I have finally made the decision to quit league for good. After some six seven years of playing league, I finally feel compelled to put this game behind me.
In these past years playing league on and off, I have had a lot of fun. This, no doubt, is a great game. Even though it is plagued with terrible systems and toxicity, it is still one of the best games on the market.
However, having devoted much time and energy to the climb this season, there were a few things I realised about the game, matchmaking, and the experience of players. In short, playing the game now, playing to win, playing to climb, has become a constant source of frustration, and it frustrates me probably more than anything else in my life. That is saying something.
While I spent some time climbing in past seasons, I am perhaps most serious about it this season. As I suddenly found myself with a few months to spare, I decide to try and achieve Platinum rank this season, knowing the magnitude of the undertaking, and understanding that the matchmaking is bad. As a mediocre player through and through, I do not have the mechanics to make flashy outplays, no crazy map sense to stay 5 steps ahead of the enemy, nor am I a stone faced god who will not tilt in even the worst situations.
After a few bumpy weeks, I managed to put myself in Gold 1, and smashed my head against the Platinum Promos 5 times or so. Having mained top lane yorick for two seasons now, I am fairly confident in knowing what I can do. Yorick is a great champion, he feels powerful under the right conditions, never gets banned, and can influence the game in a big way, should he ever get the chance. I breezed through low gold, struggled a bit in high gold, but eventually managed to hit platinum promos.
This is when I realized the ugly truth about how the game works, how riot thinks, how frustrating the matchmaking system is, and how it really doesn't need to be.
I'm sure everyone whose ever done promos know this. They are a lot harder than your normal games. Not so much in the sense that they enemies are more capable -- that is certainly a part of it -- but your team just always seem to be so bad... No matter how hard you try to help the team, maybe you even started with a big lead, it just feels like a hopeless undertaking. We all know that Riot attempts to force a winrate of 50/50, but I have come to realise that the way they achieve this is through the exploitation of our human weaknesses, as players, and as competitors.
Now I don't know the maths. I don't know what algorithms they have in the system. What I do know, is that in Promos, games are far more likely to be decided before they even start. You would think that in plat promos, riot would put a team (your team) of gold 1 players against a team of plat 4 players. If you can overcome that gap, then you belong in the next division. Sure, sounds fair. Promos should be a challenge. But on closer inspection, things are not so simple. There is a couple of things that happen here:
First, you might have hit 100 lp off a winstreak. This happens very often. If you are a player like me, with a 50-55% winrate, its very likely you managed to hit 100 lp thanks to a couple of easy wins. This happens to me 80% of the time. But guess what comes after a winstreak? A loss streak. Riot decides you are winning too much, and starts giving you bad players.
Secondly, a sneaky combination of players riot uses to ensure you either win or lose the game. At a glance, you may think you have a good shot of winning by looking at the OP.GG profile. Your team averages a 50% + winrate, the mmr seems pretty balanced. But if you look closer, you will find this: your adc is on a loss streak. He is starting to tilt. Your support is autofilled. He is normally a jungler. There, with that combo, its going to take a miracle for your bot lane to come out ahead, against an enemy bot who is fresh into the game and prepared to win. This happens very often, in your promos, you are very likely to get someone whos tilting hard and an autofill together.
Thirdly, someone is playing a new champion. His mmr is on point, his winrate is good. But what is this? He has been playing katarina the last 15 games, and only won 2 of them. Now, if he was playing his main, he might stand a chance against the enemy zed with 300000 mastery points, but not when he is playing a champion he is unfamiliar with. High gold low plat feels like its players need to know the matchup well enough. If you don't know the match at all, its very likely for you to make some bad calls.
Lastly, people in promos, or has someone on promos in their team tend to get their secondary roles more often. Not sure why this is the case, might be my biased opinion, but I get my secondary role as jungle so much more frequently than my normal games. Every time I am in promos, I have a 70% chance of getting one game as a jungler. Now, a lot of us only play one role. While getting our secondary role doesn't mean insta loss, but it decreases our effectiveness quite a bit, and making carrying the game that much harder.
These factors above are 'artificial difficulties'. It has very little to do with the skill of the players involved, but a mechanism the game uses to determine a game's outcome before the match even starts. We are all human, so tilting on a loss streak is sadly unavoidable. But on the same token, having a good day and playing better than usual is also a thing. The game seems to take all this into account, and actually uses this knowledge against us, the players. Given how snowbally the game is now, a few extra kills in the hands of a experience player can completely turn the game around. I can do it too, if I get a few kills for free.
Looking back at the 20ish games I have played in plat promos, only 1 or 2 of these games felt like I had influence over the game, in a good or bad way. The rest of these 18 games is generally a one sided slaughter. Putting a plat 3 player playing his main against a gold 1 who is tilting out of his mind and an autofill support means 5 kills in lane, first turret and dragon, all in one. So all of my promo series I have lost quite convincingly. People argue that I lost because I cannot carry hard enough. That is very true. I can't do it.
I don't main a hard carrying champion. I cannot play riven irelia or fiora. I do not have the mechanics for it. Instead I play my game as a scaling sidelane pusher. If I get to late game I will become much more powerful. But without the ability to outplay the enemy top lane, without the option to hard shove and chip away at the tower, without the option to 1v2 the enemy jungler every time they gank, it is very hard for me to impact the map in the early game. Often by that time, the game is already onesided. Perhaps if everyone can keep their cool, avoid getting caught, and play it out, we might win later on, but we all know those scenarios are super rare. The flaming and blaming begins far earlier.
If I were a diamond player, none of this is a problem. That why those streamers seem to overcome these promo games with such ease. But I am not diamond. I am a gold 1 player who is trying to get into plat. And frankly, whenever I play the game, and whenever I play promos, it is starting to feel like I am playing against Riot, and not the players sitting across from me.
I'm sure if I keep playing, I will hit the promos again and again. Eventually, I will reach a series where the game isn't as stacked and the teams aren't as imbalanced, and I do my job well, I might win it and end up in plat. Eventually it will happen. But that is going to take god knows how many tries, god knows how many coin flips. If I wanted that sort of game, I would be in a casino. It is absolutely exhausting.
I cannot expect Riot to do anything about it. They wanna make money, keep people playing. That's fine. I just feel like we as players are exploited. The game does not celebrate our success and our strengths, but it stomps us into the ground as soon as we mess up. It punishes our mistakes and uses it as tools against us. It breeds negativity, builds it up, and throws it back in our faces.
I am tired of it. So here it is. I'm done with league of legends.