Matchmaking can seem like a mysterious and sometimes cruel part of League of Legends, but players should hopefully have a better insight into how the system works following an entire dev post dedicated to the topic.
While games can sometimes feel unbalanced and you’re left wondering how the enemy team snowballed out of control at a speed that was seemingly out of your control, Riot Games designer for the Get in Game Team Riot Gortok said that most games are actually pretty even in terms of who has a shot at winning. However, there are some factors that could influence games beyond Riot’s matchmaking system.
“Within the actual systems, most teams have an expected win rate of 50 +/-1%. This means from all the data we have, we think we’ve made a fair match. But we can’t rely purely on the raw data. What if players are playing positions or champions they aren’t familiar with? What if there’s a large discrepancy in MMRs in a normal premade, or a player hasn’t played enough games to get an accurate rating (looking at you, smurfs)? On top of this, there could be personal factors that matchmaking can’t see—lack of sleep, one too many Graggy Ices, that sorta thing.”
The Rioter admitted that the team knows the matchmaking system will never be entirely perfect, but Riot Gortok and others went on to explain other matchmaking details while debunking some myths along the way.
Bad Teammates During Climbs Is (Mostly) a Myth
When you’re trying to climb through the ranked mode to advance to the next tiers and leagues, it’s easy to blame losses on less-skilled teammates. It can also feel like these allies appear at the least opportune times, but getting bad teammates like these at critical times is just an urban myth, for the most part.
“This is pretty much an urban myth. Mostly,” Riot Gortok said about the “muh teammates” excuse. “As your MMR goes up, you’ll stop being the “standout” player and your teammates’ skills will be higher. This can also happen to anyone else in the game, which can give the impression that you have ‘worse’ teammates, when really they might just be newcomers to your skill bracket.”
So, it’s important to remember that they might be newcomers just like you were in your bracket at one point, but the Rioter added that systems like demotion protection are there to prevent losing too much from these unfortunate games.
“Even if it all goes wrong and you feel like your teammates have been letting you down, you can make use of systems like demotion protection and promo helper to prevent you from being punished for a few ‘unlucky’ games. We think this is the right tradeoff compared to having a volatile rank—being demoted feels rough, and reaching a tier should be a decent indication that you can play at that level.”prevnext
High-ranked Players in Unranked Games
If you’ve ever loaded into a game after checking the enemy team’s accounts through some third-party site and wondered how your unranked mid laner was unfortunate enough to be paired against a Platinum Ahri main, you’ve probably wondered how this was even possible. This is due to MMRs between different queues being completely separate from each other, says designer Riot Socrates, which means that a high-ranked player can have a lower MMR in normal games.
“Our perspective on the queues is that ranked should continue to be where you put on your tryhard pants,” Riot Socrates said. “In contrast, unranked queues should be a place to play and experiment in a less intense competitive setting. The reason the MMRs aren’t linked is that introducing a consistent connection could change the competitive intent of each queue.”
Part of this MMR difference may be due at times to the difference in attitude towards the game modes with ranked being taken more seriously and players commonly saying “it’s just a normal” in normal games. However, Riot is looking into different ways to improve the MMR differences.
“That said, we think there’s room for improvement here. We’re looking into some options, such as having better algorithms to get players to more accurate MMRs in a shorter time, or potentially ‘splashing’ small amounts of MMR from ranked into normals without a direct link between the two.”prevnext
Why Players Can't See Their MMR
“On the plus side, MMR is a more accurate summation of where you are in relation to other players across the entire server, and showing it can be more reassuring that the match you’re in is fair when scouting your opponents out before a game,” Riot Gortok said.
“Using MMR as the sole mark of achievement in League punishes half of the playerbase as their MMR will decline over the course of the season, which sucks because most of them are gradually getting better at the game—but so is everyone else around them.”
The Rioter said that the ranked tiers also gives more recognizable goals and indicators for progress as opposed to just moving to the next number in a seemingly endless climb through numbers.prevnext
Why You Still Play Against Blocked Players
For some players, their “blocked” list is as long as the list of friends, sometimes longer. However, those blocked players will still show up in your games, something that can be frustrating if you know you already don’t want to play with them.
While preventing players from having to play with blocked allies or opponents may seem like a no-brainer, Riot Games comms strategist Riot Draggles explains why that doesn’t always work.
“Imagine you’re Challenger in KR (congrats) and you come up against Faker in
The Rioter went on to say that if this system worked like some players wanted it to, it would lead to super long queues that would inevitably lead to worse teams with all kinds of players trying to avoid one another.
More questions about matchmaking, MMR, and related topics can be seen through the dev post that included answers from several Rioters.prev