Link for those who haven't seen it yet - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwPa1SGLGv0
As a solo player, I've watched the video in 'silent mode', simply observing and listening. No rage, no tears. Absorbed the content and the points made. Now that I've thought it through, I'm going to share my general thoughts on the matter along with some more specific responses at points made within the video. Community and Rioter feedback very much welcome.
> **General Thoughts**
-------------------------_**The Crux of DQ**_-------------------------
Riot's main goal behind creating and maintaining Dynamic Queue (hereby referred to as DQ) at the cost of removing Solo Queue (hereby referred to as SQ) was, and still is, to promote more teamwork. I have two issues with this point.
**1.** This is a change that seemingly nobody has asked for. I can't recall seeing popular threads on the boards about wanting this type of system. I haven't run into any players in-game voicing their desire for a pre-made style ranked queue. I don't have any irl league friends who have ever mentioned any flaws with the old SQ, or mentioned to me that they'd like to play as a group of 3 or 4 in ranked (which is the size that we usually queue up as in norms). While making an 'unrequsted' change can bring good, it also has great potential (so far being realized) to bring with it unnecessary conflict, displacement, and unforeseen issues.
**2.** I question whether or not more teamwork has been added. How can such a factor be measured or quantified? Pings per game? Wards placed? Assists? Honoring? These are all weak metrics to base upon. Teamwork is inherently, for the most part, an immeasurable factor. Pings would happen more frequently on a non-pre-made team, as they lack voice chat. Wards placed more strongly correlates to general ladder placement. Assists directly depend upon total kills, which strongly relates to ladder placement. Honoring isn't worth mentioning. There are no known ways of identifying objectively whether or not more teamwork has been added via DQ.
Moreover, DQ brings with it the potential for a different kind of teamwork. If I am solo with a 3 or 4-man on my team, it is generally assumed that they will be calling the shots. They have more voices, more pings, and will follow one another in-game. Thus, I am strongly incentivized to follow suit. This coerced version of teamwork doesn't feel good, and was much, much less present in SQ. I'm particularly sensitive to this new type of teamwork, as I've historically assumed the position of shotcaller in SQ.
I genuinely appreciate this video. The fact that we are given some very concrete stances and thoughts of Riot employees is refreshing and welcome. I would love to see monthly or bi-monthly updates in the same fashion. My issue is that I don't think I will. This video is in regards to a topic that involves an overwhelming amount of community backlash. While the video is welcome, it doesn't bode well with me that it apparently requires this much attention and negativity towards a particular topic to elicit a response from Riot. Please keep your intentions and plans more clear with the playerbase guys. This is perhaps the biggest factor in how the playerbase judges/views you as a company, which in turn dictates how they feel about your product. We want to stay informed and up to date, even if we're hearing things that don't sit well with us.
It's nice that you guys admit when you mess up with communication, but it doesn't make us any less annoyed that the lacking took place. Many of your players are intelligent people; college grads, professors, engineers, writers, designers, etc. We can all agree that given your company's multi-million dollar worth, your lack of proper communication is unwarranted and unprofessional. It is not costly or overly complex to hire a 'community manager' who's sole job is to gather data from various Riot departments and compile a monthly update vlog to be released on the client and website.
That wraps is up for my general thoughts, onto the more specific ones.
> _**Specific Thoughts**_
My personal opinion is that DQ is an overall failure of a change, and a pure SQ would be the most accurate representation of a competitive atmosphere. With that in mind, I'd like to focus on some more specific points being made in the video.
-------------------------_**The 3 Matchmaking Factors**_-------------------------
Speed, accuracy (or quality), and role selection were labeled as _the_ 3 qualities that matchmaking should obtain. What was essentially agreed upon was that speed and accuracy are more important than role selection, and both of these factors are lacking atm. This wouldn't be the case with a pure SQ. I think it's quite obvious that within a pure SQ, matchmaking would struggle with less 'attempt layers' (meaning parameters that need to be met to get the game going) since matching pre-mades with pre-mades of a similar size is no longer needed. It would also make the accuracy of the matches more consistent, and this is an important point that wasn't discussed thoroughly. I'll explain below.
At one point, Lobster mentioned that pitting a 5-man against a team of 5 equally skilled solo players is a "fair game", as both teams have an equal chance to win the game. I can't help but call bullshit on this. At any elo, a 5-man inherently has higher chances of beating 5 solos due to the overwhelming communication advantage. The 5-man has (most usually) played games together before, and have thus learned one another's playstyles and skillsets. They have a general victory path that may involve particular objective control, rotation, or repeat-ganks. The 5 solos do not have this experience and history together. They don't have a pre-established plan to 4-man gank bot one minute before dragon spawns, nor do they know before the game starts that top will be ganked three times before level six. I'm honestly completely surprised that Lobster didn't seem to either understand or agree with this point, which is perhaps the biggest issue the playerbase has with DQ. Pre-mades have an advantage over solos, which just isn't fair.
