League of Legends: Three Questions About Riot Ending Promotion Series

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

League of Legends players just got great news today, as Riot announced they will likely remove the promotion series between divisions.

League of Legends players who primarily play solo queue got an early gift today. In a dev blog today, Riot revealed that the promotion series between divisions will likely not return in Season 11. In the post, the developers said they would likely be “removing inter-division promotions to reduce frustration of seemingly hitting a wall when you know you’ve been playing well. This means we’ll also need to look at inter-division demotion protections to make sure that players are able to get where they should be in both directions without false limitations.”

This is a change to the ranked system that players have been asking for a long time and it’s wonderful to see this finally come to fruition. As someone who primarily plays TFT, which has a ranked system without promotion series at all, I can say that the ranked experience has been far better in that mode than the classic League of Legends solo queue ladder.

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Still, there are three big questions that we would like to get clarity on regarding how the ranked ladder will work next year without the promotion series.

1. How Does this Affect the Division Promotion Series?

While the promotion series between tiers in a division are likely going away, Riot is still keeping promotions between the tiers themselves (i.e. from Silver to Gold). That’s a fair compromise but that also leads to some questions about how the promotion series between tiers will function.

For example, will Riot retain the same system where players get free wins for each time they try and fail for the promotion series? Personally, I think that reducing the promotion series from best of five to best of three after two failed attempts might be a decent compromise to make climbing between tiers feel less grindy (and take fewer games).

2. How Will Decay and Demotion Protections Change?

In TFT, you cannot demote out of a division unless you lose a game at 0 LP. We should get some clarity as to whether that will be the case with these new ranked changes (I would assume so, but this could change). If not, it would also be nice to know whether we will get any sort of buffer or indication when our account is in danger of demoting when we are at low LP.

One thing Riot also mentioned in the dev blog is wanting to improve matchmaking transparency. I think that having a warning going into games that losing this game could cause you to decay would be a fair addition.

In addition, players in high elo will see their ranks decay if they are not playing the game consistently. This is another issue that will have to be addressed in the same way as demotion (i.e. does the player need to hit 0 LP before decaying a division or can they simply decay when they hit a given LP threshold).

3. What About the Excess LP?

One of the best aspects to the TFT ladder, compared to League of Legends, is that when you promote a division your excess LP splashes into the next tier with you. This removes the “bad feeling” when you’re stuck at 98 or 99 LP and know that winning will only gain a minimal amount of LP. Instead, in TFT you will gain the full amount of LP and carry it over to the next division.

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I fear that if Riot retains the system where you will start each division at 0 LP that players at the higher LP levels on the cusp of promotion will be more willing to troll or dodge games. If players know that losing a game doesn’t take them out of the range of promoting, why would they care if they’re only getting 2 LP or 18 LP, especially when they can’t even tell how much the loss would impact their MMR.

All in all, I think this change is a net positive direction for League of Legends solo queue. This is a change that has been a long time coming and hopefully with more clarity we will have more optimism heading into next year.