Solo Queue: An Unpopular Way to Fix the Problems Described by Voyboy

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

After an emotional video by Voyboy on the state of solo queue in League of Legends, people are looking for solutions to improve the game. Here is one that would work and most players would hate.

Most League of Legends players are going to hate what I have to say. The comments will fill with diatribes about how this is the worst suggestion in the history of all of all suggestions, that they’d rather shut the game down than consider this, that I’m crazy, stupid, a non-challenjour who doesn’t know anything about League and who should have no business writing about this game. But after watching streamer and former pro player Joedat “Voyboy” Esfahani’s heartbreaking video last night, a thought crept into my mind as a way to fix all that he was describing.

If you haven’t watched the video, the basic problem that Voyboy is outlining is that the League of Legends player base in solo queue has become far too toxic. And not toxic in the way that they’re flaming their teammates all the time (although that is certainly the case), but in the players are not trying to win.

Voyboy describes a lot of the same problems that other high-elo players described in the past: soft inting, players going AFK, ghosting streamers, queue sniping to throw games for players they don’t like (or to beat players they don’t like), and a general attitude of not playing to win. If I had to sum up his feelings about the solo queue ladder at the moment, I would say he feels the players are disrespectful. They’re disrespectful of the integrity of the ladder, they’re disrespectful of the competition, and they’re most of all disrespectful to their fellow players.

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Plenty of other pro players have come out to commend Voyboy for expressing feelings they’ve all clearly had as well. Whether or not the games are weighted against pro players and streamers, a lot of players in high elo clearly feel as though their fellow gamers have full liberty to intentionally ruin their games without fear of punishment. In the video, Voyboy says this has been the case for the last few years and, incredibly, has gotten even worse in Season 10.

Think back to two or three years ago. The biggest topics in the game were Tyler1 getting unbanned and the Meme Team of Delta Fox. There was really only one contentious topic of discussion in League of Legends solo queue, which was quickly dealt with by Riot, and could (in my opinion) be the easiest way to reverse this trend of selfish, disrespectful play that has leaked into solo queue in the years since the change.

You ready?

Four words.

Bring. Back. Dynamic. Queue.

I know, I know, I know, people hated Dynamic Queue when it came out back in Season 6. They called it an abomination, unfair, the destruction of the integrity of League of Legends itself. Yet three short years later, look at the state of the game now.

It’s the wild west, a free-for-all where players can run around ruining the experiences of other players. Today players feel more helpless in their games than ever before, saying the ranked ladder is compromised by bad players artificially gaming the system, and players getting targetting targetted. Does that sound familiar?

Three years ago, players were making similar complaints about Dynamic Queue. They said that it “unfairly disadvantaged solo players” and “made them game decided by whoever had the better premade.” Today, by contrast, the game is decided by whoever has the worst player. Is that really better?

In Dynamic Queue, you could control your gaming experience by queueing up with as many friends or like-minded players as you wanted. You could find players in clubs, message boards, and anywhere around the internet to queue up with and climb. You could form a squad of three or four to have more control and minimize the risk of getting a troll on your team; today the odds of getting a troll are seemingly stacked against you, even if you duo.

And what were the criticisms levied against Dynamic Queue at the time?

Players claimed it didn’t properly measure a player’s competency because bad players could queue up with better players and get carried to an artificially high rank. Riot implemented tier restrictions to who could queue together, but that wasn’t satisfactory. Years later, players in high elo are complaining about “unskilled” players who have been sitting in high elo because they abused systems to inflate their MMR and it hasn’t corrected since.

Players said that it created an environment where the games were uneven because one team could be a full five-man going against five solos. Not only did Riot confirm that their matchmaking was matching like-sized groups against each other, but now players have consistently complained that matchmaking creates extreme mismatches and putting autofilled players on their teams. Riot has tried to fix these matchmaking issues to no avail.

Dynamic Queue was accused of being a toxic system, where premades of three or four players could bully the other members of their team, giving solo players little to no utility. Riot removed four-man stacks and the cries didn’t stop. Today, the game can be dictated by one or two players not trying and solo players are still at the mercy of their teammates.

Queue times went up with all the premades in Dynamic Queue. Queue times are still a problem and have been for the past few seasons as Riot tries to balance autofill and duo parity.

All the problems that people complained about during the height of Dynamic Queue have not only persisted even after its removal, in most cases it has worsened. Worse yet, a new issue has begun creeping into solo queue that didn’t exist back when Dynamic Queue existed: lack of competitiveness.

Even back during the Dynamic Queue era, when games were poorly matched and unbalanced, you didn’t have players behaving as badly as they do in Season 10 solo queue. You didn’t see teams of three queue up to snipe a streamer and grief him all game and you didn’t see four-man premades intentionally losing the game for their solo teammate.

The reason for that was simple: players had control in Season 6 that they do not have now. If you wanted to minimize the risk that you were going to play with trolls, you’d queue up with some people you knew would play hard. If you got stream-sniped or ghosted, you could find a five-man team who could support you, rather than strangers playing their own way.

This ability to control who you were playing with meant that players in high elo couldn’t risk trolling because they’d ruin any chance to play in those powerful groups. Pro players and streamers would queue together, stomping over the masses who dared to troll them. But, if you played well when you were on their team and proved yourself to them, they might even invite you to join them.

These were some of the best times to watch solo queue as well. Watching Voyboy queue up with old Dignitas teammates like Imaqtpie and IWillDominate were some of the most entertaining streams because, even when they had trolls on their team like the infamous Dotot, they could still find a way to win. And, if not, they at least had each other to keep the others sane.

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So that is my incredibly unpopular solution to fixing the state of solo queue in League of Legends: kill it and rebuild Dynamic Queue to what it could have been. Make the balance between premades equal, reduce LP gains when playing with premades and increase them when playing solo or getting autofilled to incentivize solo play, but keep the larger stacks as an outlet for players who need to avoid the trolls, queue snipers, and ghosters. Give players control over their ladder experience by giving them more control over who they will play with.