League of Legends: Riot reveals the end of positional ranks and a ladder reset

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /

In today’s /dev post, Riot announced some major changes to the League of Legends ranked queue, including the end of positional ranks. What will this look like going forward?

There have been a lot of complaints levied against the positional ranks introduced at the beginning of Season 9. Riot has listened to our complaints and suggestions and made the announcement today that most League of Legends players will rejoice to hear: the positional ranks are going the way of the dodo. From the post:

"With position ranks, we decided to run a preview in North America and Korea as a way to gather feedback and iterate on the feature before rolling it out more broadly. Six weeks into the season and after numerous bug fixes and tweaks, a significant number of you are still frustrated with the grindiness, low satisfaction of off-position games, and teammates not taking off-position games seriously enough.That’s not just on social media either. We’re constantly polling players to understand what they like or don’t like about League. Since position ranks launched, we’ve seen a dramatic negative shift—by 20 to 30%—in satisfaction with the feature in both North America and Korea.After reviewing your feedback, we regrouped and considered all the changes we could make to improve the system. Ultimately, we didn’t feel like we could make position ranks the experience you deserve by tweaking LP splashing or making changes to promotion series. Many of you simply aren’t happy with the core trade-offs of the system.Since the beginning, we vowed to develop this feature with you and promised we would roll it back if you weren’t enjoying it. We stand by that promise, so on March 13 we’re ending the position ranks preview in North America and Korea and discontinuing the rollout of position ranks globally."

So don’t ever let it be said that Riot doesn’t care about the player’s experience. I think it’s great and admirable that Riot is willing to walk back their plans for positional ranks League of Legends, even when the community reacts so negatively. It’s laudable and I wish more video game companies would follow their lead.

More from League of Legends

However, I also want to commend Riot for their transparency and explaining the methodology leading to their decision. They didn’t just listen to all the streamers and personalities and people in Twitch chat spamming “reset ranked.” Riot heard those opinions, independently went out to see if those opinions represented a large portion of the player base, and then adjusted accordingly.

The next question most players will be asking, then, is what happens on March 13? Luckily, Riot has the answers for you as well.

"Your highest position rank becomes your new rank. We’ll preserve your rank, LP, and promotion series status and progress. If your highest rank is provisional, it will carry over with the same number of games remaining.You’ll keep your rewards. Your Ranked Armor and any split rewards will stick around and you won’t lose any progress.All Promotion Helper benefits carry over. We’ll remember the highest rank you’ve achieved across all positions and use that to determine Promotion Helper eligibility."

In short, if you are Silver II in SoloQ at jungle and Silver IV at AD Carry, on March 13 you will just be Silver II. Now, this does mean that if you haven’t completed your placements in some positions, it might be worth it to play those out and see if you can get placed higher than you are now. Unfortunately, you only have a few days left to do so.

This might make a lot of players happy, but there is also the bigger problem that crops up in high MMR brackets like players abusing the system to get high LP gains, even when having a losing record. In combination with some bugs in the LP system at the beginning of the year (due to the addition of Iron and Grandmaster tiers, as well as the new placement formula), there have been reports of players making Grandmaster despite having a win rate in the 30s. As a result, Riot has made the following determination:

"We fixed the underlying issues that let players get to higher ranks than they should’ve, but now players feel stuck since they’re losing more LP than they gain while their rank recalibrates. On top of that, we’ve heard consistent feedback that the top of the ladder feels less legitimate due to the lingering effects of these bugs.Given enough time, decay and normal play would get these players back to where they belong based on their skill, but it could take several months or longer for that to happen, during which time high-skill players would continue to feel frustrated about the quality of their games.Instead of leaving the ladder in its current state for a large chunk of the season, we’re going to perform a partial ladder reset in all regions in late March for players in Diamond and above. While we’re currently targeting late March, we need to thoroughly test our approach or we could risk introducing new problems. Once we have a firm date, or if we need to adjust the timing, we’ll share the details with you."

So there you have it, all those pros and streamers calling for some form of a reset to the ladder are getting their wish. Although Riot doesn’t give as firm a timeframe for when this change will happen as they did for the positional ranks fix, they do have some clarity as to what the new system will look like.

"Master, Grandmaster, and Challenger players will become Master 0 LP. Resetting the top of the ladder will accelerate the demotion of players who got to Master through exploiting early season bugs and help normalize LP gains.Diamond players will be demoted one division, floored at Diamond IV. These demotions will improve—but not completely fix—LP gains for players who got to higher ranks than they should have early in the season.You’ll keep your rewards, but they’ll match your new rank. You won’t lose any reward progress, but if you have the Split 1 emote or armor upgrade, they’ll match your post-reset rank.Grandmaster and Challenger will temporarily lock. Grandmaster will unlock one week after the reset and Challenger will unlock the week after that."

Essentially, Riot is resetting the ladder to the state it was in at the start of the season. Grandmaster and Challenger won’t be available and you’ll start lower than your rank now. If you used the positional rank system to make Diamond, don’t fret, you won’t get bumped to Plat or anything.

Next. LEC power rankings Week 7. dark

Are you excited to see positional ranks ending, or sad to see them go? Let us know your thoughts on the system in the comments!