League of Legends: Could Tying Honor to LP Gains Save Solo Queue?

League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games.
League of Legends. Photo Courtesy of Riot Games. /
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Perhaps Riot can improve the League of Legends honor system and solo queue at the same time.

There have been a lot of suggestions as to how to “save” solo queue in the past, from Midbeast’s video advocating for a number of solutions to our seven suggestions for improving high elo solo queue. One of these suggestions, however, has stuck around in my mind for a while: tying a player’s honor to their LP gains. It’s a simple, yet inelegant, solution to improve the ranked League of Legends ladder that actually has a lot of “levers” that could be used to improve solo queue.

For a more fleshed-out explanation of this theory, the idea would be that Riot ties a player’s honor level in League of Legends (which increases when he or she is honored by teammates and decreases when they are reported or banned). Players with higher honor would gain more LP per win and/or lose less LP per loss, while players with lower honor levels would lose more LP/gain less LP. This would be a very small amount of LP (perhaps 1-3 per game) that would reward more honorable players by allowing them to climb more easily.

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Another possible solution would be to adopt the “loser’s queue” model from DOTA2. In that system, there is a low priority pool that players must play in for a certain amount of games (without incurring further punishment) before they’re able to play ranked again.

While this might simply incentivize League of Legends players to switch to a smurf account or create a new one to avoid those games, another option would be to create a low priority pool that still exists in ranked, but never match high-honor players in it. Think of it like this: the pool includes players at Honor Levels 1 and 2. They can play with each other and against players at higher honor levels, but players in Honor Levels 3 and above will not be matched with any of those low-honor players.

Essentially, this sort of low priority pool would allow low honor players to keep playing the game and playing ranked. However, the quality of their teammates is guaranteed to be much lower than of those players who keep their honor level up.

A final possible way to tie honor level to rank is to allow players to gift LP by honoring them in ranked games. You know that screen where Riot asks you to honor a teammate that you either skip or just give “good teammate” to the person who went 20/1/15? What if by honoring a player you were giving also them an extra +1/2 LP?

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Now, there would have to be some limitations to this system (off the top of my head, you can’t gift LP to others in your party, you can’t gift LP to the same person more than one time in five games, you can’t gain more than +5 LP from honors in a single game, etc.). The point is that if you create a system where players feel like there is a tangible reward for being a good teammate (or punishment for being a bad one), you’ll incentivize a lot of players to take solo queue seriously and make the League of Legends experience overall more enjoyable.