League of Legends: There’s No Point in Playing Ranked During Preseason

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

During the League of Legends preseason, there’s really no reason to be playing ranked.

It wouldn’t be another week in the League of Legends world without Riot Games getting into trouble with the community. Yesterday, in response to some player complaints about LP gains and losses – in part due to the new AFK protections that were implemented during Patch 10.24 – a member of the Riot support team said something about playing ranked during the preseason that caused a lot of controversy.

Already, this response has spawned a thread at the top of the League of Legends subreddits, with players debating and arguing about this Rioter’s statement.

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Personally, I think that the nonchalant tone was probably the biggest issue of this tweet (a player came to you with a problem and you basically handwaved it away as “trust us it will self-correct”), but the overall point is correct. If there are massive discrepancies in LP gains and losses during the preseason, that isn’t really an issue.

The preseason is supposed to be the time that Riot makes large, systemic changes to League of Legends without risk of completely upending the ranked queue. Because the player ranks reset at the start of the new season, if there are any major issues plaguing the preseason (over-buffed champions, changes to MMR or LP calculations, introducing a brand new position ranking system), Riot has several months to re-tune everything before the ranked games start counting.

In all truth, the only reason to keep playing ranked during the preseason is to keep your skills sharp, test the preseason changes, and to potentially improve your MMR for the start of the next season. But even improving your MMR isn’t that beneficial, due to the soft reset at the start of the next season. Any MMR gains you get during the preseason are halved just a few months later.

LP gains and losses matter even less, because when the new season starts your initial placements will only be based off your MMR from last season, not your ending LP. It might feel bad to play ranked and not see a lot of progress, making it harder for those constantly looking to push themselves and hit a higher rank, but that is a consequence of giving Riot a few months to make massive changes to the game.

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Ultimately, there really isn’t much benefit to playing League of Legends during the preseason, since all the tangible improvements you make will be wiped away. Instead, take this time to enjoy the game, improve, and give Riot time to refine the game for when ranked starts counting again.