(TL;DR at the end)
With the recent ARAM updates and changes, I have decided to talk about one of the bigger problems in League that affects ranked. In my opinion, whilst ARAM is an enjoyable gamemode that still has a lot of potential for improvement, an overhaul of the matchmaking system in ranked is much more necessary than ARAM updates and nerfs, to the overall improvement of the game and player's experience.
I'll start with the problem. I am an EUW mid lane main and I have a 70% winrate in 70 games on my mains and play in low plat elo. I always queue up with mid as my main role, but I only get mid 2/5 games. And that's when I queue mid/top. If I was to queue mid/jungle or mid/adc (which I have tried before), I'd get mid in about 1/3 games, and it would be virtually impossible to get mid if I queued mid/support. In most of the games when I don't get my main role, the person who gets mid: mains another lane but has decided to play mid after playing mid for 10 games in low gold elo normal draft and thinking that they're the new Faker, or is a mid main with <50% winrate on their main. Rarely do I get an actual mid laner who performs better than me in this elo (and that's not to boast or flame anyone, it's simply a fact based on winrate and games played). **The main point here is not that I am butthurt because I am a mid otp who can't play any other roles, but rather that the people who get my main role don't even main the role (so they're not even familiar with how to play it), and, when they do, they are less capable of a having an impact.**
And I'm definitely not the only one experiencing this. A lot of my friends and people I play with have this problem too, but not quite as often unless they're mid mains. Me getting off-roled 3/5 games has led to me playing 1-2 ranked games a day instead of 4-6, which, in the end, is a loss for Riot if we consider it on a larger scale.
If we consider the positional ranking system that was in place in NA until not too long ago, being placed in off-roles really hindered people's progress in ranked. A famous example is popular Twitch streamer Yassuo (Moe) in his $10k bet with Tyler1. Moe queued up exclusively for mid as his main role and rarely got mid while he was in lower elo (below diamond) which greatly slowed his climb down in lower elo. This doesn't really seem to be such a big problem in higher elo, however.
Now here's my point: why is it that the matchmaking system is so focused on reducing the time taken to get into a game over players getting a role that they are completely satisfied with, in most of their games? Why is it that people who are significantly more successful and have played significantly more games in a role get off-roled, whilst players who are barely successful in that role and have barely played that role get the role?
Currently, it takes about 2-3 minutes, on average, to find a ranked game when I queue as mid/top and champ select can take up to 5.5 minutes. If we include the loading screen, it can take up to 11-12 minutes to get into a ranked game, depending on how slow the players' PCs are. This means that, in 3/5 games, it will take me at least 10 minutes to get into a game where I am playing an off-role.
Making a compromise regarding role allocation in order to reduce queue time is not the wisest way of reducing the time to get into a game. For example, if Riot were to extend the average queue time to 10 minutes (an extreme value) while increasing the chance of getting your main role, while also shaving off 10 seconds from the 30 second timer for bans and picks, it would save 2 whole minutes in champ select. If we take the loading screen into account, it would take about 15 minutes to get into a ranked game (time which it will most likely take you to get into your first game anyway if you dodge). Nobody needs 30 seconds to make a ban/pick, it's not competitive; most people just wait until 1 second to pick their champ, despite picking their otp, to waste time. Combine this with harsher punishments for dodging and it would be better than the current system. Realistically, a queue time of even 6 minutes would make a big difference to role allocation, so it would take less that 15-16 minutes in practice.
I'm not a game developer and I'm sure that there are better ways of improving the matchmaking system out there, but that is just an example of a way in which Riot could improve role allocation while minimising the increase in time taken to start a game. Personally (and I'm sure this is the opinion of many others), I would rather wait 5 extra minutes to find a game where I have a 2/3 chance to get my main role than wait 5 less minutes and get my main role 2/5 times. Besides, the players who play the game casually, and often don't have a lot of time to play usually, don't play ranked, so, if this was to be a ranked-only change, it wouldn't be a massive hit to the casual playerbase.
I'm aware that changing the matchmaking system is a big task that requires a lot of consideration for players based on their elo, amount of time they have to play the game in a day, main role, etc. but a change needs to happen somewhere. Let's improve ranked before we focus on ARAM.
**TL;DR** The matchmaking system requires improvement; mains in one role are getting autofilled for people who main other roles or are not as successful at the role. A 5-6 min change in time taken to start a game would be acceptable if we get our main role most games.