump from, Udyr has fewer angles to chase his targets from, and Evelynn can’t flank nearly as effectively.

Randomness and balancing aside, there’s a much simpler issue to address as well. Creating a competitive ranked scene for ARAMs takes away from what ARAMs are supposed to be. With the single lane, random team compositions, and shorter game time, ARAM is the game mode that was created to be taken less seriously. Once you introduce ranked, all of that gets flipped on its head, and that’s not fun for anyone.