I've worked in PR and business administration for my entire professional life. That's what my degrees are in, that's what I do. So while I don't have any concrete, inside information, I think I have a pretty good idea the kind of thinking that's behind what Riot is doing. And I'm sorry to tell you, it has nothing to do with what you want, or what will make the game better, and everything to do with Riot trying to make more money in the clumsy, top-heavy way that large corporations do.
Stay a while and listen. Here's how it went down:
- Riot collects and processes a massive amount of data on the playing and purchasing behavior of their customers. Some of this data is collated internally, some is probably aggregated by research and marketing consultancy firms retained by Riot. And all of this was synthesized into reports, and those reports were passed up the chain, and someone in a senior position in Riot's corporate structure read the reports, and based on what they said formulated a set of organizational objectives. A set of bullet points. And just as research reports go up the chain, these bullet points went down the chain.
- One of these bullet points that went down the chain was "PROMOTE SOCIAL PLAY". Most likely the data suggested that player retention (which is a huge concern for Riot) was higher among players who regularly played with friends. I suspect that the research also suggested that players who played with friends also made more purchases due to peer pressure, normalized expenditure, etc. And you can bet that when the research shows that a certain type of player is going to spend more money, that gets the attention of Riot execs. The high level decision making at Riot is made by business people, not game designers.
- When the project to replace the existing ranked queue was formulated, the team that oversaw it was given these bullet points, these organizational objectives, as priorities around which to base their design. And they care more about fulfilling these priorities than they do about your opinions, you need to understand that. Unless a decision they make creates so much player unrest that it reaches their bosses and they get criticized for it, your opinion has zero impact on their professional life. Whereas creating systems that fulfill the priorities identified by their bosses has immediate, concrete impacts for them.
- Dynamic Queue as we now know it is the product of those bullet points. It strongly incentivizes social play, essentially allowing players to eliminate or mitigate the randomness of their teammates variable skill. Because variance in the skill of your team is the primary factor that slows your ability to climb the ranks, players who play with lots of friends at or above their skill level will rise much more quickly in ranked. And because team coordination is so powerful in LoL, players who play alone are effectively penalized. This is not an accident, this is not a design flaw. This is what the system was intended to do.
- Blowback on social media results as players react negatively to Dynamic Queue. People make threads, reddit posts, tweets, Youtube videos, etc. A substantial portion of the player base is demanding a Solo Queue option. Now, this part is key, so pay attention: Riot would never implement Solo Queue. They can't. For one thing, it would split the queue, resulting in delays, frustration for players (the important, lucrative, SOCIAL players) who have trouble getting their primary role, etc. More importantly, it would violate the organizational priorities, the all important bullet points.
- At the same time, they don't want the blowback to reach a point where it becomes something people far up the chain are aware of and something they might face criticism for. That means they need to manage the perception of the issue. This is a basic PR situation. A portion of your customer base has a problem with a new policy. You DO NOT intend to change the policy. What do you do? Let me guess what you're thinking...."tell the truth, and your customers will respect you for it"? Don't be naive.
- They decided to just stall. They decided to lie and say they were planning on making a change, and then just delay, delay, delay. The point of this tactic is that it makes the protest more diffuse. Different people will start to doubt the lie at different times, making it seem like the amount of people who care about the issue is smaller. Anybody who complains about the current policy will have a chorus of people shouting them down saying "It's coming soon, just wait". Skeptics will be called cynics, whiners. That's why Lyte told you there was going to be a true Solo Queue. That's why they reiterated the promise some time ago. Now they're going to say they're working out some issues, and then later there will be more issues, and on and on. And they will never say "Yeah, we're not going to do that (and we never were!)". But that's the truth. And they're betting that the majority of players will be acclimated enough to the existing Dynamic Queue by the time they figure out there IS NO SOLO QUEUE that they won't quit the game.
I'm sorry. I kinda feel like I'm telling a friend that his girlfriend is his cheating on him or something. I just thought you should know.