Queue times were talked about quite alot in this video, probably in-part due to Scarra voicing his annoyances. So what goes into queue times?
- Number of players queued at any given time
- Matching players of similar elo
- Matching players of same/similar party size
- Matching allies of opposing roles (not matching a mid with another mid)
I'm going to assume that the first two are not issues, as there are millions of League players divided into every elo bracket. So queue times essentially rely on the role selection process and matching pre-mades with pre-mades. My opinion is that the role selection is less of an issue here than are the pre-mades. Let me explain why. I was a big Teambuilder (TB) fan, and although the queue times could be harsh for mid, they weren't that bad overall. Now, I think it's safe to say that there were more people playing SQ than TB. In theory, a ranked Solo TB should be exponentially faster than the previous rendition for the following reasons;
- Solo TB population consists of previous SQ population (larger number of players in the system than previous TB, decreasing queue times)
- Removal of previous TB incentivizes TB players to join DQ, strengthening above point
- Provides a secondary role option to hasten matchmaking (larger number of potential matches decreases queue times)
Yet we're seeing queue times on par with some of the old TB queue times. Logically, it _must_ stem from the pre-made system. My thoughts are that this pre-made attempt layer is causing the bulk of the queue time issues with DQ, and it's not something that can really be fixed outside of getting a large increase in the number of players in the system. As mentioned in the video, Riot cannot give any more slack to the algorithms pertaining to elo placement without creating wildly mismatched games. The only other way to decrease queue times within the DQ parameters would then be to give some more slack to the pre-made attempt layer, meaning allowing situations like 4's or 5's vs 5 solos to be more common, which is quite plainly.. bullshit. I maintain that a pure SQ wouldn't be suffering these queue time issues, despite introducing the role selection feature.
Socrates made it a point when asked plainly, 'Why introduce DQ?', to mention that toxicity has decreased with DQ's introduction. He specifically stated that 5's and 4's see less toxicity on average than SQ used to. This point is moot imo, as it's quite.. erm.. obvious. If I'm playing a pre-made with my 3 irl league friends in chat, I don't type out their mistakes or my annoyances with the enemy. I just say it in chat. I'm provided with less reason to get upset over shotcalling given our collective plans. These things are obvious.
Toxicity stems from strangers interacting anonymously in a competitive atmosphere, bottom line. You don't solve that by removing the 'strangers' part of the equation. The issue is still there in games where there are 5 solos. The issue is still there in ARAM. The issue is still there in post-chat. The issue is still there even in DQ. The way to solve this issue is by cracking down harder and faster on toxicity itself. Being less lenient with the warning/banning system. Being less lenient with the number of reports it takes for a player to receive a review. Letting the player know the instant he/she gets a report so he/she knows that it only takes a few more before a review. This is how you deal with toxicity, by cracking down on it. Not by implementing a system that comes with a set of completely new flaws (queue times, pre-made advantages, loss of solo player impact, boosters).
Gbay mentioned that with DQ, solo players feel, and are, less impactful overall to the outcome of their games. Socrates agreed, and stated that this is a necessity of more team-oriented gameplay, which Riot is looking to achieve. That was painful to hear. You guys might have plans to improve upon this with perhaps a nice little badge or a splash art border, but I don't see how you can possibly solve the _actual_ issue; solo players feel left out because they **_are_** left out. That's just not cool. Pre-mades historically have had many options; 5-man ranked, ARAM, blind, and rotation queues. They don't also need SQ to be declared as their territory as well. You have millions of solo players, and the implementation of DQ inherently goes against their general enjoyment of the game. I don't think this is something that can be remedied outside of a pure SQ, as we solo players don't want a badge or icon or whatever, we want to be impactful in every game we queue up in.
> **_In Conclusion_**
Well that about sums it up. I'm happy that we got to listen in on this conversation, and that there were different opinions present at the discussion. I think more of this in the future would do everyone good. My personal thoughts, if they weren't clear already, are that we should be given a pure SQ and a pure 5-man queue in ranked, with nothing in between. DQ creates too many issues for a goal that was never really asked for by the community. The trade-off is illogical and hard to fathom. SQ would solve the issues of...
- Queue time
- Accurate match-ups
- Accurate elo representation
- Solo player impact
...while DQ only solves the issue of;
- Friends wanting to play ranked as a 3 or 4-man
It's hard to understand that tradeoff man.