Lyte (NA)
: The study was pretty extensive last year, and DID include entire sections on WHY players prefer to play Ranked with their friends, but couldn't actually make a Ranked Team. In fact, as you suggest, most of the reasons had to do with high barriers of entry to Ranked Teams, requiring a small roster of 5 players to be online at the same time, and Ranked Team roster sizes. There were also issues with queue times and match quality because there weren't enough teams in Ranked Teams to create good games. Remember that even in Dynamic Queues, you still have Tier Restrictions in place. You are NOT going to be able to rank with your friends if they are different skill levels, even if you wanted to. Tier Restrictions are one of the primary reasons why competitive integrity is relatively persistent in the Dynamic Queue system.
I imagine there must also be work underway to improve the Ranked Team game mode -- presumably including this work that makes it easier to find new friendships through Dynamic Queue (and thus create competitive Ranked Teams with larger rosters to include those new friends) -- and that is why I'm still optimistic about the general direction you're taking. The previous version of Solo Queue was not a great way to measure individual accomplishment; not because your rank failed to reflect your ability as an individual, but because measuring your individual accomplishment in a team environment is bound to make people feel bad. The things that made me want to chime in on this conversation are: I think Dynamic Queue represents a tactical implementation of a larger strategic decision about game design to move League of Legends away from measuring individual accomplishment, for many reasons. I believe this is intentional on the part of the designers, but is unpalatable to the player base (as any change is). But I think the negative reaction you're seeing is because players are smart, and this design goal hasn't been explicitly stated. I think I will enjoy LoL more in the long run if you're able to successfully connect me with new strangers, who quickly become e-friends, and I can play competitively with them as a Ranked Team. I just don't know if that's good business.
Lyte (NA)
: Let’s talk about dynamic queues and ranked play
> Last year, we investigated why players didn’t play ranked, and a huge number said they didn’t want to abandon their friends to do it. In other words, there was a large subset of players who wanted to play competitively with friends on a ranked ladder, but lacked a great avenue to do so. I don't have access to your data or your survey methodology, but I believe it's possible you misinterpreted your user research. Perhaps those players would prefer to play ranked with their friends, but they could have easily formed a ranked team, so you have to ask yourself why they weren't. Dynamic queue seems to solve for the objection that it's hard to get 5 friends on at the same time, but is that the main objection? Could it be that individual ranking & pride in individual accomplishment, by its intrinsic nature, makes it very challenging to play with people who you want to get along with? Could it be that team environments with aligned individual incentives to be good teammates and friends are best served by recognizing the accomplishments of the team as the primary metric for success? I believe that's the case. I don't want to play solo-rank with my friends because we have different skill levels. I don't play much ranked because I don't want to abandon my friends, but I don't want ranked to change so they can play with me. I think Riot's core business revolves around people believing they could be at the top. Dynamic queue is a tradeoff between competitiveness and fun. If your business goals align with making the game more fun, then this may be a move in the right direction. But I think making the game more fun is not necessarily in your best interests as a business. That is, not when the fun has a trade off. Broad live testing is certainly the right approach, but be careful. Even if this game is merely perceived to be less competitive (and that perception is wrong), it may be enough to damage the real value in your business. Riot isn't so successful because they have the most fun game on the market. Fun isn't enough. Don't lose sight of that.

Unicorn Rocket

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