League of Legends

Matchmaking is broken (and how to fix it)

It's been roughly a year since I made a reddit post talking about problems with the matchmaking on EUW and subsequently became the messiah of EUW . I have returned to make another, right now there are two problems which are somewhat interconnected, dodging and autofill. I'll start with autofill.

(It should be noted that while I'm mainly talking about high elo EUW in this post, I wouldn't be surprised if some of these problems were affecting multiple servers across all elo brackets.)


Role queue and autofill are systems which balance two things, queue times and matchmaking quality. Of course the ideal is that every single game has 10 players on their main role, but sometimes that isn't feasible. My problem with the system is when the number of filled players on either team is imbalanced. Quite often I have games (or see people complaining about such games on twitter) where one team has 2 players filled and the other has 0. It seems obvious that it would be better if each team had 1 filled player each, so for the sake of my sanity I'm going to assume that the fill system does try to balance the number of filled players per team and that these incidents are a case of the matchmaking algorithm prioritising player MMR over role balance.

While I'm suggesting fixes for this problem I think it should also be noted that by removing duo queue in master+ riot has already set a precedent that they are willing to have different standards for matchmaking at different levels. Personally I would prefer it if the fill system was completely removed in master+ as I think at the highest level match quality should be prioritised above everything else however this would probably extent queue times significantly. A more moderate solution would be only allowing games where the number of filled players is equal, at the very least this makes the game fairer for both teams and I don't think it would extend queue times by much.

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Something that won't come as a surprise to anyone who watches any high elo streamer is that dodging is out of control right now. It's not that uncommon to queue for over an hour and not find a game because you've sat through multiple lobby dodges at the last second. The problem with dodging is that no matter how much LP you lose your MMR is unaffected. Because of services like op.gg existing you can check your teammates before the game to see if they are on their mainrole and what their winrate is on their champion. If your in lobby with an OTP who refuses to dodge when their champion is banned (ridiculously common btw) then the best decision for most people is to dodge, unless you don't care about game quality or elo at all. The same goes when you see you have autofills on your team or when you see people have locked champions they have low winrates on.

I think this is a large contributing factor to the frustration a lot of players feel with matchmaking, the more you care about the game and winning the more encouraged you are to dodge any game which isn't perfect from lobby. This juxtaposition of the players who care the most about the game being the ones who are incentivised to play the least is in my opinion a really poor design facet of the ranked system.

The solution to this would be to treat a dodge the same as a loss. It would mean that LP would be more representative of skill instead of whoever has the patience to dodge the most lobbies. Considering that riot removed duo queue in master+ so that "the top of the ladder is representative of the best individuals on each server" I think this is a move they should make. However on it's own I think it is an imperfect solution. It would make LP more closely linked to skill but it wouldn't really fix the problem with low quality imbalanced games. Due to the fact that disincentivising dodging in this way should reduce queue times significantly I think riot could do to tighten matchmaking restrictions and not see a major move in queue times overall.

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Taking into account Riots statement when they removed duo queue in master+ we know they want LP to be correlated with skill. Depending on what skills they want solo queue to test for depends on what approach riot should take.

Personally I would prefer that at master+ players only selected one role and there was 0 fills. Obviously this will heavily increase match quality, however it means a player being versatile and able to play multiple roles is no longer a skill that is valuable in ranked. Because professional league of legends does not require this skill and because the overwhelming number of master+ players in EUW are either Pro, Semi Pro or Amateur I think this is a fine tradeoff.

In my opinion combining this with dodges counting as losses is the ideal solution. This is speculation as I don't have access to the data but I wouldn't be surprised if it lowers average time taken to get in game, increases match quality and improves the quality of the ladder.

Obviously there's many approaches that could be taken, realistically it depends on what Riot actually wants ranked to prioritise. Right now however I think we are stuck in a middleground that leaves everyone dissatisfied. I think it's fair to say most high elo players are unhappy with the state of ranked right now (at least in EUW) and I would at least like riot to do something to try to fix the situation.

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If you read this far I appreciate it, obvious I don't have any hard and fast data on the topics I covered here so most of what I said is based off my own experiences which makes it only relevant to one server and one elo bracket. I'd be interested to hear what people on different servers and in different elo's feel are the problems with ranked at their levels and the solutions they would propose.


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